Wilderness Retreat Gets Unexpected Visitors

by Curt Kovener Curt Kovener

Rain has been heavy at times at the wilderness retreat and I now have a new appreciation for the power of Mother Nature when she sends forth “a gulley washer”. I now take that definition quite literally.

Earlier this month 4.75 inches of rain fell in a short period of time. The results were some nearly foot deep ruts along the inclined portions of the half-mile lane leading back to the sanctuary. Some box blading with the tractor pulled up some rock; a call to the area’s rock hauler will take care of the rest.

But the most amazing weather result of all that rain is the disappearance of a creek. Small, coin size rock and shale now fill the formerly 3-foot deep and 200 foot long drainage creek. I simply cannot allow Mother Nature to have her way with me so a backhoe or excavator will be acquired to dig out the gravel to improve the flow of runoff water. The gravel will be re-used on the flat areas of the lane to rebuild the roadway.

For some time I have noticed that something had been nibbling on the tender new growth of the blackberry and other wild plants and flowers around the property.

Last Wednesday after watering the potted flowers and two prolifically producing tomato plants, I went into the house for a bit of refreshment for myself and just before opening the front door to go back out, I saw something that made me freeze in my steps.

Out in the front yard was a pair of whitetail deer fawns, their camouflage white spots beginning to fade. I remained motionless as they nibbled and munched their way down past the swing and on to the lake.

Now fast forward to Sunday afternoon. After engaging in outdoor work, I cooled off in front of fans while doing some work on the computer. Between keyboarding and sampling the recently bottled apple wine, I scanned the yard area hoping for a return visit by the twins.

Suddenly, there they were in the front yard and I enjoyed about a half-hour visit from the two youngsters.

The deerflies and horseflies were obvious tormentors of the young deer as they swished their tails, stomped the feet, shook their skin and nosed away the biting insects.

As they browsed amongst the grass, living up to its flycather name, a Phoebe swooped down and collected a horsefly from a fawn’s rump.

The two deer were apparently accustomed to the bird’s twittering about because they never paid it any attention having already learned that their symbiotic relationship was for each other’s benefit.

As the two young deer made their way down the steep hollow on the south end of the house, I made my way out to the back deck to watch.

The pair never saw me as they sampled a bit of some vines hostas making their way north up the hollow, at times being only a short 30 feet away from me.

And of course, there was no camera on the place