When we moved to the new house, one of the things Hubby thought he would miss would be the wildlife that frequented our backyard. Even though we lived in a subdivision, it was a rural area, and he had cultivated quite a following of hummingbirds, squirrels, birds and other animals. He fed them daily with all kinds of seeds and corn, and the Hula-gen buffet had quite a following among the local critters. In fact, they were so well fed that some of our squirrels were overweight. I once saw a squirrel that was so heavy both cheeks of his butt hanged over the sides of the feeder he was sitting on. We spent many an hour sitting on the deck and watching hummingbirds fight over sugar water and finches and doves flit around the feeders. Even though the new house was only two blocks away and butts up against some woods, Hubby was afraid he wouldn’t have any wildlife here. “Don’t worry,” I said. “If you feed them, they will come.”
One day during warm weather while we were remodeling, Hubby saw a couple of deer in the backyard. They were eating fruit off of the persimmon tree. The next night, when the flooring contractor pulled into the driveway, a big buck was standing by the front steps. (So much for me ever having tulips in the front yard.) Hubby got all excited, and with the permission of our soon to be neighbors who didn’t mind deer wandering so close to the houses, he bought a salt block and put it at the far edge of the backyard. And waited. And waited some more. Once in a while, we caught a flicker of a deer but they didn’t come around when we were at the house. Of course, they could have been scared off by the weeks long whirring of saws and hammers and Hula-gen cursing. Hubby was disappointed. Although he was excited about our move, change is very difficult for him, and leaving our home of fifteen years was tough for him. He needed something from our old home to make the new home feel…well, like home. He was pinning his hopes on the critters. So he added some corn to the salt block, and waited some more. But they didn’t come. Deer season started and our hopes of seeing them faded, even though the corn pile seemed to get a little smaller from time to time.
And then early Saturday morning just after dawn, the dog barked to go outside. Hubby got up to take him out, and when he walked by the French doors, he got a wonderful surprise. He woke me up from a sound sleep, and since anyone who wakes me up at 6:43 on a Saturday morning better have a darn good excuse for doing so, I knew it must be important. “Look, look,” he whispered. I stuck my sleepy eyes next to the bedroom window and spied three deer tiptoeing across the frosty grass. We watched them for a long time as they warily sampled the corn and lingered long enough to get breakfast.
While the dog impatiently stamped around with a full bladder, we oohed and aahed over the deer until they slipped into the woods. They were back yesterday morning and this morning, as well. First a doe.
Who leads the way for her youngin’s.
And finally, a buck who likes to eat last.
Hubby is thrilled. They show up between 6:30 and 6:45 each morning, come through the same place in the nearby fence row and leave in almost the exact same opening in the woods. They are wary and alert, but beautiful in the rosy haze of a December sunrise. It’s in those still moments when they stand yards away from us and gaze at us with big brown eyes that I feel as if I can hear God whispering to me to, “Here’s a gift. Take it all in before the day sweeps you away.”
Also, on Saturday when I looked outside Teen Angel’s bedroom window, I saw several birds nibbling on the ground nearby. I think they like that spot for some reason. Hubby plans to toss out some bird feed this week to see what happens.
It took a little while, but the critters came. I hope they stay. I can live without the tulips.
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