A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meanwhile back at the ranch.......

Looking out the window I see a doe with her little fawn wander by. Inside the yard fence. Good grief! How did that fawn get in the fence and will he remember so he can get out? They head for the other side of the yard where mom jumps the fence to get into the longhorns’ pen. This is the most popular eatery this time of day, with leftover alfalfa hay being the main attraction. 

Mom hops over the fence into the pen leaving the fawn in the yard. No problem there, he just hangs out. But then it’s closing time at the alfalfa buffet. The fawn starts to realize the predicament he is in. Mom’s over there and he’s over here and he can’t jump that high. Hmmm. What to do. As all the other whitetails head out of the pen, she comes back up to the fence and he goes over to her. They exchange an unspoken communication. He begins to look for a way out of the yard. She goes out of the pen by another open gate and circles around to be outside the yard fence.

He paces all along the fence. There are places on each side of the driveway gate that even I could crawl through to get outside. He goes back and forth past these but doesn’t seem to understand he can get out that way. He goes on around the fence and passes another large hole under the fence, one I enlarged last year by moving some rocks so the little deer could get through. He passes a walk-through gate. I leave the chain on the gate loose so the fawns can squeeze through. I figured this was how he got in in the first place but if it was he has no recollection of it. 

Mom waits for baby
His mom stays with him for the next hour and a half waiting patiently for him to figure out something. I watch the whole time. It’s always the best policy not to interfere with does and their fawns. They have their own way of doing things and usually work it out ok. But it’s starting to get dark and I’m beginning to wonder if he will ever figure it out. So when he heads along the back fence, I go outside and open wide the walk-through gate. The mom sees me and doesn’t run off. We have an unspoken communication also. 

The fawn sees me and gets a little edgy and runs away a little bit. I circle around the cabin to herd him back toward the gate. He runs right past the wide open gate. I am losing hope that he will live to grow up if he doesn‘t get a little wiser. He goes back to the front near the driveway gate. 

I go up on the front porch and figure I’ll leave the gate open and sooner or later he will realize he can walk through it. But it stresses him a bit that I am on the porch and he makes a wild and fast dive under the fence and rejoins his mom. She turns to me and gives me a last look as they walk off together. 

He is a beautiful little fawn and she is a good mom. Texas Parks and Wildlife has said that many does are walking away from their fawns this year in order to save themselves. And when I look at the thin bodies of the moms that live here, I can understand it. I believe we have lost one twin here already. I see two moms with single fawns.
We do have a new set of twins here. Their mom is the little “yard deer” who since last year always hung out close to the cabin and wasn‘t quick to run off. These are her first babies. They were born a few weeks ago; later than any other fawns we have seen. She keeps them right with her.

I went to the feed store yesterday to get a couple of deer blocks for her. I confessed to the feed store owner that I am breaking down and trying to keep one of the moms alive. It’s a road that once you start down, it’s hard to get off and it is a losing cause more often than not. He tells me that I’m not the only one; he has other customers, some in town, that are doing the same thing.

She ate a good chunk of the deer block yesterday. Tonight there are two other bully does fighting each other over the block. They don’t have babies. The yard deer is in the longhorns’ pen eating cedar leaves, her tiny babies at her side. This is a last resort for starving deer. Once the bully does leave she will come into the yard and eat on the deer block. Maybe this and the extra corn I put out for her and the alfalfa the longhorns leave will be enough to help her and her babies survive. And maybe not.

This part of the state has way more deer than it can support even when conditions are good. The whitetail here are always small. If only the strong would survive, there would still be plenty of whitetails. I’ve known the way of nature since I was a child. 

But when nature is your close neighbor and you watch the same animals each day it’s not always easy to remain neutral. Sometimes you have to try to give the underdog a little advantage and hope it tips the scales for them. 

And that’s a good policy for people too. 


  1. Mama Moak! I did not know you had a blog and your writing and stories are wonderful! I hope you are doing well. I have fond memories of Columbus and Junction...I loved hanging out with Sarah and you...Our little Texas road trips in your green truck with the Colorado River sticker on the back. Your yummy chicken and dumplings. I have fond memories spending time with you! I'll tell you a secret...I have EVERY..I mean every letter Sarah has sent to me since 3rd grade..one day I hope to write a book called Letters from Sarah. HUGS AND LOVE Keep in touch! Rebekah Pack Nelson

  2. PS Looking forward to meeting your soon to be born grandson Bixby! Congrats!

  3. Ok, I totally lost my train of thought when I read Chicken and Dumplings! Oh yeah, glad you are helping the wild life even if they don't really know what to do with your help.

  4. Rebekah, I don't have room for many pictures in the little cabin (not much room) but there is one on the wall of you and Sarah at the gate. Y'all are about 12 years old!
    Sarah's dad always says he wishes Sarah would write a book. Maybe you will write it for her one day. Haha!
    Tell your mom and dad hello and give the kids and Robb a big hug!
    Love you!

  5. Jomamma and Rebekah, all this talk of chicken and dumplings is making me hungry! Guess I'll be cooking that one day soon!

  6. I hear on the news about the continued drought and now the fires. I'm hoping that you and your ranch are safe and praying for rain and relief soon.

  7. Doxie, we are ok so far! Fires have been in our county and some have been big but so far stayed away from us. Slight chance of rain the next few days, but not looking too promising. I guess it will rain again one day! Thank you for the thoughts and prayers.