Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Deer Country: How cute, but what will it eat?

How cute—a fawn napping in a sunspot in our woods!

Two springs ago I surprised a spotted fawn—or did it surprise me?—as it drank from our spring-fed stream.  I was armed with tree trimmings destined for our woodland compost pile, and that fawn vanished before I returned with my camera.

Last year I remembered to look for a fawn and walked through our woods one early June morning—but didn’t find one.

The last few days I’ve noticed a doe grazing on the lawn near our creek early in the morning and late in the evening.  When I saw her again this morning, I decided to do a slow, methodical look in our woods for a fawn.

I was about to admit failure when white spots on chestnut-colored fur in a sunspot near a fallen tree caught my eye.  I stopped and and smiled—a napping fawn—several weeks old, I calculated, and likely following its mother’s order to keep still until she came back with lunch. 

I retreated to the house to fetch Ellen and my camera.  When we got back to the creek, we paused on the east side while I took a “distant shot” or two.  Then like kids—well, sort of—we hopped from stone to stone to cross the sparkling stream.

Just 10 feet or so from the fawn we paused in silence.  The fawn still napped on its leafy bed, curled like a spotted puppy on a rug by a kitchen door.  I took several more photos before we walked on through the garlic mustard and oriental bittersweet, across our culvert, and up the hill to our home. 

“What will that fawn be eating this time next year?”  I thought.  Pansies, heucheras, and hostas?  Tomato, strawberry, and blackberry leaves?  Sunflowers and green beans?  Chard and beet leaves and lettuce?

Sleep on, babe.  I’ll tend my fences and spray my sprays.  But mind your manners when you switch from mother’s milk to summer salad and don’t jump the fence into our veggie garden.  And remember to avoid mint-smelling greens, especially the ones I’ve sprayed.


  1. Ha! So so true!! Only a gardener would think that!

  2. how quickly they go from precious photo subjects to the banes of our existence! I can't believe that little guy stayed still.


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