The Circle of Life

Last summer, two does stayed on or near our farm and each had twins. One doe had a thicket behind our barn and we would often see her leading her spotted fawns across the driveway and into the thicket. Sometimes, they would cross the road and go up on the hill behind our mailbox. The other doe was hiding out lower on the property with her two, but occasionally as the fawns got bigger, we would see the two does together with all 4 fawns tagging along.

The other evening, I was socially distance visiting with our neighbor who grew up here in the mountains, hunted, and loves to watch the wildlife. He has taught me so much about behaviors both of the animals and those that hunt them. I asked him when the does would run last year’s fawns off and he said they usually birth their young in May and if they have last year’s fawns still with them, they will separate from them just prior to having the new fawns.

As we were sitting down to dinner, I spotted 4 young deer coming up the field from the hay field, across the upper field and around one of the many huge rock piles. One by one they came through the tall grass right up into the area I just mowed yesterday and walked along the edge toward the creek. It appears that the 2 pair of twins have joined up for now as they finish learning the ropes into adulthood.

I waited to get up and take the photo until I was sure they wouldn’t spot my movement in the house.

In early spring, the flocks of turkey are large. We have seen up to 22 or 23 at a time. The toms strutting around posturing, other toms either challenging or moving away as the dominant one tried to get a hen.

The hens have all gone to nest now and we don’t see large flocks. One hen comes out of the edge of the woods, closer than these 4 were early spring when I took this shot, she feeds in the now tall grass then disappears back in the same direction. She must have a nest nearby. A pair of toms wander around in that back field feeding and if you are outside, you can hear them gobbling down there or over in the woods. The neighbor says a hunter will listen for them and move quietly toward them. This is “Gobbler” season, when they can hunt for the males, easily distinguished by the beard you can see on the one far right. Soon, we will see the hens herding a brood of poults along, cute as chicks when they are small and gangly and scruffy as they become adolescents.

As soon as it is warm enough to sleep with the windows open, we will hear the coyotes as they hunt for food at night. There will be lots of noise some evenings and we have been told they will often run male pups from last year off in the spring, though most coyote packs are matriarchal.

With spring, flower shoots sprout, the perennials filling out and greening, then buds form and flowers bloom. This morning, our first Bearded Iris bloomed, the old fashioned blue ones.

We no longer have a rooster, so we won’t have any chicks this year, but we are seeing nests of songbirds and some fledglings being fed on the porch rails, fence posts, or down in the yard.

It won’t be long before we see fawns and turkey chicks.

Personal Reboot

When I was younger, I never had sleep issues. I have always been an early to bed, early to rise person, but as I am aging, the sleep schedule seems to be off kilter. I still want to be in bed by around 10 p.m., but often awaken around 1 a.m. and can’t get back to sleep for a few hours. Then when the sun comes up, I don’t feel rested and often stay in bed dozing and waking for another hour or so.

Determined to examine my habits and see if I can get back into a healthier routine, I have signed off of Facebook. I realized that too many of the posts were virus or politics related and that caused me stress, because of the total saturation on TV and social media. I found that where I used to just skip through it, I was making snarky comments or wanting too and refraining from doing so which then caused me more stress. I have avoided reading news feeds. I can’t totally avoid the news because I am not alone in the house and my husband is a television watcher and news feed reader and so I hear it on the tube or we have conversations about an article he saw or read.

Through out my adult life, I have quit caffeine and started caffeine again in the form of coffee or tea. That is an area I can control and have returned to a policy of not drinking a caffeinated beverage after lunch. With the stay at home orders, my diet has cleaned up considerably as all meals are at home and I am controlling the ingredients, the seasoning, the fat. I have never had a problem with alcohol or tobacco, so that hasn’t changed.

We were already in a habit of walking nearly every day, but generally on a mostly flat paved trail. Being at home, the walks are on our rural road or the fields and as we live in the mountains, I can challenge myself by going off road and climbing steep terrain or stay on the road, which still has some significant elevation change over it’s mile. I can now leave home and regardless of the route, keep walking without having to stop to catch my breath and let the blood pressure pounding in my ears settle. Though I enjoy walking on the flats with hubby, I can challenge myself more alone.

With spring here, there is garden work, a lawn to be mowed and edged, and those are added to the daily cooking, cleaning, laundry chores, so I stay busy which keeps me from nodding off in my chair. I do take breaks and spend the evenings in my chair with my spindles and knitting to keep my hands busy and allow my mind to focus on creativity instead of news and other stressors.

Maybe it will help. Maybe not. Time will tell.

Oh! The frustration.

My favorite spindles are handcrafted in Oregon. Over the years, Ed has created several different sizes of spindles from tiny to large, all Turkish style. I own three of his spindles, a very small one that is just about 2.5″ (63 mm) in diameter with a 3.5″ shaft. It is my favorite of the three. It fits in a 3 ounce loose tea tin assembled with fiber, and I can only spin about 10 grams of fiber on it, making 38-42 yards of laceweight 2 ply.


The other two are a discontinued one with a 4″ diameter arm span and a 6+” shaft. It is a workhorse of a spindle and I can spin slightly heavier weight yarn on it, but usually keep it fingering or light fingering weight 2 ply. The third a current style similar in size but slightly more delicate in style.

Middle is discontinued Lark. Back is current Wren.

He makes a tiny little spindle that is only 2″ diameter with a 2.5″ shaft but only makes a few and they are extremely difficult to get. Last week, they posted that some would be for sale this week. Yesterday, they announced it would be at 1:30 pm PDT today. I anxiously awaited the time, prepped dinner ahead so I would be on my computer when they posted. Alas, because there were 180+ other people also waiting, their website couldn’t post them all at once. I sat here trying over and over to get one, not caring what kind of wood. Finally one popped up just as I refreshed and I clicked on it, the website took me to the check out page, but the spindle wasn’t there. Back on the main site, I could see that I had clicked in time as there is a 10 or 12 minute hold to allow you to complete your transaction before it is reopened for sale. I sat and watched the time click down, knowing that I had reserved it, but I couldn’t get to it because it wouldn’t show up in my cart and no one waited for the time to expire before completing their purchase. Just as the time ran out, someone else grabbed it before I could. I was disappointed. I shouldn’t allow myself to get worked up over something such as that, but I lost out. I didn’t get the tiny little spindle that I have coveted. With the virus lock downs, the vendor can’t do shows, and the vendor rarely does ones on this coast anyway, so purchasing one in person won’t happen either. I’m sure that the vendor was frustrated with the process too, but in the end, they sold all 14 spindles.

I will have to be happy that I have what I have and let it go, but I am disappointed.