With the temperatures staying warmer, and the days getting longer, I’ve been starting to bring back my evening rounds. I was all ready to head out the door yesterday evening, when I saw three deer, running and jumping through the outer yard, from the direction of the barn!
Then they stopped and seemed hesitant.
I had a suspicion as to why.
I was right.
There were other deer!
These two were already hanging out at the feeding station.
I was able to open the inner door without startling them, so I could see them better. I could tell they saw me and were watching me, but they didn’t run off. So awesome!
The three made their way into the inner yard, but eventually left rather than joining the two at the feeding station.
There they go, all in a row! 😀
I was losing light fast, so I took the chance and went outside. They actually watched me for a bit, before running off.
As I was checking things out in the outer yard, and making my way to the back gate, I had to pause to take these photos.
I was in the path I mow to the back gate, half way between the fences for the inner and outer yards. The line of snow is what was hard packed from so many hooves, it left their mark in snow that’s taking longer to melt away.
Last winter, they seemed to prefer to jump the gate by the old garden area, where it is more open, but this winter, they definitely seemed to prefer going through the maple grove, then jumping the fence near the massive old willow.
Every time I see them making their way through the trees, or along the spruce grove, it makes me glad we were able to clear the trees out so much. It’s not only much easier and more pleasant for us to be able to go through the trees, but the deer prefer it, too!
While doing my rounds this morning, my daughter joined me as I took a closer look into the spruce grove, where we have SO much clearing to do. I had earlier identified 6 dead spruce trees that we’d like to cut down, on top of the 3 that are closer to buildings that we plan to hire someone to take down. We were able to go further into the grove and look more closely.
It’s not 9 dead trees. It’s a full dozen.
And that doesn’t include any others further into the grove, but just along the Western edge, where we need to work on cleaning things out first. It also doesn’t count the dead trees that have already fallen, and are either on the ground, or leaning on other trees, that need to be cleared away.
Looking in the area behind the garlic beds, it’s almost all little poplars, and those cherry trees that aren’t right for our climate. They bloom beautifully, but produce almost no cherries. They’re all relatively small, so I will be taking them right out. The little bendy poplars will be used to build trellises and arches, among other things. The cherries… they don’t look all that good. They have been killed off by late frosts, then regrowing, so often, none of them are particularly big, and are growing in clumps around whatever parent plant had died off in the middle. They might just end up being really nice wood to cook over.
The size of this area that has no large trees in it is pretty significant. Any spruces that used to be there have died off long ago – I expect to uncover more stumps as we clear back there. It also gets quite a bit of sunlight, so this will be a good area to plant some of the food trees and bushes we are planning on.
Once it’s all cleaned up and cleared away, I expect to see a lot more deer cutting through the spruce grove, rather than skirting around it!
As for the additional trees we identified as being dead and in need of removal, I noticed a couple of groups of three. Depending on the condition of the stumps, they might work well to use as the supports, to make a table with a bend on each side. We are wanting to create pleasant little seating areas throughout, where we can sit and enjoy the wild roses and red barked dogwood that we plan to leave as undergrowth, along with the Saskatoons we are finding (we’ll be taking out the chokecherries, though), and the other trees and bushes we intend to slowly plant in the area.
Like the mulberry tree that will be shipped late in the spring, so we’re going to need to get those dead trees out sooner, rather than later!
Plus, in other areas of the grove, we intend to transplant more spruce trees, into the spruce grove!
This whole area is going to be completely transformed over the next few years.
If all goes well, it will be a haven for both humans and deer. 🙂