Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25, 2014 Too much snow!

There is so much snow on the ground now, the deer are content to lay in the yard under one of the many big spruces and let their meal settle.  The trails are going in to the woods are getting shorter all the time.  A good many just go lay in the big spruce windbreak on the north side of the house.  There are deer to see no matter which window you look out now.  The snow hasn't been this deep in a long time.  And.....it's only February.  We can get a LOT of snow yet, before this winter is over.
Here is one of the orphan fawns that is hanging around.  This particular one is a little buck.  They are learning to fend for themselves pretty well these days.  They will stay to work on alfalfa long after many others have gone to lay down for a while.  They are also learning to defend their food pile if they get there first.  After all, they don't have a mom to stand up for them.  Some of the moms watch out for their fawns pretty well.  Others just give the fawn a whack and pretty much let them know they are to go find their own pile of food.  My favorite little buck fawn has a mom who does that to him.  That little guy is going to grow up to be pretty feisty, I think.  But, for now.....I most certainly have made a little friend.  I should really try to take the camera out with me one morning and try to get some close ups of him when I am feeding him.  However, it is hard to do both of those things well at the same time.   Shadow, as tame as she is......still doesn't like me pointing a camera in her face!
This is Zoe.  She is resting after her breakfast....just a few feet from the house.  The two fawns are under the big tree to the right of her.  She is such a good, watchful mom.  She has had a lot of bad luck.  She will be seven this spring.  Three years she has lost her fawn or fawns.  This year, she lost her fawn to a big bear.  A year or two ago she lost her fawn or fawns to a wolf.  The first year she had a fawn, she lost her fawn to something.  The cougar was around that year....so, it could have been that or something else.  That was when she got her hide ripped off of her left side and had bare red meat there all summer.....full of flies chewing on her.  It healed up nicely by winter.  She still has a long scar.  But, she is a beautiful healthy deer.  The two fawn she has now.....which don't even appear to be sisters.....we don't know how she happened to get them.....about a month or a bit more after the bear got hers.  They don't look at all alike in color or facial markings.  But, she really takes good care of them and watches out for them all the time.  If there is food, she guards the space near them and makes sure they get to eat.  They seem to have done very well too....considering they didn't get to nurse all summer like the other fawns.  So, life is interesting in the north woods.  It isn't always easy.  But, it all seems to work out in the long run.
As for the big bear.......I have no doubt he will be a problem again this spring.  He was around til snowfall and sneaking in and out of the yard regularly, looking for anything he could find.  He was pretty well behaved for a big guy, I will give him that.  Hopefully, that holds true again this year. 
On another note, I have learned a few new tricks.  See above.  I was at North House Folk School over the weekend.  I took the two day class "Birchbark Tutorial."  I had great instructors and learned a lot.  I also made these two wonderful baskets.  They are quite sturdy.  I made the smaller rounded one on Saturday using the diagonal weave.  I did the other large one the next day.  So, I learned two styles.  I opted to stay with the flat top instead of the zig zag top which you can get with the diagonal weave.  I think it will hold up better in the long run.  But, this is definitely something I can put to use.  That birchbark is some pretty practical, sturdy stuff.  I was truly amazed at some of the things you could do with it.  One, a wild rice container, box shaped......had the six square pieces put together and a sliding lid.  It is done by bending and steaming.  It stays tight.  Wow!  I am thinking I will have to make one of those, at some point.  But, it was just fun to get out and do something different on this long winter too.  I knew a couple of the people there and the rest were like minded about this type of thing.  So, the conversation was lively too.  What a great experience.  I won the gift certificate to go to the North House with a photo I took and entered in a contest.  The classes aren't inexpensive.  But, so many of them have so much practical usage.  I may have to go to another class in the future. 
So, now you know how I started off this week!  :)


  1. Beautiful baskets you made! Learning how to make baskets is something that has always interested me, but I keep putting it off because that would mean a whole other set of "materials" I'd have to acquire and find somewhere to store!

    Nature can seem so cruel at times, but I suppose when things go well we aren't so aware of them. Or aren't affected by them in the same way. As always, love your beautiful pictures.

  2. I have always loved the birch bark products I have seen people make. So, it was fun to learn how to do it properly. :)