Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rural Thursday: Early Fawns...

Usually we collect the game camera cards every week, but we were a little tardy this week. We wanted to get them all cleared off in time for the fawns to start showing up. They're usually born anytime during the last week of May or the first week of June, depending on exact breeding dates. Imagine our surprise to find that there are already at least two little ones who were born by May 15th.

The following pictures were all captured by the same game camera situated in a persimmon grove (behind the camera) that is the deer's favorite feeding place, both day and night. From here they can watch the open pasture or escape pretty quickly into the deep woods.
This little guy is probably at least a couple days old.

And this little guy is a little less steady on his feet, possibly
having been born the previous night.

Isn't he just too precious?

The shot immediately following this one on the camera card shows this one nursing,
but he's mostly blocked by his mama's legs, so I didn't include it.

I'm sure his mama told him to stay hidden while she ran some errands,
but he decided to be brave and get a better view of the pasture anyway.
We know that there are at least two fawns with two separate mothers, because the does have very different coloring in their face and tail areas, and the fawns have a different distribution of 'dots' along their necks.

And even though these two are early, we know there are more to come.
This doe appears pregnant, although she's still tending to her yearling.
This doe is obviously pregnant, too, and looks like she'll deliver twins.
Last year we had several sets of twins born at Le Rustique.
I love the game cameras and the little window they give us onto the natural world of a whole bunch of critters. One thing we've learned from them is that deer are much more actively foraging during daylight hours than we used to think. Another thing that surprised us is that raccoons, opossums and deer will eat side-by-side in the dark of night. We haven't seen a single raccoon or opossum, though, on any of the game cameras since the bobcat meandered through. I do hope he's long gone from Le Rustique now and doesn't come back looking for a little fawn for breakfast.

If you like stories of rural life, head on over to the  RURAL THURSDAY blog hop and read many more.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Barn Charm: The Rest Of The Story...

Omigosh! I got so busy outside all day that I nearly forgot it's Tuesday and time for Tricia's Barn Charm. I've been so excited to tell you this story that I can't believe I nearly forgot to post it. If it weren't for the chigger bites, I'd probably still be out there - so I guess I'm thankful for chigger bites???

Maybe you remember when I posted this open air barn to Barn Charm sometime in March.
A majestic old barn not far from Le Rustique in the heart of
Smallville, between Rosebud & Owensville.
Well a couple weeks ago, Big Daddy made his tractor decision and purchased a New Holland from Rosebud Tractor Company, owned by brothers John and Matt Estes. When Matt delivered the tractor and the all-important implements Big Daddy couldn't live without, he spent a few hours with us talking Tractor 101 and the virtues of brush hogging. And how can you have that conversation without talking about farms?  John and Matt both live within minutes of us where, in addition to running their tractor business, they also raise cattle with their dad on the original family farm.

As soon as Matt described how they can watch 4th of July fireworks from four different towns up on the big hill where the power line runs behind their old abandoned barn, my brain clicked into gear. "That's your barn?" I squealed. [Well, I'm not really a squealer, but I was pretty excited just the same.]

Big Daddy and I told him about Missouri BARN Alliance and Tricia's Barn Charm. And then - Sweet Serendipity, How I Love You! - he invited us to "go on up there and take all the old wood you want, just be careful it doesn't fall down on you, and call John at the store ahead of time so he can alert Dad so he won't have to get off his new toy [a bulldozer] to come check on you."

And of course we took him up on his offer.
We drove up from behind and realized it's even more air-conditioned than we thought.

This door immediately caught my eye, and my mind
began racing for ways to use it  fully intact.

Here's Big Daddy assessing access to the hayloft.

And here's the hay loft, complete with collapsed hay bales and growing grass.
But still, the structure is beautiful to me.

All those reachable gorgeous weathered planks are still pretty
well-protected beneath  tightly secured tin panels.

Another door, more tin panels - and aren't those panels interesting?
And here is why it wasn't possible to start dismantling
tin panels to retrieve those upper planks - the
whole thing might have collapsed on us.

Here is the sum of what we took. There are five doors with rotted
bottoms and a handful of odd-sized pieces of loose wood.

The haul is stacked in our barn. I love, love, love
the color of weathered barn wood.

Five doors awaiting a new purpose.
Of course I had to ask Matt why they stopped using that old barn and why so many Missouri barns like it have been left to deteriorate. His explanations made sense, so I did a little historical research - and to keep this blog from becoming the size of War and Peace, I'll write about in the next day or two.

When I sent my thank-you note, I told John & Matt to call us as soon as the wind takes it down so Big Daddy and I can come help them clean up, stack wood and, of course, get a few of those long straight planks. As exciting as that would be, in my heart I hope the old barn stands in defiance forever.

Linking up with Tricia's

Barn Charm ♥86♥

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Parsley In A Pear Tree...

If you've been following my blog for a while, you've probably figured out that Big Daddy is a bit of a character. And for those of you who are less frequent visitors here, I'll just clue you in right now - the man of the house is a study in contrasts. On the one hand, he's a serious guy working hard to provide for his family, his engineering partners, their clients and employees. On the other hand, he's a goofball whose humor can come at you from various angles - sometimes simultaneously, and sometimes when you least expect it.

He can lay the groundwork for a practical joke knowing full well that it might take months to bring it to fruition, but that's part of the fun for him. When we gather as a family, he always figures out some oddball challenge to keep us busy and entertained (like the recent wife-carry race or blow-dart competition). He sometimes says about himself, "If I had more money, I'd admit to being eccentric," but he's living proof that wealth has nothing to do with eccentricity.

And he loves to put his own words to well-known music. As he did the other morning when I gathered a big bundle of parsley that had survived the winter, but bolted early. As I brought the bundle into the kitchen to wash and chop, he started singing, "And some parsley in a pear tree..." to the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas, adding other words and phrases throughout the day. Because he sang it every time he walked into the kitchen, and because I couldn't get the tune out of my head, I decided to make it reality.
"And some pars-le-e-e in a pear tree."

The ground is so dry under this tree that we've been hauling water to  it
in hope that it 's enough to keep  the pears growing.

The first summer we owned Le Rustique, we got a bumper crop of pears from this tree. The previous owners took some, we gave a few boxes away, I made a lot of pear pies (sometimes with onions, sometimes with ginger), and I froze bags of them to use in smoothies all winter long. Last year the tree was even heavier with fruit, but the week before we were going to harvest the pears, someone stole every last pear off the tree. This tree was nearly forty-feet high, loaded from top to bottom (except where the deer could reach in the middle of the night), and suddenly there wasn't a single pear left on it.

After I got over being furious that someone would do that - and could do it out in the open and so close to our house without being caught - I wanted to cry, but I'm too pragmatic for that. Instead, we took advantage of there being no fruit on the tree to give it a long-overdue haircut.
By the time I ran to get my camera, this guy was nearly done giving
the pear tree a good thinning and topping off.
 Sometime this summer, we're installing security cameras, and Big Daddy is going to put a sign next to the tree saying, "DON'T STEAL OUR PEARS! SECURITY CAMERAS IN USE." Can you believe the gall of some people? And how in the world did they manage to pull if off? In the city they steal your lawn mower, in the country they steal your pears???

Linking to Rural Thursday, where the stories and photos from rural folk everywhere are worth a look.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Barn Charm: A Little Help From My Friends...

Okay, I've missed the last two weeks of Barn Charm, but I've had good intentions and even better excuses. So, rather than miss out again this week because I'm having trouble sorting photos for a very special barn post, I'm relying on a little help from Big Daddy. Last week he was driving through Kentucky on a business trip with a couple of his partners, and they were kind enough to gather some barn shots for me.

I love this barn, because it still has evidence of the advertising painted on the end facing the road. And because the advertising is for tobacco - something that is no longer legal to promote in this country, even on the side of your own barn.
Another old barn ready to fall in the next windstorm that blows through Kentucky.
An historical piece of Americana.

Maybe they were thinking, "Let's document the documentarian." Or maybe
they were bored with stopping to let Big Daddy get another shot of another barn.
Linking up with Tricia's
Barn Charm 85
Be sure to stop by there for some great shots of more charming barns.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hello Kitty...

Big Daddy made his weekly rounds of the game cameras we keep in the woods of Le Rustique, and we were stunned to find this shot among the more typical ones of deer and turkey. There appears to be a little more wildlife around here than we first thought.
Well - Hello Kitty! You're up and about quite early at just after 5:00 a.m.
At first we thought this was a juvenile mountain lion, because of the distinctive shape of the head and ears, but the shorter tail, foreleg markings and tufting under the chin make it more likely a mature bobcat. We did send the photo to Missouri Department of Conservation for verification, but we haven't heard anything yet. Anyone else have an opinion?