We Live in a Zoo… A One Post Break from the Bike Tour

A long blacktail deer looks in a window in the Applegate Valley.

The deer often look in our windows, checking out the strange two-legged creatures who live in a cage. Or maybe they are looking for apples.

We’ve been working hard on the bike trek— me writing and you reading. It’s time for a one post quicky, one long on cute photos and short on words.

I  sometimes think that Peggy and I live in a zoo, but we are the ones in the cage (house) while the animals run around free. When we returned in June from our ten-week revisit of my 10,000 mile bike trip, a herd of deer had encamped around our house. They had taken over. There was even one sleeping on the doorstep to our sunroom!  Who needs a dog?

This young buck has decided we are part of his family and comes around everyday for a while in between grazing.

Little Buck has decided we are part of his family and comes around everyday in between grazing. Here he is resting on the door mat of our sunroom. A giraffe sculpture is off to the left.

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know that Peggy and I live on five acres of land in southern Oregon. The Applegate River runs through the front of our property while a million acres of national forest land are out the backdoor. It’s no surprise that a number of wild animals and birds consider our property part of their territory. Foxes, coyotes, raccoons, bears, deer, and skunks wander through our yard at will. There have even been cougars and wolves spotted in the area. Bigfoot is rumored to hang out in the Red Butte Mountains you can see from our deck (grin).

The Red Butte Mountains as see from our deck, front room and sunroom. They are 10 miles away in Northern California. Don't they look like an ideal home for Big Foot.

The Red Butte Mountains as seen from our deck, front room and sunroom. They are 10 miles away in Northern California. Doesn’t this look like an ideal home for Big Foot?

Except for the skunk who wants to live under our house and the bear who is known to go a few rounds with our garbage can on occasion, they are all welcome. The skunk was particularly irksome when it got excited as the toilet flushed and decided to spray under the house. Then there was the time he got in a territorial battle with a raccoon in our back yard and let go. (I caught that one on my night camera.)

The bear earned a barrel of demerits when he tackled my heavy Weber Grill and tipped it over on our back porch. Our daughter, Tasha, was visiting at the time and sleeping in the bedroom next to the porch. “CURTIS!!!” she screamed. Did you hear her? I’m surprised she has been back. And we still haven’t convinced her to let the grandkids sleep outside.

The deer (along with a variety of birds including wild turkeys) are the most obvious day-time visitors. They camp out in the shade, receive regular lectures from Peggy about not eating her flowers, and try to wheedle apples out of us. Here are some shots we’ve taken in the last few weeks. Enjoy. I’ll be back with the bike trip in my next blog.

The moms have started bring their kids by to introduce them.It is one of our favorite times of the year.

The moms have started bringing their kids by to introduce them.It is one of our favorite times of the year.

It almost seems like this doe is doing a curtsy. "Let me present my two babies."

It almost seems like this doe is doing a curtsy. “Let me present my two babies.”

The fawns are so tiny at first.

The fawns are so tiny at first.

This tyke has a long ways to go to grow into its legs.

This tyke has a long ways to go to grow into its legs.

"Who are these two legged creatures, Mom? I bet I can out run them."

“What are these two-legged creatures, Mom? I bet I can out run them.”

Mom has to work hard to get enough food to feed her babies, especially when she has twins. Here she is working a white oak in front of our house. Peggy has worked had to find deer resistant plants. The deer are welcome to the oak leaves.

Mom has to work hard to get enough food to feed her babies, especially when she has twins. Here she is munching on white oak leaves in front of our house. Peggy struggles to find deer resistant plants. The deer is welcome to the leaves.

Five bucks hang out on our property. These include Big Buck seen here, a bigger buck, a forked horn, a spike and Little Buck.

Five bucks hang out on our property. These include Big Buck seen here, a bigger buck, a forked horn, a spike and Little Buck.

He really is handsome, and seems to know it.

He really is handsome, and seems to know it.

His antlers are still growing and in velvet. By September the antlers will lose their velvet and Big Buck will be ready of his lady love, or, as he prefers, lady loves.

This forked horn’s antlers are still growing and in velvet. By September the antlers will lose their velvet and this fellow will be ready to pursue his lady-love, or, as he prefers, lady loves. The action around our place gets pretty hilarious.

Little Buck is too small to get in on the action. It isn't that he won't have it in mind, but the bigger bucks, which is just about everyone, will chase him away. Here he seems to be commenting on the fact.

Little Buck is too small to get in on the action. It isn’t that he won’t want to, but the bigger bucks will chase him away. Here he seems to be commenting on the unfairness of it all.

My last photo for the day. Little Buck looks cute in hopes of earning an apple.

My last photo for the day. Little Buck looks cute in hopes of earning an apple.

 

47 comments on “We Live in a Zoo… A One Post Break from the Bike Tour

  1. Could they be any cuter? What a wonder it must be. The skunk scenarios not quite so great. When you see Big Foot sleeping on the mat then you know things are getting out of hand. 🙂

  2. I’ve seen other photos taken on your property but was not aware where you were. On our spring trip, we had dinner with relatives in Medford and after going to Portland drove down 101. It is such a beautiful countryside.

    • Medford is our “shopping center.” We live about 30 miles southwest of the town, Ralie. I was born in Ashland but moved away when I was like three months old. My grandparents on my Mother’s side had owned a large pear orchard in Oregon. We had come through doing genealogical research when Peggy saw Jacksonville and declared that we should retire in the area. –Curt

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Yvonne. Peggy and I love watching the antics of the wild animals that consider our home their home. We’ve been lucky to see them in all phases of their lives. It is like having our own nature school. Thanks. 🙂 –Curt

    • Bears are large animals with big teeth and sharp claws, Andrew. It’s wise to be nervous about them. I’ve had numerous encounters over the years, however, and am still alive to report on them. 🙂 I’ve blogged about the time I woke up with one standing on top of me. Urban foxes (like urban coyotes) fascinate me, as do other wild animals that adapt to living in close proximity with people. –Curt

  3. What sweethearts! Since we’re in the city now, we have a crew of raccoons, possum, and of course our TNR stray / feral kitties we care for — but apparently there are some neighborhood deer in the area I’m not aware of, even here! But when we find a place… Eeks! My guy already sees the swarm and knows it will just be quadruple-fold. 🙂 I love your wildlife angels, though! The skunk has me intrigued…. I know they only go stinky when really, REALLY threatened (as in, they give 2-3 other warnings), so hopefully you’ve all been nice and non-smelly!

    • Laughing about your guy and his resignation/awareness that lots of wildlife goes along with the territory of associating with you FeyGirl. 🙂
      I know that skunks need to be irked or surprised to let go. I enjoy having them around (for the most part). I’ve been in a couple of situations over the years when they have been standing on their front legs with tail and blunderbuss pointed at me. Fortunately they never let go. I froze and eventually they returned to all fours and waddled off. –Curt

    • Or, they at least know a soft-touch, D. The clouds over the Red Buttes often put on a show, although it usually isn’t that spectacular. Mainly it is in looking like something: a dog, a dragons, a fish, a pelican and whatever else my imagination can come up with. 🙂 –Curt

  4. I’d put out apples for Bigfoot if it would let me live in a place like that. It’s just wonderful. There’s nothing more appealing than deer, and that one curled up at your door is just the best. What a world. Thanks for the photos — well worth breaking the narrative.

    • I thought my blog followers, not to mention me, deserved a short break, Linda. And it is fun to catch the deer in real time as opposed to blog time, i.e. when I can get around to it. We realize how very fortunate we are to be living where we do. Peggy and I spent a whole year looking for our “ideal” location in southern Oregon that was also affordable. And that was after we spent two years wandering around the country to choose an area. 🙂 –Curt

    • The skunk really isn’t bad as long as it behaves itself, Alison. The bear usually only comes by for one reason. Food is short up on the mountain and it is interested in varying its diet. I always do what I can to chase it off, including moving the garbage to our shed. As for the deer, we’ve planted deer “resistant” plants. The degree of resistance varies depending on the hunger. We’ve fenced in our garden and some native shrubs we to avoid becoming deer food. –Curt

    • Right, Susan! 🙂 The deer would gladly substitute apples for their natural diet of leaves, grass, moss, acorns, etc. They’re voracious eaters. Plus they would tell all of their brothers, sisters, moms, dads, grandparents, children and first, second, third, fourth, and with cousins. Still, they mange to wheedle a couple of apples a day. I think the moms have figured out they are more likely to get an apple if they bring their fawns around. –Curt

    • Skunks are really rather peaceable given a chance, Annika. 🙂 They just don’t like being threatened or surprised. I have a theory that their defenses makes them feel invulnerable, however. Otherwise, why would so many get run over? 🙂 –Curt

  5. It’s hard to enjoy the critters when they’re eating your garden. Recently I reluctantly tried a product, “Liquid Fence.” To my shock, it’s working. I understand there are home made versions–recipes on the net. I’ll probably mix up my own in the future, now that the commercial product has proved its mettle.

  6. Aww, look at these lovelies. You know, I have to say the bucks have colouring like antelopes, don’t you think? My whitetails are a grey-brown without the lovely markings of yours. What kind are they? Apples grow wild all over this area, and deer are very happy about that. It doesn’t stop them from visiting yards to munch apples that people would otherwise claim. I’m a big softie though, and leave the lowest ones for them. I love that they feel so safe at your place. Sleeping on the mat – now that is something.

    • There were seven outside this morning telling us how much they would like to share an apple. They come up to the window and look in at me as I write. Their big brown eyes are ever so hard to resist. Last year we went over to an abandoned apple orchard and gathered up some for the herd. There was more bear scat than deer cast there! Apparently deer aren’t the only ones who enjoy apple treats. The deer here are blacktail deer, Crystal. Fun how you leave the lower applies for the deer. Do they rear up on their hind legs to get the higher ones? –Curt

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