We have started feeding the birds in the forest, as the weather is now colder. This means that the early bird catches a seed or two, before our red squirrels wake up and feast. We are only in November and the squirrel community is already sporting very shiny coats. There might be a weight issue to be dealt with if snow does not arrive soon. Our little red neighbours are warm enough not to burn off all the calories they consume so branches are groaning where they land. I think they all attended Scout meetings when younger, so they are prepared!
The white tailed deer association around our parts seems to be doing well; we see a lot of them every morning. Deer, in general, are flighty, nervous animals but the ones visiting us must have realised that there is no need to run past our yard. Once they met our four sheep, had a nervous breakdown and had a calming nap, they were fine.
The first meetings were funny to watch. Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My plodding along, tummies round with food. Around the corner comes a sleek, slender and much bigger animal. Our four M's backing away slowly, heads down, while the deer stands frozen to the spot. “I’ve never seen four balls on legs before and reversing ones at that”, the dear must have exclaimed. Then it shot off into the forest faster than anything should be going in such tricky terrain... But word spread about our four woolly balls being friendly so now we have regular visits from the deer population. And they keep our sheep from wandering into the farmer’s fields.
Elks pop in too. They are much bigger animals and clearly more smelly creatures, according to the four M's. When Mindy and her friends moved to us she informed us that they would be explorers. Mindy would lead them and they would be brave creatures of the world. So off they plodded, on their merry way to our postbox. This made me a bit apprehensive, as cars go past on that road, some with considerable speed. So I followed the brave ones.
They did well at first. All in a row, head to tail, keeping up a brisk pace and clearly enjoying themselves. By the last bend in the road, just minutes from their goal, it all went wrong. Mindy started sniffing and at the same time a huge elk stepped out in front of them. Never have I seen sheep move so fast. Turning on the spot and shooting past me they bolted for their home. The poor elk did the same and it is impressive how agile these big animals can be.
I later asked the four explorers about their next trip but apparently they had taken early retirement. Not once have they walked all the way to the postbox and hopefully it will stay that way. Less stress all around, I think.
It's good to have slightly smelly neighbours. I hope they will all enjoy a safe, good winter with lots of food available for them, to keep them warm. The four M's leave hay out for them and that's nice. No hard feelings in our yard.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.