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Ellen in Springtime

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Lots of things happen in our meadow, all the time. The common milkweed comes into bloom and unless I'm walking up from its end, I may not appreciate that fact, or how much it has spread! I've been hand-pulling competing giant ragweed for years now, and it's nice to get a cheer, a great big beautiful THANKS! from the good guys. 

One morning early I looked out and saw a familiar form, well out in the meadow. I knew without getting my binoculars that I might be seeing Ellen in late spring for the first time. May 22, 2016. In the seven years I've known her, I'd never seen her, much less photographed her, after early April. If you don't know who Ellen is, you can start here.


In fact, the last photos I took of her were on April 4, 2016.  Her hair had fallen out in great swatches, and she was naked about the shoulders. Her bad right eye was still cloudy and useless. 


Sometimes coming to know an individual animal can be hard. 
Their lives are anything but easy. I don't know what's made her hair fall out like this. I can only hope it grows back quickly. 


 And now here she was, with new red summer hair coming in, May 22, 2016.


A cardinal flew in from stage left and began to sing on the vulture snag as Ellen considered my distant form, standing the meadow.


She lifted her left hoof, held it up for a few beats, then stomped it down had.


She snorted, a great windy WHEW!


I smiled. Come on Ellen. You know me. I'm the Corn Lady.


I'm leaving. Not fast, but I'm getting out of here. You have some nerve to try to creep up closer to me. 



And Ellen, who is at least 9, which is old for a whitetail,  took flight.  And when she did, I saw that she is with fawn.


Oh yes. There's probably another little buck in there. She's looking anything but slab-sided.


It can't be easy bounding when you're about to drop a fawn, but Ellen took off, showing me with her flashing tail that she'd seen me and that I had no hope of catching her. Ellen. We've known each other since 2009. Have I ever given chase?


I marvel that this little doe, compromised as she is with physical issues; blind in one eye and twisted up who knows why; could still be contributing to the deer population at her age.


Ah sweet Ellen. You know me. You don't have to leap and run.


I know. I'm pretty sure it's you, but my good eye isn't that good any more, and the wind's in your favor, so what's my choice? Thanks for the winter corn and seed treats. See you in January!



Good luck with your new baby, Ellen! You know I'll be watching.



8 comments:

Aww, Ellen. I have grown to love her, too.
Kathy in Delray Beach

You know you warm ALL our hearts with these contacts!

Glad to get an update on Ellen. May her summer be bountiful.

Posted by Gail Spratley June 26, 2016 at 9:09 AM

Awww, so good to see her!

Your Ellen reminds me of the 3-legged doe we saw here in SE Ohio for several years. We'd look for her as we supplemented the deer's winter food supply... and watch to see if she'd had a fawn each spring. We left SE Ohio in 2001 and I know she's long gone... but we're back here this summer and am becoming familiar with the deer who come to the corn and deer block. There are at least 4 bucks, and a couple of does (haven't seen fawns yet)... and while I love seeing them, I hope they remain as afraid of people as they need to. Your Ellen is a treasure.

Through you, Ellen has many people who care about her who she will never know about. As you say, it's hard loving a wild creature, knowing what their lives are like and how comparatively short their life spans. But each time, we fall in love again, pushing to the back of our minds the knowledge that our heart will get broken -- it's just a question of when.

So happy to read about you seeing Ellen. She's one amazing doe given all of her challenges--would love to know her life history! And another baby on the way. Yahoo! You go, Ellen!

We're all fawnd of this sweet doe.

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