Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yesterday's Chase

Yesterday morning: there she was, bright eyed and cheery, standing below my studio window right there in the center of the garden and checking out what she had claimed as her domain the past four days. How in the world did she get in again?

As explained on Thursday, we had walked the fence line to find all intact and added a temporary section of netting above the one side section of the metal gate at our entrance, so she could not jump over it. Could it be she jumped across the main gate entrance onto the concrete, something we have not experienced in our sixteen years here?

So while Missy here decided to quietly take up residence, we had to persuade her she'd be better off elsewhere. Evidence shows that she has been bedding down inside the garden: a cleared area behind a large wooden structure in the shade garden is where she has slept unnoticed by us; many half-eaten plants seemed to have been to her liking; and areas throughout had been graciously fertilized. Six acres of rocky soil, steep hills and inclines, and two people (who are not spring chickens) attempting to get a deer out of a gated property is not an easy task. Thankfully we have a small four-wheeler that could be used to help expedite the climb in herding this creature out.

So quick, so smart, and much more energy than we had: up and down and around she darted. We would get her close to the entrance, gate open, but she would turn and run right back from whence she came, darting between us or circling to the opposite side of the house. Back and forth we went, pausing in order to place small barriers (a rope between 2 trees and she halted as she saw those) in hopes of restricting access to her favorite routes. But truly it was a comedy of errors.

Four hours later we heard one of the neighbors and went to ask for help. Now we had two people on the west side of the house and me on the east. My husband drove the vehicle on the lower road, while J walked the upper path and the deer was ushered from the southern corner to the north end, but then she looped around right past me. If I were on the upper side of the east slope, she darted below, and if on the lower side... well, you get the picture.

Here she comes yells J, and sure enough she was running down the path toward me. I moved toward her to force her in the opposite direction, but she wouldn't have any of that. Likely she was thinking and just who are you kidding as I stood in her path, for she darted and vigorously leaped into the air past me, as if to impress. She was beautiful.

On the next attempt from the south end to the north, my husband called to see if I saw her, for she seemed to have disappeared, maybe even gotten out somehow. Could we be so lucky? I began walking up the hill, and there she was in the distance, tucked beneath the branches and against the trunk of the large Lelandii, leaning, looking at me, and I at her. I called my husband to tell him where she was, and just as I did she started south again, but then turned, for she heard the roar of the motor. I quickly ran back down the hill to retake my position.

This time she headed toward the open gate, and rather than go onto the concrete and through the space, she literally forced herself through the narrow bars of the metal and took off to a boundary unknown. We cannot believe this large deer fit itself through that small space. An amazing feat!

It was a game of cat and mouse, but to say we guided her out, is likely not a fact, but rather, following 5 hours, she was finally tired and decided to get outta dodge. Happily, she is where she needs to be. Whew, thank you J for the help. We couldn't have done it without you.

You know what? We have guests coming for dinner tomorrow. I have to go in an make my marinara sauce and meatballs. Keep going, just keep going... you'll be okay.

I still marvel at her, the grace and speed, how often we looked at one another, how clever she was...