Stag party at Grandma's

Stag party at Grandma's

Most evenings, just before dusk, our deer neighbors make a pre-dinner visit just across the street from our house. Deer as in doe a deer, female deer, that nibble and nosh on the grainy goodies our human next-door neighbor—right or wrong—puts out for the local wild ones.

Sometimes it’s two or three does, sometimes more, sometimes their little ones, too. Occasionally a buck butts his way into the fray, but it’s typically all gals as the guys seem to favor a supper spot farther up the street.

One snowy afternoon last week, though, it was the big boys who stopped by.

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Sweet face! Plus, GRAND Social No. 296 link party for grandparents

Sweet face! Plus, GRAND Social No. 296 link party for grandparents

Sweet face!

Last Monday a 2018 Subaru Crosstrek was delivered to my door for me to test drive for a week. On Saturday, Jim and I took advantage of the colorful AWD (which you may have seen on Facebook or Instagram) and trekked up to Denver to visit the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge—a place we'd not yet seen but long wanted to.

I'll soon share full details of our visit to the refuge as well as my time with the Crosstrek, but I thought the following photo I snapped Saturday makes for a sweet way to start the week.

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They're back! Plus, GRAND Social No. 220 link party for grandparents

They're back!

For many years and through most seasons, we could count on seeing a small herd of seven or so deer in our neighborhood at various times throughout the day. Mostly in the evenings or when I walked the dogs (now just dog) in the mornings. Up until about three months ago.

We started noticing the absence of the neighborhood deer the beginning of summer and throughout, except for a lone female we'd spot now and then seemingly in search of the family that had left town without her. (Not that I anthropomorphize or anything.)

Last week as Jim and I headed home from my picking him up after work, we noticed neighbors gawking at something or another as we turned onto our street. Turned out it was deer! I hurried into the house, grabbed my camera and documented the return of the deer to our 'hood. Several of them. From two big guys on down to to two wee ones with a couple does in between.

neighborhood deer

Hooray! They're back!

I don't know...

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Halloween deer, plus GRAND Social No. 129 link party

Halloween deer

Last Friday saw not only more little trick-or-treaters at my door than in the past (meaning, we had about 15 kids total), I also saw these sweet deer and their parents across the street just as the sun was setting and the dear humans were heading out to haunt the neighborhood.

mule deer 

I'm still debating which...

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What I learned this week: I am blessed

As a long-distance grandma, there's this fact about me: I miss my grandsons. Daily. Sometimes hourly.

Thing is, despite missing my grandsons all.the.<cuss>.time, I have a pretty good life. I was reminded this week of just how good it is.

I have mornings that feature:

Hummingbirds on my deck...

hummingbirds 

Deer doing their daily doings while I walk my dogs...

deer 

And this heartwarming feeding I was thrilled to witness...

 

(Though I was chided for interrupting...)

All that while Pikes Peak keeps watch from the west...

Pikes Peak 

And that's just my morning, just one small sliver of my day, my life. There's much more that's equally amazing, equally jaw-dropping awesome. How could I consider myself anything but blessed?

Though that's not really a lesson I learned this week, it's one I tend to forget. The sights above — all photographed yesterday morning — reminded me once more how blessed I am, despite missing my Megan and my grandsons. And reminders are nearly as good as a lesson, I think, especially when reminded again and again, just as I was yesterday.

So there you have it: I am blessed. And that is what I learned — or re-learned — this week.

(Now if I could only learn how to not miss my grandsons.)

I'm off for the weekend! Best wishes for a lovely one for you and yours. I look forward to seeing you here again Monday. Cheers!

Today's question:

What did you learn this week?

What I learned this week: Sometimes the hassle is worth it

I take my dogs on a walk nearly every weekday morning. We walk as fast as my legs will take me, and the round trip is about a mile and a half. It's pretty much our go-to exercise — for the dogs as much as for myself.

I used to take my point-and-shoot camera with me each time, but ever since getting my DSLR, I've avoided taking it. The camera is fairly large and bulky, and even though it takes awesome photos and I love, love, love the camera (a Canon EOS Rebel T3i), it just seemed a hassle to wear it on my morning walks. Especially because I try to race-walk the majority of the way, and the idea of a camera bopping along on my chest from beginning to end of the walk didn't appeal to me.

This past week, though, I decided to try bringing it anyway. I keep seeing cool things on my walks, and I kick myself every time for not having my camera on me. I do carry my iPhone, but it just wasn't doing the job the way I wanted when I'd photograph this or that along the route.

Turned out that managing to keep two dogs in line while juggling my phone, my pepper spray (to avoid this happening again) and now my bigger, better camera is, yes, a bit of a hassle. But once I figured out to situate my camera along my side rather than hanging in front (to avoid it bopping on my chest), it really wasn't that big of a deal.

What was a big deal? The photos I managed to get, photos such as these:

deer grazing

three deer

deer up close

deer cross road

deer in pines

Pikes Peak

Sure can't get such things on my iPhone. The hassle was definitely worth it.

And that is what I learned this week.

Today's question:

What did you learn this week?

Five points for moving along

As I walked the dogs yesterday morning, I saw through the trees ahead a buck of substantial size. I often see deer along that road, but rarely bucks. Each time I see deer (or fox, sometimes even squirrels, birds, butterflies. leaves blowing across the road) it's a struggle to keep the dogs—Mickey in particular—under control. So I swiftly crossed the dogs to the other side of the road in hopes they wouldn't notice it as we passed it by.

Naturally, that's right when Mickey saw the buck...and the second it was bounding to meet up with. I tugged the yelping dogs in line and did my best to keep moving along.

"I can tell from that yelp that your dogs have seen the buck," said a gentleman—refined and eerily akin to 60-year-old Anderson Cooper—as he stepped from behind a bush. A bush he'd been working near, plucking weeds from his yard, not a bush he'd been lurking behind for unknown nefarious reasons. I think.

Me: Yeah, he certainly did.

Gentleman (clearly in awe): Five-by-five there.

Me (thinking WTH? Size? Must have to do with size): Oh yeah? It is big. I've not seen one that large yet this year.

Gentleman: I haven't either, but those are two five-by-fives and one four-by-three.

Me (using my infinite conversational skills): Three? Wow! I only saw two.

Gentleman: Oh yeah, there's three.

Me (pulling on dog leashes and itching to move along): Wow!

Gentleman (slowly shaking his head in disgust): Yeah, two five-by-fives. And I'm a bow-hunter and there ain't nothing I can do about it.

Me (in pseudo similar disgust): Yeah, you gotta just wave as they go on by.

Gentleman (in resignation): Ha...Yeah...

Me: Well, you have a good day.

Gentleman: You, too.

The gentleman gazed across the road at the three bucks ambling toward the ridge, lust and longing palpable as he slowly shook his head.

The dogs and I moved along as I resisted the urge to shake my own head...for a very different reason, to be sure.

Photo: stock.xchng...since I didn't have my camera with me.

Today's question:

Thoughts on bucks, city hunting, or neighbors lurking behind bushes?

Spring not yet sprung

Many of the blogs I visit regularly have lately featured spring in all its glory: trees in bloom and flowers, flowers, flowers. Beautiful flowers of purples and yellows and pinks and more.

Well, that's not the way we do spring in Colorado. At least not yet, at least not in my neighborhood.

As proof, here are two highlights from my walk with the dogs yesterday, neither of which feature flowers. (Neither of the photos, not the dogs. Well, the dogs don't feature flowers either).

(The white bar on the photo is part of the fence they're standing on the other side of.)

Sure, I'd be thrilled to see and smell flowers blooming, the true signs of spring. But if I can't have those, I'll gladly accept and appreciate what else Mother Nature has to offer, including snow-covered Pikes Peak and three curious deer.

As for blooming trees and flowers, I'll wait patiently.

For now, anyway.

Today's question:

What does spring look like in your neighborhood today?