I don't know how many times I've heard something like this: "Oh, I know where your farm is. I used to go huntin' out there." But, I've heard it A LOT.
And, I'm sure it was pretty good hunting. Deer love our farm. No doubt, we disrupted their perfect little world when the trucks started coming through, and we built a road and put in electricity and water, domesticating an area that had previously been home only to the critters. But, still, they're here. I think we're coexisting quite nicely.
We started a game called "Critter" wherein participants receive points for each critter spotted along our half-mile-or-so driveway. To claim the point, you've got to be the first one to shout "critter!" when you spot any critter that we don't intentionally feed (in other words, cats, goats, and chickens don't count).
Yesterday morning's drive to school sounded something like this:
"Critter! Critter! . . . Critter! Critter! Critter! . . . Critter! Critter! Critter! Critter!"
And so on. I think we counted 17 yesterday in all . . .in the half mile it took us to reach the main road. I think the deer love our farm as much as we do.
And, they've gotten pretty accustomed to us. Most of the time, does and fawns barely even look up at us from where they're eating as we pass by. The bucks are a bit more skittish. But, it's amazing to encounter one up close like I did the other day. I'd just picked the kids up at the end of the driveway where they'd gotten off the school bus, and we were headed back to the house through the woods on the Ranger. We came over a little hill, and there he stood -- just yards ahead of us, standing in the middle of our path. So big and beautiful!
If you're ever with us as we're driving our road, you should know that we take our game of Critter pretty seriously. Boy has been known to dissolve into a fit of tears if he makes it all the way home without a single Critter point. So, do us all a favor and once you've got a point or two yourself, give him a little heads up the next time you see a deer in the distance, "Hey! Is that something over there?" He'll be quick to spot it, yell "critter," and claim his point, and we'll all be the happier for it.