Oh deer.

3 Jun

All the best laid plans, right?  Going to blow through this unpacking, right?  All my hubris and hope dashed as I, without thinking clearly, started today with the kitchen.  At first, I just wanted to clear some things so that I could actually cook breakfast.  A little toast, a few scrambled eggs, tea, orange juice.  Something not bought from Starbucks.  Much needed fuel for the day of unpacking victory I had before me.  I had already taken Maeve to school.  (Three minutes, it took me.  Three minutes!)  It was 8:30am and I just needed some sustenance before diving in.

But then, you know, I needed a spatula.  And a frying pan.  I had already found the toaster front and center, which apparently inspired too much confidence in my ability to navigate these waters.  At 10:30, I realized what I had done.  I found myself caught in the sticky web of crates and bubble wrap and packing paper, struggling against reality with a single desire to have a kitchen orderly enough to sweep and mop.  Counters clear enough to spray and wipe.  By noon, I had not only gotten no closer to my goal but had managed to embed myself further in the web of unpacking demise.

I took a break.  I had lunch on the porch with Brett.  I watched Molly (our beagle) sun herself on the lawn.  I listened to the birds chirping and the man next door hammering.  I breathed.  I remembered why I was here and what I loved about living in a place of nature.  The day started to look up.  I showered finally.  Always a good thing.  I saw some space on the kitchen island.  I stacked conquered crates in the family room.  Cue the Indiana Jones theme song, baby, because I was whipping that kitchen into shape.  I was about to cross the finish line.  I had the Mrs. Meyers spray and sponge in my hand, ready for the final wipe of the counters.  Until…Brett walks in and says ‘do you want me to bring in those other four crates for the pantry from the living room?’

If human deflation makes a sound, he heard it.  I was a sad balloon with all the air hissing out of it.  Put a fork in me, I’m done.  Down for the count.  Throwing in the towel.  Are there any other clichés I can use to describe my discouragement?  I took another break which turned out to be my final break for the day.  I picked up the kids from school, went to the dog park, enjoyed the breeze and the sun on my face. 

Now that the kitchen was fairly well unpacked, I wanted to have a family dinner, our first in our new home.  At a table.  With real plates and silverware.  Nothing fancy.  Some grilled chicken, pasta for them, rice for me, sautéed green beans and broccoli.  I am lucky to have children who beg for veggies when they’ve been deprived.  While the chicken was on the grill, we sat on the porch for a glass of wine.  Peaceful, idyllic.  Until we heard Ainsley screaming from the family room.

‘A deer!  I saw a deer!’  Jumping up and down and pointing through the window.  She ran outside and slowed down as she got closer.  The deer didn’t move, but something else did.  Another deer!  And another!  Four in total.  One just stood there looking at us as she calmly chewed some leaves off a small tree.  We all just stood there watching them as they watched us.  Even Baker and Molly stopped in their tracks and watched, stunned. 

That is, until Molly realized they were other animals.  Other animals trespassing on her territory, looking at her family in a menacing way.  She went nuts.  Nuts in a way only beagles can go nuts.  She barked.  She bayed.  She pulled at her leash like she was on fire.  The deer looked at each other as they realized they weren’t welcome here and slowly ambled away. 

Ainsley begged and pleaded to follow them and she did.  She followed them across the river and through the woods.  She went so far that Maeve and I had to both yell together for her to hear and get her to come back for dinner, where we learned the names of the deer and where they lived.  We also, obviously talked about communication tools so that I could check-in with her periodically and tell her when to come home.  Walkie talkie?  Cell phone?  Cow bell?  Strangely enough the cow bell seemed to be the most popular option.

The other topic of dinner conversation:  forts.  Or tee pees.  Structures for playing in the woods.  Ainsley wants one to be built of wood next to a tree.  She wants a ladder and another level higher up in the tree.  Ainsley is an ambitious girl and her project will require more planning and effort.  Maeve, on the other hand, is a do-it-now girl and got going on her tee pee after supper.  Amazingly, she got pretty far.  Tomorrow she wants twine and a tarp to complete the look and off to True Value we will go.

Wine on the porch.  Deer in the yard.  Supper at our table.  Tee pee building.  Chaos all around us.  Pure bliss.


9 Responses to “Oh deer.”

  1. Terri Hildebrandt June 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Nature Conservationist here. I have lived on MI for 22 years and feel blessed that the deer have returned.

    Lets us give thanks for the gifts we continue to receive from the natural world. Let us make space for and find tolerance to embrace what is spectacular and beautiful. Can we not consider the limited deer population on MI as an important part of the natural scene. The Native American Sioux people said of the deer:
    “Whoever considers themselves beautiful after seeing me has no heart.”

    We, the human animal have taken more than our share. Our footprint has left a scar on our habitat, we have consumed more than what we have needed and we have been wasteful.

    Let appreciate with a child’s heart the wonder of our natural world.

    • Brandy June 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      I agree completely. It’s wonderful for kids to be able to be kids and find fascination in the animals instead of in Spongebob! Thanks for the comments!

  2. Ida June 3, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    We have deer wander through our yard most days. They eat my lilys if they are in the mood, snowball bush, roses (which you won’t mind), bergenia, even columbine…but still I love them.

    • Brandy June 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      I do too! It was really exciting. Making me think twice about a veggie garden. But we are too busy for one this year anyway!

  3. Kim June 3, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    (don’t forget to do a tick check. sorry to rain on the parade, but…)

  4. Kate June 3, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    We know those four deer! They often visit our yard, and they are the reason I have not planted a vegetable garden for the past two years. They have eyeballs the size of lacrosse balls, and they are scared by nothing.
    They also love to munch tulips, but not daffodils.
    Maeve might also consider making a sunflower or green bean tepee.

    • Brandy June 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      I was thinking they may inhibit my garden. I know that people around here see them as pests and I probably will soon too. But I couldn’t help being charmed.


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