By Courtney Terry / Courtney’s Thumb
What an eventful month September was!! Labor Day weekend brought many undesired wildfires along with some gusty winds that fueled the fires. At my homestead we had a tree fall on a power line and block the driveway and start a fire. Luckily, a friend that lives in Ft. Stockton was leaving to head home and encountered the blocked road and the fire that had just began, the wind was blowing toward the west and the dilapidated old house was under no threat as long as the wind didn’t shift.
The Belott VFD arrived as our friend loaded all our horses and began rounding our dogs as my dad and brother made their way back to the house to assist in fire management. The fire jumped the road, crossed the creek and headed toward our neighbors hay meadow/front yard. That is where the flames lost their flicker and the careful monitoring by my father, brother and the fire department kept us and our neighbors’ property safely extinguished.
While all this was taking place in Houston County, I was 180 miles southwest in Colorado County. My fiancé and I commented on the fierceness of the wind that Sunday as we drove around looking at the lake and repairing the steps on the pier at the lake house-our home away from home.
My sweet honey always buys deer corn and a supplement block for the many herds of deer that roam Lake Sheridan Estates. It’s very much a safe haven for them; there is no hunting allowed or at least no firearms. We put the block out on Saturday evening and I filled a box with corn and here came the deer, rustling and tromping through the dried up leaves and grass.
I believe the final count before dark was 27. There were mostly does and fawns, some with spots, some with fading spots and some still trying to nurse their dry mommas. Three small spikes came out and one crazy doe with a collar and her tongue permanently out, flapping at the side of her mouth, no doubt due to some sort of accident. The deer were hungry, crossing the dry canal between us and our neighbors across the bank to join our herd in the feast.
I’ve noticed changes in our deer in East Texas as well as in our most southwestern East Texas. The deer are moving around more, looking for food and water, like most wildlife these days. It seems as though the deer are smaller, the fawns are small and not weaning or shedding their spots. The bucks’ horns are not as tall or as wide as in previous years.
Once the little cool front came through I started cleaning out my flower beds and gave up on my one lone soldier (tomato plant). I decided to plant a very small fall garden…two vegetables, nothing strenuous, cabbage and squash. During my cleaning of the beds I noticed my amaryllises were coming up again. The cold snap woke them I guess. So after planting my new garden, fertilizing and a good soaking from the hose, I knew I would be proud of my fall crops.
A few days later, I went to check on the progress of my seedlings, the little tender leaves of green were poking through the dirt (yay!), but I looked to my amaryllises and they were eaten to the bulb, no sign of green, no new life, nothing. I knew by the hoof prints who my culprits were: hungry deer. While I feel bad about their situations…Please don’t eat my cabbage and squash! Thanks!