Monday, July 7, 2008

#02 Deer and Sideways Cardigan

There is a small herd of mule deer in the town where I live. Most times, they are unobtrusive. In fact, their appearances, while a nearly daily occurrence, are still rare enough to attract attention, especially from out-of-towners. I have taken many fuzzy photos of these deer--I can never get quite close enough. However, this year has been a little different, deer-wise.

For one thing, the hard, cold, snowy winter and the late spring kept the deer in town and made them ravenous. After jumping our fence all winter to eat the dried-up fruit under our crabapple tree, they greeted spring with glee, clipping my sprouting flower bed repeatedly and forcing me to postpone planting new flowers.
Last week, I decided the time had come to go to the greenhouse and buy plants. I bought lupine, daisies, and the lavender I'd been dreaming of since last fall. I planted them went to bed, happy with the day's work. Then the next morning, we looked out and saw this deer. That's right, inside our fenced yard. (You will recognize the little spruce tree from my shot of my latest sweater; that's how close she is.)
A deer, in our fenced yard, in daylight! K thought she might be sick, and kept telling me not to disturb her. When I left for my morning walk, the deer was still in the yard, but she had gotten up to have a long, cool drink from the birdbath and to munch a few of last year's crabapples. "Deer breakfast", I thought. I had checked to make sure my newly-planted flowers were intact before I left, but as I walked, fear hit me. I became increasingly concerned about the flowers, then about the deer, until the urge to "Go check on the deer." overwhelmed me. I curtailed my walk and headed back home, deciding to approach from the back alley to see if I could sneak up on the deer that way.
As I turned to walk down the alley, I came face to face with the deer. She had two tiny fawns beside her. I reversed immediately, then cut around the block to the house, got my camera, then rushed over to the alley, expecting she would still be there. How fast could she move with the fawns in tow?
She was just turning the corner onto the street when I got this one photo. I thought I could get another by paralleling her course a block away. Even though I jogged along for three blocks, trying to outdistance her and cut around in front, I never caught up. When I last saw her, she was trotting, with the fawns running full tilt to keep up. They were lagging behind a bit, but not too much. She wasn't running from me, but just trying to get out of town and away from all the people and cars. I figured she would go out to the hills and we wouldn't see her until the fawns lost their spots.
Then, the next morning she was back, absolutely the same deer, identifable by the notches in her right ear, in our yard, this time on the grass. K took a brief walk outside and immediately saw the fawns lying in the high weeds of the vacant lot outside our fence.

I didn't know I was running a maternity ward. It is a little hard to puzzle out. I suppose it was fawn nap-time. While she could hide the fawns in the foot-high weeds, she had to jump inside the fence to take a relatively safe rest. I noticed she kept cocking her ears in the direction of the fawns. Soon after we saw her (and she saw us), she was gone.

On the knitting front, I've lost steam on my Sideways Cardigan from the Summer '08 issue of Vogue Knitting. Swatching told me that size 7 needles with the Pakucho cotton would produce too small a gauge, so I used size 8. I wanted to make the medium/large size, but I knew I wouldn't have enough yarn. Now that I'm knitting the small on size 8s, I see that my gauge is now too large. The back measures the same as the medium size. I suppose it will fit ok. I just hope I don't run out of yarn. All I've done is the lower back. I'm not very motivated to start the upper back. I think I'll finish the two lower fronts before tackling the upper openwork for the shoulders. That's where most people have had problems. I'd hate to labor through that and then run out of yarn. This way, if I don't have enough of the sage color for the entire sweater, I'll knit the shoulders out of a contrasting or complementary color. I bought all 8 colors of Pakucho, so I'll have plenty of color combinations to choose among.


Wool Winder said...

It will be fun to see if the deer returns with her fawns again. I'm assuming the flowers are still intact. I hope so.

The cardigan is very pretty. Even if you run out of yarn, it sounds like you have a good Plan B.

vlb5757 said...

I love the pictures of the deer and her fawn. I think she just feels safe in your yard as long as you aren't getting too clsoe. We have had the raccoon family, the bunny family, the squirrel family and the rat family but never the deer family. If we see one here in the neighborhood, it's going to be on the 6 o'clock news! I so long to live in the country again. I want to hear birds and see the stars!

sydney said...

Those are great pictures! Maybe she just wants a bit of alone time. It sounds like she's grown fond of crabapples too. We have deer that come through our suburban neighbor hood now and then. So far they haven't jumped the fence into the backyard yet.

Marjorie said...

I hope your deer are less voracious than mine. I used to think they were cute, but it is impossible to grow many plants (I won't even bother with hostas), and I'll be spending as much to deerproof my garden as I will for seeds and equipment. The deer around here stroll out in the light of day and don't seem afraid of anything. Still, your pics are charming.

The knitting looks beautiful. I really like that pattern stitch.

Robin said...

I've never seen such little fawns. We have dear that come and eat our acorns. They love them! My parents have problems with them eating their flowers and got a deer sensor - works on motion and emits a very high-pitched sound. Seems to work. I love the photography - the terrain, the flowers, etc. of your area of the US.

Jenny Girl said...

My gosh, such close-up pictures! Sorry that they eat your plabts, but Iguess they must be really hungry this year, with the wonky seasons.
The yarn you are using really shows the stitches beautifully.