Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mystery Solved!

I typically don't make two blog posts in the same week, but this experience was too good to pass up.  I have been having some critter raid my bird feeders in the back yard.  I didn't think it was a squirrel or raccoon because I have a baffle that prevents them from climbing the pole.  And whatever is doing the raiding usually does it when I'm not home.  I come home to see my feeders pushed off the pole and opened up for a tasty meal.  It's been a puzzle...until today.

I was sitting in my living room, which has sliders facing out towards the backyard and woods.  As I sat there watching the Tigers play their second to the last spring training game, I saw three deer approach my fence.  I thought to myself, are these my bird feed raiders, and before I could say indeed they are, two of them jumped into my back yard.  The snow is so deep on both sides of the fence that it wasn't much of a challenge for them to jump in or jump out.  Here, this deer scours through the snow beneath my feeders for seed droppings.  I have noticed a deep depression in that area and wondered how that had happened.  Now I know.

As I sat there in awe with what I was witnessing,  I remembered I needed to get to my camera.  I always have a second camera set up on a tripod in my study for opportunities like this.  These two are roaming the backyard like they've been here before.  

This deer comes to munch on my holiday garland, but doesn't linger there long as she quickly learns it's plastic.

I think I've been spotted, which isn't hard to believe since my mini-Goldendoodle puppy Gracie has been barking at the top of her lungs at these interesting critters.  I need to teach her not to bark at the deer, like I've taught Oakley. 

The deer comes closer to see what the racket is about, while the other deer jumps the fence on the other side of the house.

The two deer continue to watch me and the one outside the fence meanders off while the one inside the fence jumps the fence again to follow in the other one's tracks.  It's been a long hard winter in the north woods and it doesn't take much to bring on a little excitement.  :-)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Leelanau Orchards in Snow

Last week when I was out photographing trees, I couldn't help but notice the trees in our orchards.  Instead of including them with last week's images, I decided to give them a blog post all their own.  After all, if there is one thing that defines Leelanau, it's our orchards.

I found great variety among the trees in the orchards.  Some are young, delicate, and fragile.

Others, thick and knobby, show their age.

But what I enjoy most about orchards in the winter is the stark contrast they make against the white snow.

The shadows they cast on sunny days delight me.  Can spring be far off?

The symmetry of the orchards create patterns that go on and on over the hills of Leelanau.

These orchard vistas remind me of the importance of fruit farming in our beautiful county.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Down to the Bones

It was one of those blue sky afternoons, so welcome after months of gray days.  The temperature hovered around zero making it too cold for the photographer and her cameras to be outside for long.  But I knew if I shot from the car, it probably would keep my cameras and lenses warm enough.  So I packed the car with my gear, loaded my old Golden Retriever Oakley into the back, and my new puppy Gracie in the front in her crate.  I told them we were going on adventure.  Before I left my neighborhood, they were both asleep.  

As I turned towards the Lighthouse, I was wondering what my subject for the day would be. But then I passed the s-curve with all the red barns and outbuildings, and saw a stately old tree gracing the roadside.  I knew what I'd be shooting that day.  Trees.  Without leaves.  Down to the Bones.

There was a time in my life when I'd feel sad after the leaves fell.  Perhaps the sadness was a sign of dread for the gray skies and cold weather coming, along with the nearly monochromatic tones of winter.  But I've learned to really enjoy the winter months, especially the trees down to their bones. 

I'm fascinated with the variety I see in these skeleton shapes.  Some are strong and sturdy, others delicate and fragile.  Some root to the soil singly, others grow in clumps or rows so long they appear to run together. 

While the variety of tree shapes is obvious, I hadn't really focused on that until I drove around and looked at them with intentionality.  Our world is diverse in so many ways and on my blue sky cold afternoon outing, I could really see that in the trees that I enjoyed and photographed. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Deer Haven

I continue to have deer visit my land.  Because it's been such an extreme winter, I've had to move my deer haven to the other side of my house, where I can get to it more easily through the deep snow.  The new site isn't as conducive to photography, but taking the screen off my bathroom window has allowed me to capture more images.

On one of those wonderful sunny afternoons this past week, I happened to look out my window and I had eleven deer...all at once.  I know that's a record!  Unfortunately, because of the narrowness of my window, I couldn't capture the whole group together.  The deer were engaged in a variety of behaviors.

Many were eating from the three feed blocks that I have provided for "their" yard.  With the weather having been so severe this winter, they are always hungry.

Some watched from afar, perhaps waiting for their turn at the feeders or not secure where they stood in the pecking order.

Others were lying down in the snow, catching an afternoon snooze.

Bathing in the sunshine, nearly asleep, I'm guessing this deer was grateful for the warmth of the sun...even if the temperatures only hovered around zero.

Whether watching from afar, resting in the sunshine, or eating, these deer provided me with abundant joy as I spent the afternoon enjoying the gift of their presence.