understood her assignment

Lots to cover today on the nature channel. Let’s get to it.

We have Columbia black-tailed deer on our island. In an effort to help you increase your knowledge about Columbia black-tailed deer, I thought I would share with you the very little bit I know about their antlers.

Only the males grow antlers and they shed them every year. The antlers are reputedly the fastest growing tissue know to man. Beginning in the spring, they can take as long as four months, growing up to 1/2 inch per day to reach full size.

Over the summer the antlers are covered with a soft hair, likened to velvet, which the deer then rub off in the fall using trees to help them. They seem to especially like my dogwood and apple trees so I have wire caging around the younger trees to protect them.

The healthy male retains his antlers throughout breeding season. The females prefer bucks with large heavy antlers, indicating good health. A six point buck is likely around 2 years old. The bucks use their antlers to not only impress the women folk but also to intimidate or fend off the competition. E and I have in fact found skid marks on our driveway which indicated an obvious battle had taken place there over night.

Bucks tend to hang around with other bucks, when not canoodling, and have nothing to do with raising the young. The females tend to all hang out together, led by the eldest mother. The young males will stay with their moms until they are about 18 months old. Antler shedding happens between December and March and then the whole process begins again when the hormones are activated with the sunlight of the spring.

It has been cold and miserable lately and there is no work happening around here. We are plowing through British crime dramas on the TV while we try to stay warm by the fire. I have a new-found, yet understandable, issue with leaving the woodstove burning while we are asleep, so we are typically waking up to a house temperature of about 13 degrees. It is nothing another sweater and a few blankets can’t fix, if it helps me sleep better. The house really warms up quickly if E makes a wee batch of scones for breakfast.

How I see the garden in my mind is very different from how it looks these days.

The water situation in the storage tanks is good but not great. Although cold out, it really hasn’t rained very much. Time is running out to fill them before pollen season but, honestly, it would only take a couple of days of really good rain to see us topped up for the summer. We are currently sitting at 5500 gallons with 2700 to go.

The cormorants do this all the time and I have seen the eagle do it once, after a swim on a sunny day, but this is unusual behavior for him during a snow storm. He looks kind of angry.

We tasked the dogs to help us find deer antlers for a project which our soon to be official, but already doing the job, daughter-in-law is working on. Our wee girl Shanty found five of them this month. She definitely

understood her assignment

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