poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘white-tailed deer

end of winter

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Although I love winter, it is so heartening to see all of nature enjoying the melting snowpack and the return of warmer days …


As bits of fields reveal themselves, the white-tailed deer are out and about, feeding on young sprouts and the left-overs of last year’s harvest …



The deer are not timid at all, but if the camera makes that whirring sound (remember The Lost World: Jurassic Park?) they are off in a flash, white tails lifted …



Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

April 7, 2017 at 7:09 am

Who ate the sunflower seeds???

with 7 comments

First week of spring! Cold and snowy!




I woke this morning to find my newly-filled sunflower seed feeders all empty. Three pine siskins and a goldfinch were clinging to the finch seed feeder but the other birds are out of seed. A look at the yard will tell you who was slurping up the sunflower seeds in the night!








Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

March 22, 2016 at 9:32 am

dear deer

with 6 comments

This year, I moved our feeders to our front yard.

They are not so easy to see from the house, although I have a good view from the window of our library.

feeders in front yard

The deer have liked the new feeding station.  We see them almost every day.  They empty the feeder too quickly and also visit the compost pile.  We don’t deliberately feed the deer, but they visit the feeders anyway.

deer in yard


deep and delicate,  hoof print

evidence, this space is shared


deer, eat peelings by moonlight

one floor up, we sleep, unaware


lulled by winter carbs

carrots and potatoes in the supper stew


deer pauses to look back

Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

January 21, 2013 at 7:17 am

Mountain Road adventure

with 8 comments

Last week, we decided to take a drive along Mountain Road.  This is a trail extending from Mazerolle Settlement outside Fredericton, New Brunswick to Newmarket, near Harvey Station.  We used to take it regularly when my husband and I first knew one another, over 30 years ago.  In those days, it was a narrow road built along the side of Porcupine Mountain.  It was overhung with hardwoods and crossed the upper part of the Woolastook Game Refuge.  We decided it would make a good drive on an October afternoon.

The drive started with a sighting of White-tailed Deer near the road entrance.

Then we stopped briefly at an inlet of the St. John River, to watch a Blue Heron take off and circle the cove.

Although there are a few houses along the first part of the road, the area is generally uninhabited and the woods on either side of the road were still natural.  The trees were beautiful – oak, maple and beech were all in various autumn hues.

It has rained recently, and as we went further along the road, its deteriorated condition became evident.  Culverts were heaved at several points and we had to take our time as the waterholes in the road became deeper and deeper.

Although the road bed was generally solid, we could feel the tires slipping sideways in a couple of the puddles.

At last, unable to see through the muddy water, and wondering if there were any big rocks lurking there, ready to hang us up, my husband decided to turn back.  It was foolish to proceed with summer tires and no winch to help us if we did get stuck.  In the old days, we would have pressed on, willing to walk to the nearest main road, but arthritis interferes with foolish bravado!

Later, we’ll try the road from the other end.  Perhaps we were through the worst, and pavement was just beyond the next big puddle.

Copyright Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

October 15, 2012 at 7:12 am

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina L.)

with 11 comments

One of the berry bushes common in our area is Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina L.).  Its leaves and berries turn brilliant red in autumn, and its berries are displayed in distinctive red ‘horns’.

Staghorn Sumac  is a small tree or shrub found at forest edges and in wastelands.   The shrub has a flat crown and an umbrella-like canopy. It has pinnately compound leaves and toothed leaflets.

Staghorn Sumac is a ‘pioneer’ species, often one of the first plants to invade an area after the soil is disturbed.  Although it reproduces by seed, it also grows from its vigorous underground root system, and forms dense colonies with the oldest trees at the centre.  In this way, it causes dense shade to out-compete other plants.

The flowers of Staghorn Sumac are greenish-yellow and occur in spiked panicles from May to July.  The berries are velvety, hairy red drupes, and ripen in June to September, often persisting through winter.  The berries are held in dense clusters or spikes at the ends of tree branches.

Staghorn Sumac is also called Velvet Sumac, or Vinegar-tree, and Vinaigrier in Quebec.

The common name of Staghorn sumac is derived from the velvet feel of its bark, reminiscent of the texture of deer antlers.  The word sumac comes from the words for red in Latin (sumach) and Arabic (summāq).  The specific name ‘typhina’ means ‘like Typha’ (cat-tail), a reference to its velvety branches.

The Staghorn Sumac provides food for birds including Evening Grosbeaks and Mourning Doves, and its twigs are eaten by White-tailed Deer.

It has many human uses, including for medicine, decoration, tanning and dyes.  Staghorn Sumac berries are used to make a lemon-flavored ‘sumac-ade’ or ‘rhus juice’.  Remember, before you consume any wild plant, be certain of your identification.


Sumac lemonade

Pick and clean the berries (removing them from the stem)

Soak berries in cool water

Rub the berries to extract the juice


Add sugar to taste



Staghorn Sumac

                   Rhus typhina L.


from a single stem

and subterranean creep

a crowd of sumac


umbrellas unfurl

roof by roof

shield the hillside

from ministrations of sky


shadowed ways beneath

to shelter and imitate

a gathering of deer

with velvet antlers lift


an occidental village

red spires like minarets

insist on sky



1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.
©  Jane Tims  2012

eight days – antler

with 12 comments

During my trip to Ontario, we spent lots of time, on cold days, enjoying the wood stove. 

On the hearth was a deer antler, found on a walk in the woods.  Usually they are hard to find since the mice chew them to nothing very quickly. 

I was drawn to the antler because of its resemblance to a bony hand.





ivory hand, posed

for incantation, shadows in unexpected places

relic of a woodland walk, artefact

enchanted, deer rub

cedar bark to summon

mist, acknowledge the passage

of days, manifest between


and the gnawing of mice



© Jane Tims 2012


Written by jane tims

February 1, 2012 at 6:33 am

at the bird feeder #3

with 6 comments

I am amazed at the volume of seeds these little visitors eat.

The deer, racoons and squirrels take their unfair share, of course.  Last year, I watched a deer attack the feeder with its tongue, scooping up every bit of seed in a matter of minutes.  Even without the deer and racoons and squirrels, the birds descend in a flock and the food is soon reduced to a scattering of seed-husks.

We have come to a conclusion – next year we will put up a mammal-proof feeder.  My brother-in-law has it figured out.  He has installed a large cedar post in an open area and encased it in aluminum pipe and flashing. Enough seed falls on the ground to give a treat to the squirrels and other marauders, and the birds are the focus of the money-drain.



feeding the birds


I wait, no patience to speak of

for the next bird to find


this food more delicious than seed offered

by my neighbour, swears


he had cardinals, mine the left-over

chickadees and nuthatches, flocks of redpoll


litter the feeder, red-dotted heads, their toes

grip courtesy branches, a perch


impossible to find, after the freezing rain, branches

encased in slip-and-slide, candy-coated nutrition


won by complication, every kernel harder than stone

seed in a casing of black, sunflower


and pencil draw the finches, grosbeaks smash seed-coats

with deliberate jaws, shards of sunflower husk and ice-coat


fall as rubble



©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

January 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

tracks in the snow

with 6 comments

On Tuesday I went for a walk in the grey woods.  Snow fell just before Christmas, so my walk turned into a quest to see who else had been walking (or running) in the woods. 

I found many tracks, large and small.  Mice had made their cylindrical tunnels, and occasionally had run across the surface.  At some places, you can see where their tunnels suddenly go subterranean…

Sometimes several paths converge at a sheltered area beneath a fallen log, like a woodland bus terminal…

There were lots of squirrel tracks, often ending at the base of a tree where their paths move into the treetops…  

Squirrel tracks crisscrossed with those of deer… 

I followed the trail of two deer deep into the woods, thinking they were long gone since the tracks were filled with a slight dusting of snow…

This made me a little careless, and the next thing I heard was a high-pitched snort and squeal of warning and the bounding of hooves through the woods.   I got a good look at two beautiful deer, but the camera was not ready.  I did capture the very fresh track of one of the retreating deer.



tracks in the snow


ephemeral proof

I follow the beacon

of a stash of spruce cones

stock-piled at the base

of a crooked tree

careen from a foe

slip beneath a log

dive into a hole

secret hollow 

a pause to still

thud thud of my heart



©  Jane Tims   2011


Written by jane tims

December 30, 2011 at 8:36 am

feeding the neighborhood

with 7 comments

I have started up the bird feeder and already the mammals are nudging out the birds. 

Our first visitor to the feeder was a fat grey squirrel who performed some amusing acrobatics to enjoy ‘his’ sunflower seeds.

This year, I think I’ll keep a list of the marauders, who may outnumber the birds.


apples in the snow

she pauses, one foot poised

a lever beneath her, one hoof ready

to push off and fly

tail to flag her departure

tucked, ears up


everything still

the snow, the trees, the feeder

not caught in chickadee momentum, land

and shove away  


three  apples

at the edge of deep-freeze

draw her forward


©  Jane Tims  2011

Written by jane tims

December 19, 2011 at 6:29 am

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