Tuesday, October 28, 2014


My boss and I travel the same quiet, traffic free country road out to Cedar Key each day. The rural scenery offers lots of wildlife sightings, from bald eagles to alligator crossings.

A while back she asked me if I had seen the "Cow Deer" in the pastures of a large ranch that we pass each day.
At that time I had not, but I was usually ignoring the cows and scanning the wetland and trees for birds as I cruised past.

She had been watching a very young deer grow up as she commuted past over this year. What was different about this deer was the fact that it seemed to choose to hang with the herd of cows and horses in the open pastures of the ranch.

So, of course I started looking. 
Sure enough, on a regular basis, the yearling deer was spotted grazing, always in the security of the "herd".
The horses and cows seemed to accept the "Cow 
Deer" as one of their own ... no questions asked.

About two weeks ago, she asked if I had noticed the Cow Deer was actually a "Cow Buck" .

I had not. So I began looking more carefully and as luck would have it, did not see him for a week or so, but then yesterday ...
There he was, grazing among the cracker cows and the graceful (aren't they all?) horse.

Definitely a "Cow Buck".
I have no problem with deer hunting, but let's hope this youngster chooses to hang out with the cows and horses as long as possible ... until the irresistible pull of a sweet doe draws him into the woods ... or who knows, maybe there's room for a "Cow Doe" in that pasture.
That could open up all sorts of cowungulatory possibilities.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Fall is yellow here at PFHQ.
The swamp sunflowers grow slowly taller all summer long signaling, as they grow, the return to school and the fall. These are short ones in the photo.
 I've had them grow 12 feet tall in the garden soil.

Coreopsis blooms mostly down by the pond, but this lone wolf was living in the sandy, dry highlands in the back.

Some of the yellows signal the end of a long hot summer of rampant growth, like this wild muscadine leaf.
"I'm done here, hope you enjoyed the grapes..."

The Golden Orb Weavers, the big girls, are mostly gone or barely hanging on. Their personal yellows have faded, but the web still glows golden in the fall light.

The real yellow stars here at PFHQ are the Golden Asters, a native wildflower that grows thicker and with more blossoms than any plant nursery product I've planted here.
... and they do it in white, semi-sterile, almost beach sand.

Huge sprays and rampant clusters of these asters line the trail that Coquina, Bear, and I use multiple times a day.
We'll miss them when they are all done.
They are tall and therefore great to pee on if you are a dog, and as for me, I just enjoy the sight of them.
The Cow Lily, or Spatterdock that lives in the cattle trough garden pond has poked a bizarre yellow flower up into the air where the pollinators work.
No honey bees of course, but the natives are still here.
We natives hang on.
Only yellow for a short time, and already fading, this baby gopher tortoise was being nose snuffled like a scaly hockey puck by Bear and Coquina before I rescued it.
No harm done.
This yellow is more a sign of pleasant work done last spring than a sign of fall, but it is yellowish, it is fall, ... so it counts.
I held it just long enough to take a few photos and then ushered the tiny tortoise over to the welcoming dark safety of an active gopher burrow.

                   A little tap and this bit of yellow went dark.

That seems fitting, because as yellow Fall fades here in North Florida,  Blue-Purple Fall will take over.
I see signs of it along the roadsides and here at PFHQ.
Another story soon enough ...