Over the weekend, Damon came over with the tractor and plowed out the latest collection of snow on our driveway. He moved it far enough off the rock it would take a few more hours to drift full when the next snow arrives.
In a couple of places, he also took off across the lawn and down into the hayfield, exposing the grass below. Within minutes, song birds appeared, pecking around in the newly exposed grass. By that evening, deer from everywhere had congregated on the plowed areas, enjoying the open areas.
From my home office, I can see the island near the opposite side of the lake. It is a small island but adds a point of interest at times.
In the spring, flowers we have planted bloom and one of the trees on the island is a flowering pear. The pear tree adds color through the seasons and blooms while a goose nests nearby.
During the winter, it is usually barren and appears to be lifeless. Last week, when the temperatures were so brutally cold, I looked out to see the island bustling with activity.
Several of the local deer made their way across the ice and were plowing down through the snow to get to the vegetation growing there. Since nothing had been out there, an abundance of grass, weeds, and brush lay just under the thick crust of snow and ice.
Though the horses have plenty of hay to eat, they prefer the grass sealed under a foot of snow. They spend a large part of the day pawing the snow off and eating the grass that lies below.
Some of this grass is still green. When the horses move to a new spot, the deer move in to eat the grass the horses missed.
The deer will expand the area opened by the horses and enjoy the grass. This leaves snow free patches around the pasture that can later be used by the deer for bedding areas.
Yesterday, while working at my desk, I noticed something large and dark in one of these scraped areas. It was too dark in color to be a deer and seemed too big to be a turkey.
The first thing to come to mind was it was a bear, but we do not have bears around here. I finally got the spotting scope to check it out. It indeed was a turkey, just much larger than I am accustomed to seeing.
The big gobbler was scratching around, picking grass and probably trying to dig insects out of the frozen ground. When he stood up, his beard touched the ground. He must be about as old as turkeys get.
He will be the one I go after during turkey season in a couple of months. I just hope he does not die of old age before then. The meat will be too tough to eat, but he will be a nice trophy.
He may also be old and wise enough to not fall for the usual hunting techniques. He did not get that old by being stupid.
With us helping the wildlife and the animals helping each other, we will survive the winter. It has to end sometime, and by August, we will be complaining about the heat and dealing with a whole different set of problems.