Friday, July 26, 2013

I Fought the Lawn and the Fawn Won

Mowing is a chore I dare not procrastinate in doing. If I don’t mow every seven days then by the eight day the Bahia grass in my yard will be knee high and as thick as thieves in Congress.  This stuff sprouts a stalk that splits at the top where the seeds come out and once it tassels out it is as tough as wire to cut with a mower.  No, on the seventh day, and preferably on the sixth, mow I must and today is the sixth day. The next time I mow it will be August which is the last month this year for weekly mowing.

It has rained nearly every day this month and it has rained very hard several days this month. July is the wettest month of the year in South Georgia and it is historically the hottest. It’s been too cloudy to have the killer heat but the grass keep growing without it. I drag out of bed late, eat breakfast late, and by the time the espresso kicks in, it’s already past nine in the morning. That is super late for me to get started on anything, really.

I mow a tiny section of my neighbor’s property because if I don’t mow it with my mower he will mow it with his tractor. The tractor tears the driveway up and I rather just go ahead and mow it. I also push the mower down the driveway a bit just to keep the grass from taking over too much and it makes things look nicer. The driveway borders the pond, which is usually dry but isn’t this year. Earlier in the day I was discussing the Alligator population and these thoughts are still lingering when movement in the corner of my eye lets me know something is moving near the pond.

There isn’t a reason not to bail. If it is harmless I’m out nothing and if it’s a gator I best be moving. Hell, the possibility of a gator attack is so low I wouldn’t recommend anything to prevent it, except don’t swim after dark. But something just moved in my periphery and I am going to find out what it is from a distance.

Whatever it is has gotten into the water and left really large ripples, small waves actually, and so it might be a large gator after all. I leave the mower running and start trying to get a closer look. The brush is heavy as hell but there! Something is there! It’s brown and it’s a mammal and oh wow! It’s a fawn! A doe has left her fawn at the edge of the pond and me mowing has spooked it.

My phone is in the house, by the way, so no photos or film.

But the fawn feels trapped. It’s panicked and tries to go out into the pond so I back off and head east. I want to herd the fawn to the west so it can get into the woods. As planned, the noise of the mower to the north and the approach of a human from the east drives the fawn west towards the woods and where mom is likely fretting away at all the commotion.  The fawn crashes into my neighbor’s fence twice , stumbles and falls to the ground. Damn. The fawn just lies there and I am hoping it doesn’t have a broken leg and I am hoping the mutts haven’t spotted it.

I try not to say it but each time something happens that involves the dogs the contrast is there; Bert would have never let a wild animal get that close to the house without hammering it with a bark and going crazy. The dogs totally miss the antics of the fawn. Moreover, it says a lot about how safe the doe feels hiding the fawn within fifty feet of the house. Clearly, she feels like the dogs help her more than they are likely to hurt the fawn.

Before I fenced off the back acre and before Bert and Sam aged I watched as a herd of deer crossed the back acre on the way to the pond. They didn’t seem to care that the dogs were there and when the deer were coming back, I watched as Bert raised his head to look at the deer, and then went back to sleep. I opened the door to take some photos of the deer and suddenly the dogs were both “BARK! BARK! BARK!” at the deer as if they just noticed them.


So it isn’t like I expect the dogs to go wild every time a deer shows up, which isn’t rare, but I would like some sign they know there is something on the property.  The fawn rests for a moment then it gets up and gallops along the fenceline and into the woods. Mom shows up and they disappear.

Fawns are such pretty creatures.  If this one would have broken a leg I have no idea what I would have done but there’s no way I would let it get back into the woods. I can see me trying to get a fawn into my truck. I can see me trying to keep on until its leg healed. None of these images look like a happy ending in the making.

Back and forth, back and forth, around and around, the same old path for the same old chore; I’ve changed the pattern a few times but this one is the quickest. Once a week since May means I’ve done this at least ten times this year and I will likely do it four times in August, three times in September, and once in October.  Eight more times around the yard as if it were some religious ritual.  I tried not mowing before but the yard gets so bushy the dogs begin to get more ticks so…

The sky clouds up as I put the mower away. It will rain again today and maybe again tomorrow.  But today I got to see a fawn and helped it own its merry way. I wonder if mom will put it back near the house again. I’ll have my phone ready next time.

Take Care,



  1. awwww....sweet slice of life piece...glad the fawn didn't break a leg and that all is well in your part of this land of ours :) cheers,gayle

    1. Thanks, Gayle. I have no idea what I would have done with a crippled fawn.

      But it would have been something to write about.

  2. For guaranteed early warning you need a little dog, one of those yappers that goes off at every flea fart.

    1. The life expectancy of a small mammal here can be measured in seconds. Nothing small and loud is going to survive the woods.