Big Hill – Gratitude Rant #14

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I don’t think it’s any secret that I absolutely LOVE where we live.

When you drive up our mile-long gravel road, we’re the last house on your left, nestled at the foot of “Big Hill”. And honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful place to live and raise a family.

This morning during choretime, I was ripping open a couple bags of expired “Cinnamon Toasters” cereal for the pigs, and I happened to glance up towards Big Hill.

There silhouetted against the frosty morning sky stood a very nice 4-point buck. He was probably 300 to 350 yards away — far enough off that I wished I had my binoculars with me. Although at the same time, I definitely didn’t need any optics to see that he was big. Probably 24″ wide, for any of you hunters out there. And with November being “rutting” season, his neck was just as thick and swollen as could be.

Talk about majestic!

It’s kinda funny, though, how you never see bucks like that during the hunting season, but as soon as it’s over, they’ll stand around on the open hillside all day long!

In my younger days, I’d have gotten all bent out of shape, wishing for a crack at him during the hunting season — and yearning for a rifle in my hands. But today, that was the last thing on my mind. I was more than happy to just watch him at a distance.

Unfortunately, I don’t generally have a lot of spare time on my hands, especially in the mornings.

Public transit waits for no man, you know!

As much as I would’ve liked to just sit there and watch that buck all morning long, I had to keep moving…

I did glance up towards the hillside from time to time, though, as I went about my chores. And I noticed that the buck was slowly but deliberately making his way towards a particular grove of junipers.

While I was standing at the backyard hydrant, filling up a bucket with water for the pigs, I started scanning all around the vicinity, to see what he was after.

And there she was!

A beautiful little doe, playing coy in the sagebrush, all by her lonesome.

I watched, thoroughly absorbed in the love story unfolding before my eyes. The buck was getting closer and closer to his romantic interest. And she was milling around, obviously waiting for him to catch up.

I couldn’t help but smile.

But then my bucket got so full it started overflowing and splashing water all over my jacket…

That brought my attention back to the task at hand, and I hurriedly shut the hydrant off, carried the heavy bucket over to the pig-pen, and poured it into the trough.

I really wish I could have stayed and watched the hillside romance blossom, but, like I said before: I had places to be and a bus to catch!

I finished my chores and went about my busy day — and will probably never see that buck again. But I can honestly say without a doubt, that my day was much enriched by that little nature display.

And living next to Big Hill, we get to experience stuff like that all the time.

There are owls and ‘yotes serenading us almost every night. We have pheasants greeting us each morning with a cacophony of clucks, crows, and cackles. And it was just a couple days ago, while I was out grilling some pork chops on the back patio, that a big ol’ flock of swans flew trumpeting over our house.

It’s almost unusual to go a full day without seeing something breathtaking.

And of course, let’s not forget the deer, pheasants, partridges, and rabbits that regularly grace our dinner table. Most of them come from Big Hill, too.

No doubt about it, we get our fair share of wildlife around here — and I just can’t get enough!

Today, I’m grateful for Big Hill.

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