Meeting Place

I have taken photos of deer in our area several times before. I have even documented not too long ago, about my “pet deer” who have hang around in my yard for a whole season (see previous post here).

Now that the winter is over, I have more sightings of them again. They are in my lawn to feed….


They come here to rest………


And then one morning, coming back from the gym, I saw that they even use my yard as their meeting place.


How many deer can you see?

(*all photos taken in a span of a week last month)

Ugly Topiary

(topiary |ˈtōpēˌerē|: the art or practice of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes.)

It’s officially spring time here, and its time once again to tend the yard and the garden. I have posted before that my wife love topiaries and we have them both inside and outside of our home (see previous post here).

However in our backyard is a line of evergreens that looked like hideously clipped topiaries. Don’t we have the artistic skill to trim them?


However, we are not the one who trim these disfigured shrubs. We’re not thinking our neighbors are vandalizing our plants either, causing this unusual design. In fact, these evergreens are not even intended to be topiaries at all.


Who’s responsible for this art work then? A drunk Edward Scissorhands?

No, it’s the pesky deer!


During winter, when the grass and food is scarce, these evergreen could be a gourmet meal for them. They nibble on what they can reach, leaving the top untouched.


Good thing we don’t have roaming giraffes!

(*photos taken with an iPhone)



Oh My Deer

I thought deer usually roam all their life, like pilgrims or wayfarers that don’t stay in one place. But that is not the case. They can stay in one area for an extended period of time, as long as they have food and they deemed that the area they are in is safe. And I have photos that chronicles this.

It started one morning last summer, when I opened the garage door as I was about to go to work, I saw this deer standing in my lawn near our driveway basketball hoop. She just stood there as our eyes met, as if she’s saying “hello there!” Or maybe it was that deer-in-the-headlight look.


I tried not to scare her, though she ran away as soon as my car pulled out of the driveway. However few days later, I saw her again and this time she brought her family along. There’s three of them.


Since then, like a regular visitor, she comes and greets me.


Her fawn also plays fearlessly in our front lawn.


All summer I spotted them in my yard, all three of them. They are a regular fixture at my place.


Summer turned into fall, but they remained. I even saw them resting comfortably in my yard. You may even think they are decorative statues in the lawn.



Then the cold air came, the leaves have all fallen to the ground, and the grass have turned brown. My sightings of them became few and far between. But they hang around, all three of them.


Finally winter arrived, the arctic wind blew, and the snow fell. For a long time I have not seen them. Days passed. Weeks passed. Two months passed. And there’s no sign of them.

Maybe I was just not going out of the house that much anymore as it is too cold, so I have not spotted them. Though I see tracks in the snow. Or maybe they really have moved away to find food and relocated to a safer haven for this harsh winter. Did they give their final goodbye?

But this morning, they came!


All three of them still. Perhaps telling me, that they’re here to stay. At least for now.

(*all photos taken with an iPhone)

Deer Run

I went out for a run in our neighborhood this morning. It was a beautiful summer day.


As usual, I spotted many deer along the way. But unlike before, where they were too fast and scurried away before I get close, this time they seem to stand still and let me take their photo.



There’s even two in one shot.

IMG_5206Also a mother and her fawn.


Even the rabbits were not bounding away, as I was approaching.



I even stopped to smell the flowers.


Or maybe taking photos was just my excuse to stop and take a breather, in completing my 5-mile run.

And here’s one deer that even crossed my path. I was able to capture it in action.


Just like the slogan of John Deere: nothing runs like a deer. Have a good day!

(*photos taken with an iPhone)


Noong isang umaga, habang ako’y tumatakbo sa aming lugar, ay napadpad ang aking isipan sa lugar na aking kinalakihan. Ang aming kalye ay masikip at ang mga bahay ay dikit-dikit.

Ito ang kalye kung saan ako nanggaling, at ito ang dati naming mga kapitbahay sa Sampaloc, Manila. IMG_1598_3 Hindi lang mga batang paslit ang laman ng kalye kundi may mga lalaboy-laboy na hayop din sa dating naming lugar.

Ito ay mga askal (asong kalye). Kapag sinamang-palad, nagiging pulutan sila ng mga nag-iinuman doon sa kanto. IMG_1595_2 Ngunit iba na ang mundong ginagalawan ko ngayon. Layu-layo ang mga bahay at malalawak ang mga bakuran at bakanteng lupa.

Ito ang isa sa aming kapit-bahay, isang barnhouse, na nasa gawing likod ng aming tahanan dito sa Iowa. IMG_3606 Ito naman ngayon ang mga lalaboy-laboy na usa (deer) sa aming lugar ngayon. Maaring sabihin na mas masarap na pulutan ito kaysa “asosena.” IMG_3642 Kahit paano ay nami-miss ko pa rin ang dati naming lugar at mga kapit-bahay. Maliban sa mga maiingay na lasing doon sa kanto.

(*photos taken with an iPhone)

Our Family Tree

This post has nothing to do with genealogy or my family’s ancestry. It is about a real tree.

Four years ago, we planted an apple tree in our backyard. It is a 5-in-1 tree. That means it has 5 varieties of apples – Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Jonathan and Golden Delicious – all grafted into one tree.

Here is a photo right after we planted it. My wife was lovingly trimming it and placing rich soil, fertilizer, and mulch around it.


Due to the many wandering deer in our area, we have to put a fence around our young tree to prevent it from being dinner (or breakfast) for hungry animals. They eat twigs, leaves, and all, not just the flowers or fruits.

Below is a picture when I was putting up a fence around it.


On its second year, it only produced a couple of fruits. They were small, and we did not even had the chance to taste it as they fell to ground before we can even pick them.

After three years it grew much taller that we felt we can liberate it from its protective barrier, so we took out the fence. It also bore more fruits, and this time we were able to taste the produce of our family tree.


Above is a photo of our tree last year. Note that the lower branches were bare, as deer nibbled on them. My son was trying to pick the apples, but it was beyond his reach.

Too high? No problem. He used a ladder!


We were able to picked 5 or 6 apples last year. Not bad at all.

This year our tree really blossomed. Here it is this last spring, full of flowers and full of promise of a bounty harvest.


We had so many budding fruits this early summer that we have counted more than 100 apples.

As summer turned into fall, which is the time for picking, we were unable to harvest them all. Some fell before we can get them. And some simply disappeared. There must be some mysterious apple thieves in our neighborhood, or maybe it was the pesky deer.

Yet there were still plenty of apples left to go around. Here are red apples of the Gala variety in one branch.


Here are the green apples of the Granny Smith variety in another branch.


You can notice that due to its many fruits, the weight of the apples made the branches of our tree stoop low. Thus, making it more reachable for us. And that is so true in life – the more fruitful one gets, the more giving it becomes.

Here’s my daughter picking an apple, way within reach.


We are looking forward to several more fruitful years from our family tree. We are hoping that in the coming years, we would be able to taste all the five varieties of apples from our tree.


I know, this tree will outlive me provided that it is nurtured and cared for. Maybe my children or my children’s children will enjoy its fruits even after I am gone, if they choose to stay in this house. And even if we move out of here, still somebody else will benefit from it. Not a bad legacy, I would say.

Or if tomorrow, our family tree will get bulldozed by a rampaging buck or chopped down by a deranged axman, at least I already immortalized it in the world of blogosphere.