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FullSizeRenderMy backyard is relatively unused.  During our first few years as homeowners I have used the backyard a few dozen times.  Most of the time those were spent on our small 8×10 slab where my smoker/grill is parked.

The grassy well-irrigated lawn does not have my foot prints on it much.  Occasionally, I have ventured out there to play around with archery.  But, the range is limited to 20 yards so it is not really adequate to that hobby.

Our gardeners use the yard much more than we do.  Their use is limited to cutting the grass.  Twice we have had them clear out and straighten up our flower beds.

Aesthetic values are first for our yard.  We like looking at it from inside of our house.  Everything is neat, attractive and pleasing to the eye.

Now, make no mistake, I can imagine a more useful backyard. Move us into the country and take down the wall and fencing and we have a positive improvement.  Back up our property line to a massive forest or thousands of acres of undeveloped woods.

Make sure that there are plenty of Oak trees scattered about that will drop innumerable acorns and give the flocks of turkey a place to roost for the night.  Allow for groves of low hanging bushes so that the deer have a place to call home.  Lease enough acres for gentlemen farmers to plant crops that give pheasants good habitat.

Make sure that there are enough ponds scattered to attract waterfowl, sustain several species of warm water fish and give the beavers challenges to build their dams.  Once the dams are built and the lush water grasses flourish, maybe moose will filter into the region.  Allow a few deep ravines to carve out a place for elk to roam.

This is a backyard to thoroughly enjoy.  God’s creation at its best is just outside of my porch will give decades of entertainment.  Living off of the land will not just be a hobby but a choice of life.

On a brisk Autumn day, I could see bundling up, rocking on a chair with a cup of hot cocoa in one hand.  Movement catches my eye.  Slowly, I bring up my binoculars to my line of sight.

A herd of deer are grazing through the woods.  The dominant doe is alert.  Behind the herd is a massive buck looking for love.  I smile and my dream breaks off because it is time to go to work.

photo credit: brucefong photography

Copy of IMG_4502Along the unimproved roads of the Vedauwoo National Forest are long stretches of boundary fences.  They are hewn from the local trees by skillful lumberjacks.  These boundaries are not elaborate but instead they are simple in design yet sturdy and durability.  Over the years they withstand the brutal weather of the Wyoming wilderness.

These territory markers captivate the eye.  I am drawn to follow their endless lengths  that disappear into the woods.  The forest swallows them up.

Tall grasses lick the lower rails.  Foliage from bushes, trees and weeds crowd the guardians of property lines.  Yet, with little maintenance these consistent fences just keep on existing, marking off territories and keeping mostly humans from trespassing.

There is a test from the wilds of the backwoods.  Can these man-made structures hinder the wildlife and make the existence of the wilderness fauna feel unwanted stress?  Will human intrusion strain the wanderings of the beasts of the field?IMG_4571

The prairie goat, Pronghorn Antelope, saunter up to these fences.  A herd of these goats then slip underneath them without hesitation.  They seem to big to manage this maneuver but having witnessed it many times I am a believer.

Deer hardly blink at these obstacles of split timbers.  They can leap over them from a standing position.  When God made these graceful creatures, He knew that a jumping ability as well as eyesight, olfactory sensory perception and speed were great assets to them.

Elk for massive and powerful creatures.  A fence like these can be jumped over or smashed.  They are creatures of determination and know where the bypass areas are.

IMG_4570Small animals like rabbits, badgers, squirrels or chipmunks use the fences as a hiding place or freeway or shady refuge.  None of these little creatures whine about any intrusion but instead accept them as part of the terrain.  Humans, who are created in the image of God, should be so flexible.

Time marches on and the weather beats against the wooden fences with every passing season.  Instead of wearing out the fences change color and sport a weathered look.  They actually look better and more fitting with the environment over time.

Man’s intrusion into the wilderness is not always bad.  They have been ordered by the Creator to exercise dominion over creation.  It is good and right when man enters the world of the woods and leaves a good trail of his visiting the wilderness.

photo credit: brucefong photography

 

IMG_3331It was time for a break.  Life has been full for weeks.  There have been long nights, longer days and no days off.

Nevertheless, I have also learned to pay attention to my inner voice telling me when it is necessary to recharge my batteries.  Providentially, I was invited to join a friend and head south.  We would hang out in the deserts of South Texas.

Many would scrunch up their face with the thought of retreating into the desert.  To the uninitiated the desolate world of brown and faded green might be more frustration than refreshment.  But, I have done this before and I have found such a journey like a fountain of revitalization.

I did not need an alarm clock.  Life’s burdens had been waking me up early, before the sun warmed the earth.  Donning my outdoors clothes I began my walk.

The sand was plentiful and gave way under my boots.  Each step found solid ground after the surface was compressed.  There would not be much speed on this stroll.

There was no reason to hurry.  An easy pace gave me the chance to absorb my amazing surroundings.  Life was popping up all around me.

A road runner scampered across the road that I was following.  Then, a pair of jackrabbits hopped into the middle of the road, stopped, looked at me, then leaped off into the scrub brush of the desert.

Doves in large flocks of 20 or 30 would flush and soar through the sky with blazing speed.  A covey of quail flushed and flew off to the West.  But, they had given themselves away with their chirping and bobwhite calls.

Something ahead on the road made me pause.  Holding very still, I focused on the unusual shapes on the road 400 yards ahead.  A trio of whitetail deer were staring back.

A dominant doe lowered her head.  Her big brown eyes never diverted away from me.  Then, she popped her head up trying to discover some movement to assess my threat level to her and her friends.

She stomped her front hoof.  Neither perspective, sound or time gave her reason to flee.  Then, she relaxed.

Between us a small herd of Javelinas walked out between us and began feeding on corn scattered on the road.  Their grunting and snorting was entertaining.  This is not a desolate wilderness but a land filled with life and variety if you pause to drink it in and refresh your soul.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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