Having spent the week researching what deer get up to in the autumn, Mr B and I decided to head out into our local area to see if we could find some. Autumn marks the ‘rutting season’ for most species of deer. Rutting involves stags bellowing, fighting and generally throwing their weight around in an attempt to impress the ladies, we figured if we were ever going to see this elusive beast, now would be the best time to do it.
Near our home in Exeter is Haldon Forest, a coniferous forest with lots of lovely walks. When travelling through the area we often see signs warning motorists of crossing deer so we thought it would be a good place to start. Haldon is home to fallow deer and roe deer, as well as a variety of birds and butterflies. Fallow deer are smaller than red deer and are usually recognisable by their spotted coats.
The walk started well under the watchful eye of a couple of Ents wearing very attractive knitted scarves and the helpful information boards told us that the sound of deer rutting was a definite sign of autumn. We kept our ears open but all we heard was the wind and the rain through the trees and the song of the birds.
We visited the Bird of Prey viewing point on the off-chance that the deer had gone there to see some of the beautiful raptors that live in the area, we found a glorious colourful view, some interesting fungi and a cheeky squirrel attempting to hide his acorns but sadly no deer.
As we continued our walk we saw some strange footprints – could it be a deer? A strange two-legged clawed deer who had walked through a bucket of bright yellow paint? We followed the tracks until we found the most surprising animal of all…A GRUFFALO! He was particularly frightening and after all the excitement I needed a nice cup of tea and a sit down!
Despite not finding any deer this week, and having a long ‘to do’ list of customer’s orders, I did get a chance to start my stuffed deer toy. Using the beige DK yarn and 3.75mm needles I have made his body and his head. The body has been made in one piece, very often I make a front and back and sew them together but the style I’m going to use gives a much rounder body shape. The head is a similar shape but with the stitches pulled together to give a definite pointy muzzle.
My next jobs are going to be a little black nose (maybe once I’m feeling Christmassy I’ll make a red-nosed reindeer as well) and some antlers so that he doesn’t feel inferior during rutting season. I’m not giving up on my search for real deer though, check back next week to see how we get on.