A Deer & A Bell

written by

Drausin Wulsin

posted on

August 17, 2023


This buck graces our land.

He was recorded on camera earlier this month. Doesn't he look magnificent - so full, regal, and humble, within his place? He presents true beauty and inspiration. He feels like a force of magic, that walked on from stage left.

In like manner, the turkeys below, from this past February and in communal seance, seem to be dancing to the song of the hillside. 

When such wildness appears, it is responding to the call of the land, whose voice we are finally recognizing and honoring.

Our 4-acre pond is now complete. It is 15 feet in the deepest spot, with a curving 400-foot dam connecting two hillsides. Once grass grows on the dam and the depression fills with water, the pond will look like it has always been there. In the meantime, it stands as an amphitheater, worthy of any great concert. With maturity, it will serve wildlife and provide selective irrigation for growing vegetables in the neighboring field downslope.

Mike Garen is its architect and contractor. He is an artist as much as anything, in that he can coax heavy equipment to render graceful, sweeping lines across any landscape, in unmatched capacity. His signature is all over our farm, through stream banks reshaped, ponds created, and water lines installed. We are blessed by his untamed finesse, as with the stag from stage left. 

The wetlands are replete with hibiscus, showing color and complexity we hope to soon see emerging in the newer phases.

A recent summer meal of Mackinac Lake Trout, fresh tomatoes, fresh lima beans, fresh corn, and fresh peaches and blackberries was a gift from the gods.

May the sweltering honesty of August celebrate you like an ancient bell ringing its clarion sound. The bell below was forged at the Bell Company in Hillsboro, Ohio in 1886. It has been in our family for about 80 years, and recently received a fresh coat of paint.

We respond to the clarion sound of stags and bells.


More from the blog

Big Muddy

Here is the Lower Mississippi River, 45 feet below normal pool. Over Thanksgiving, Susan and I shoehorned ourselves onto a cruise ship to learn about the lower Mississippi and its bayou. We started in Memphis and ended up in New Orleans, with stops along the way to explore river towns. This river is the third longest on the planet, providing drainage to 40% of North America. It has historically deposited silt yearly in its floodplains, producing topsoil 120 feet deep, making these soils some of the richest in the world. Vast wetland forests grew beside its banks, of cypress, oaks, and sycamores, populated by a rich array of black bears, deer, bobcats, alligators, and aquatic life. This was the legendary bayou.

Streams & Souls

Streams and souls seem to share character. They are life-giving, they are coveted, they can be impeded, they can be channelized, they can be overwhelmed, they flood, they dry up, they flow downhill, they are a force of both change and constancy, they lie at the center of a community, they will not be denied, and because of this great complexity, they attract periodic resistance. So, it seems that streams may serve as a metaphor for the journey of the soul.


Biodiversity depends on the neighbors. We feel like we live on islands, at times, but even islands are connected by surrounding rings of activity. Every organism that travels through our wetlands is in transit. Some stay longer than others, but all are in motion. They came from somewhere and are going somewhere. In the meantime, they stop for respite and nurture, adding to the richness of the ecosystem.