As I head into my sixth week of babysitting fermenting wine alone in Sonoma, it’s getting easier and easier to slip into “Dr. Doolittle” Level of Stir-Craziness. If you didn’t read this post, let me explain that the Doctor Doolittle Stage is that point where you progress beyond talking to the animals and truly believe you are having intelligent conversation with them. Living alone in the country in the loft of a barn with two terriers will do that to you.

Andy just left early this morning and now at 9PM, I’m already needing meds.

Okay, I’m sane enough to know that I can’t REALLY have a conversation with the stag I’ve taken to calling Chuck the Buck. But we do have a relationship.

Let me explain about Chuck the Buck (pictured above). While there are dozens of deer that traverse our property on their way to and from the state preserve that bounds our land, Chuck the Buck is by far the biggest. He also may be Mormon. At least he seems to have about seven wives. Most mornings I see him walking calmly up our road toward Lake Charles, our little man-made pond, with a gaggle of cute does.

Lately though, his marital status is seeming not so blissful. I haven’t actually talked to Chuck about this (see I’m not THAT crazy yet.) But he’s acting like he needs some time alone. If he had opposable thumbs, he’d probably be down on Sonoma Square at Steiner’s knocking back Jack Daniels shots.

Like clockwork every night for the past two weekends, he’s taken up a stance under a Coastal Live Oak at the end of the driveway to our barn and stood there for hours. Alone. We drive in late from dinner or grocery shopping and he’s standing there. And he’s not going to move for anything. Well, I wouldn’t expect

him to move for a Prius. From his size and the size of his antlers, I’m guessing my Prius would come out the worse in an altercation with him. But now, he’s starting to disrespect Andy’s Range Rover. We’ve gotten so we can drive in about ten yards from him, with the windows down and talking to him all the way and he doesn’t bat an eyelash. Only if we blink the lights off and on does he decide that he will move, slowly and disdainfully off a little bit to the side of the pasture.

Chucks view of the barn from his special spot.

Chuck's view of the barn from his special spot.

Tonight, knowing that he’d be there, I thought I’d walk out with my camera and catch a close-up picture of him. You can see how close I got to him in the ATV with the photo I caught of him above. However, armed with my camera and my new hotshoe light, I didn’t reckon on the one thing that apparently strikes terror into the hearts of wildlife. I opened the door to the barn letting out a blast of bluegrass fiddle music. (Yes, it’s all classic country all the time here at Two Terrier Vineyards. The terriers demand it.)

Chuck was on the alert and not ready to take anything for granted. He only let me get about 50 feet from him. And he certainly didn’t appreciate the blinding glare of my camera light.

Then Bill Monroe tuned up his fiddle and Chuck was off.

Obviously, Chuck is a Cold Play fan.

Note to Self: Even your fancy new hot-shoe camera light will NOT illuminate all of Sonoma. This was supposed to be a picture of Chuck at night under his tree.

Note to Self: Even your fancy new hot-shoe camera light will NOT illuminate all of Sonoma. This was supposed to be a picture of Chuck at night under his tree.