I live on a small farm in the hill country north of Yamhill. The birds really suffer when it snows, so I feed them to help them through the hardest times. They prefer a spot under an apple tree on a steep hill because they can quickly fly to safety if they feel threatened. Saturday morning I startled a small deer that was looking for fallen apples when I took seed out for the birds. I didn’t see it until I was upon it because the bottom of the tree is hidden by the hill. The deer bolted up the hill with difficulty, breaking through the ice on the snow with each leap. On Sunday morning, I was surprised to see the same deer under the tree again. After I fed the birds, I trudged up to the barn in the woods and brought down a bale of hay. I broke it open under the apple tree where the deer would find it and the tree offered some protection. Monday morning I looked down from an upstairs window where I could see the bottom of the apple tree, and there was the deer. But it was different. It was much larger and had a blond rump. I realized that I was looking at an elk! I ran downstairs and peeked out windows; there were elk everywhere! I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures. I had difficulty holding the camera still, and the elk were in constant motion. The first photo shows several elk under another apple tree in my yard. I snuck out the back door and headed up the hill to put out more hay. The elk spread out along the county road and I snapped a picture from up the hill. The herd stayed in the open and headed north. I wish I’d been able to help them more.