It's become a nightly ritual, as deer line up to enter our yard, like students in a high school cafeteria.

Winter has always been a tough time for my Jersey shore-born husband, who didn't grow up with cold weather that lasts for nearly half a year. We've tried different things to make it more enjoyable for both of us, and I think this time we've hit on a winner.

One of the things we miss the most about the warmer months is all the 'life' in our yard: singing birds; growing plants; and the occasional wildlife that wanders through. So this year, we've hung bird feeders in the trees, laid seed on the ground for the squirrels, and set out feed for the deer. The result is a yard full of life, singing birds, and scampering squirrels. But the highlight is definitely when the deer stop by each evening.

Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media Bangor
Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media Bangor
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They start out clustering at the edge of the yard, checking things out. They can smell the berry-scented feed but are cautious about whether Toby is in the yard. While he's not outside, he's poised in the window watching.

Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media Bangor
Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media Bangor
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I wasn't kidding when I said they line up. One takes the lead, testing the food for the others.

Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media Bangor
Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media Bangor
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Then the others begin to join in. Their guard is always up, listening for any noise. Jim and I will watch from the windows and literally tiptoe around the house, so as not to spook them. Toby is a good boy, who stays pretty quiet while he watches the deer in the yard.

Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media Bangor
Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media Bangor
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A couple of piles in the center of the yard give extra places for the deer to eat. Even so, there's always a little curiosity about whether the other guy's food is better.

I'm so glad Jim decided to start this nightly feeding. It helps sustain the deer during the winter and provides us with something to look forward to, even on the coldest nights.

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