Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Haven

Have you ever noticed when you return home from vacation that animals knew you were gone, so they’ve moved in? It’s almost as if they conspired and waited for the day when the garage door would close, and they’d feel no vibrational frequency emitting from your home. With a welcoming wave of a hand and a short whistle, all the animals emerge from hiding, exposing themselves for the sheer pleasure of taking over human space. How satisfying.

Conniving little beasts.

Spiders construct new webs in the lower level. More deer lie in the backyard—the does filing their hooves and applying a fresh layer of polish, bucks now recovered from rutting season are playing a riveting game of poker. And birds have chosen to nest in your new hanging planter, the precious plant having been picked out and carelessly tossed on the ground.


This type of activity happens in our home and yard. The difference is, we never go anywhere, so they conduct their presumptuous behavior right before our eyes. Years ago a friend said, “The meek shall inherit the earth,” quoting Psalm 37:11. “I think what’s meant by that is insects, small and insignificant, will eventually overcome everything.”

Scary thought, but possible.

I’ve always attracted those less fortunate and those who have lived through a lot of emotional pain. I endured much bad stuff as a child and have done almost everything, so I really can’t be judgmental. People and animals know I’m trustworthy, and some take advantage of me, but I’m forgiving to a point…after which I disappear like the wind.

The most recent less fortunate being is someone I thought was dead and consumed by coyotes. I hadn’t seen him for three weeks, nor had several neighbors. But last weekend while standing in my neighbors’ backyard talking, I noticed a pair of ears. For five minutes or more, those ears didn’t even twitch.

Finally I asked if Bette and Bob would turn around and look at what appeared to be a ceramic deer, which would be a pretty weird thing to have, given the tens of deer trotting around all the time. We all trekked down the hill, and sure enough, it wasn’t a ceramic deer.

So I ventured, “I’ll bet it’s our injured one,” referring to the young buck I call Franklin, whose hindquarters are virtually useless after being struck by a vehicle. So we chose to let resting faux-ceramic deer rest.

By the next day, the injured deer was grazing in our back forty, as I call the easement area. I walked downstairs and outside to unlatch the back gate, so he’d have access to fresh water, the hot tub, and a more expanded area to poop. And sure enough, he’s made himself at home under the large junipers. Even Shiloh the Lab knows to leave the poor guy alone, so they share space.

Aside from one very close call during rutting season, Shiloh doesn’t let deer bother him. A fawn once touched its nose to Shiloh’s, and a doe chased the dog as he fetched his ball.

Today a ringed turtledove perched in our juniper above Franklin, and a beautiful kitty with a chunk missing from its left ear is skittering around. I boiled her a chicken leg and set it outside with a bed in a wooden box. This feline, however, will remain outdoors, unlike the other two. My heart goes out to the wounded and strays, as I hope someone’s heart would go out to me in times of need.

Two years ago I wrote to my friend William, currently a contractor in Iraq: “Shiloh found two kittens in the backyard, adding to the thick web I've woven. I feel as if I have a farm, but I can't butcher any animals.”

To this he gently replied: “Those animals are not an inconvenience. They are a way for you to be reminded that your house is a home, and it is safe for friends, family, and wayward strays.

“Don't worry about the poop. They'll make up for it by licking your hand one day.

“Be safe! William”

“If one of my wayfarers licks my hand, it’ll probably be the bear. Love, Goldilocks.”


  1. Auntie,
    Your darling Franklin may not just me missing a chunk of ear.

    It looks like s/he has been 'ear-tipped' which means that some kind soul trapped the cat and took it to get spayed/neutered and have its health checked by a vet. The ear is 'tipped' while the animal is under sedation so it does not feel anything and this mark is generally recognized by vets and Animal Control Officers as a sign that the animal is healthy and sterile.

    Google "TNR" or "Trap Neuter Release" to see the benefits to the feral cats and the programs that support this effort.

    Enjoying your blog!

  2. Coolness! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, and for reading my essays.

    Sure enough:


    To reduce any further population, we shall date only guys with a notch out of their ears : )

    You have only one post on your blog. Give us an update on life in Texas.


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