Posts Tagged ‘deer’

Imagine where you were and what you were doing in 1970. I was finishing up college in Purchase, NY. while my first husband commuted to work in NYC. SUNY required a dissertation, so much of my time was spent driving to the Hartford School for the Deaf in order to test their students. I was only 22 and didn’t know yet we’d be divorced very soon. My single connection to nature in our little apartment was a cat I had rescued from the school, an Abyssinian I named Minnie Mama (instead of Minnie Mouse) because she promptly delivered six kittens.

Today the World Wildlife Fund WWF has issued a call to arms. The population of wildlife on this fragile planet in the past 40 years has decreased by half. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/wildlife-populations-halved-last-40-years-by-human-consumption-degradation-1467806

“The biggest recorded threat to biodiversity globally comes from the combined impacts of habitat loss and degradation, driven by unsustainable human consumption,” the report said. “The impacts of climate change are becoming of increasing concern.”Other factors that contribute to the populations decrease are the presence of invasive species, pollution, and diseases.The main threats to freshwater species, which have suffered the biggest decrease, are habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, and invasive species.

It’s rather frightening to think that since the 70s, we’ve lost so many species. In other words, in our lifetime; it’s been on our watch and it seems somebody wasn’t watching. Of course it is guns and butter. Human population is exploding and we’re not just increasing our carbon footprint, we’re denuding habitat. But yesterday I took heart with a TED talk about “Rewilding” in the Yellowstone National Park.

So to watch the Youtube talk, you’ll have to click on over to the WordPress site. In a nutshell and not quite so eloquently as George Monbiot who advocates for “…the large-scale restoration of complex natural ecosystems,” he relates the story of reintroducing wolves in to the Park in 1995. Most thought we’d lose some species since they are such vital predators. But instead, nature did something truly grand. After a 70 year wolf absence, deer had grazed away most vegetation; now of course the wolves did kill some deer who were already overpopulating the Park.

But they learned to avoid the wolves by steering clear of fields, valleys and gorges. And you thought deer were dumb? This allowed the vegetation to grow, which brought in migrating birds and rabbits, beavers and hedgehogs…well you get the picture. Valleys became forests. Ecosystem engineers were fast at work! What happens next is truly amazing http://www.ted.com/talks/george_monbiot_for_more_wonder_rewild_the_world

“Rivers changed in response to the wolves.” 

This morning I watched a family of six deer graze through my shade garden while I showered. First the fawns come out of the woods, then the elders look me squarely in the eyes for a few minutes, and we decide to have an understanding. I keep Ms Bean in the house, and they keep feasting on my flora. What can I say? I think Buddha must have been a wolf. Buddha's new sister 001

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Every single place you go there is an opportunity to learn something new. Last night, we were picking up some comfort Mexican food at our newest neighborhood restaurant, when we overheard this guy waiting for his to-go order say that the deer would be starving this winter. He wasn’t exactly a mountain man, but he did look like he knew a thing or two about hunting. So I interrupted his conversation about how many deer had been spotted and/or hit by a car on his way over here, a common subject in this neck of the woods, to ask him why the deer would starve this winter. I was expecting to hear about another snowmageddon.

Instead, he told us that their main food source, acorns, had been decimated by those tasty little critters Ms Bean loved to crunch. IMG_0595In this year of the cicada – where numbers reached one million per acre and sometimes more – not only did the insects hatch their eggs in the branches of oak trees, they managed to feed on and kill off those portions of the tree. I had noticed splotches of dead, brown leaves at the ends of many of our oaks, and I knew the cicadas were responsible. Even though this was the 17 year plague of the cacophonous insect, I was told our trees would survive the onslaught. I didn’t think about the loss of acorns.

Don’t look away Ms Bean, you know you loved them!

 An acorn on an oak tree grew,
The wind around him gently blew,
It whispered to him quite softly
‘Some day from your mother
You will be free
To grow and be a mighty tree’
‘Who’? ‘Me’? A mighty oak’?
The little acorn thought this a joke.

Acorns have been the subject of poetry, like the above poem by Joseph Enright, and have been used in heraldry designs for centuries. In fact, I believe they gave bonny Prince George’s mum, Kate, a crest with an acorn when she married into the Royal Family. Here it is on the right, joined with Prince Wills. There are three acorn sprigs that represent the three children in the Middleton family. And the leaves represent Berkshire, where she grew up.  I like the unicorn!article-2434825-1850314F00000578-643_634x505

Yesterday morning I looked out my kitchen window to see a mama deer with two young fawns nursing underneath her. She stood straight and tall and we just stared at each other. We’ve posted our property so that hunters are forbidden, still I don’t want these beautiful animals to starve. This weekend I’ll be going to a farm supply store, to see what deer would like to eat. They’ve finished off my roses, and the new growth of a few tender shrubs. One even managed to find and trample the fence around a new fig tree, but he only ate half of it. Considerate don’t you think?

Kensington Palace released this photo of the new conjugal coat of arms for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2434825/Kate-Middleton-Prince-Williams-new-Conjungal-Coat-Arms-revealed.html#ixzz2iqKSH400
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