Sunday, January 07, 2007

Morning Walks

Eva and Lee are attending a Wedding Show in Minneapolis. That leaves Bruce and I to take Tucker on his morning walk. It is a little different when we go.

The first thing is that I always seem to be trying to catch up with Bruce. As a boy, he learned to walk in the woods with Charlie Cook and George Plummer. They only had one pace no matter how much they were carrying. Bruce is the same way and I am always telling him to slow down.

Also Tucker gets lots and lots of sticks thrown his way by Bruce. He and Bruce communicate in a slightly odd manner. If Bruce says, “Sit,” Tucker drops the stick. Who knows how they worked that out. Anyway Bruce is a better thrower than Eva or I. He sometimes tosses the stick in the woods. Plowing through snow for a stick is one of Tucker’s favorite things to do.

With the warm temperatures I have been enjoying one of my Christmas presents. Lee and Eva gave me some ice claws. I just pull them over my boots and have wonderful traction on the slippery road. Except for a little snow on top, the road is pretty much ice. It has been sanded by the county but it is still easy to slide around. And coming down our driveway to the house at the end of our walk is just treacherous. So I will be giving these ice claws lots of use this winter.

The deer have really been out on the back road. Yesterday Eva and I counted 11 deer between the senior Bakers’ home and the road. Tucker is getting very good at just looking at the deer and not chasing them.

We also saw a one antlered deer. He had already dropped the left antler somewhere. I told him to just bang his head on the ground and let that right antler fall off. He didn’t listen to me.

Bob Baker, Sr., has taken this one step further. He built a new feeder to hold corn for the deer. The feeder is built in such a way that any time an antlered deer eats corn, the animal knocks his antlers on the small roof over the feeder. If the antler is at all ready to fall off, it will be knocked off. I understand that this has been successful a couple times this winter.

On our trips to Tanzania, we have seen many antlered animals. We talked about our deer and moose with our guides. These guides just can't get over the fact the our animals shed their antlers every year and then grow new ones. None of the animals of Africa do this.

Down at the lodge they have been seeing a black wolf on the lake right in front of the cabins. It is my guess that this wolf is eyeing our corn-fed deer. Although I hate to see a deer kill, it is part of the natural order of things around here. Neither the wolves nor the deer have any special rights according to Mother Nature.

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