Close encounters with local wildlife

Published 12:06 pm Thursday, December 29, 2022

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It started innocently enough. 


When your house backs up to 300 acres of woodland and you don’t have either a composter or garbage service, it’s very easy, at least for me, to, well, lob that apple core behind me when walking into the barn, or that half a tomato that went bad in the fridge.

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Or that banana peel.


Or that orange rind.


“Well,” I reasoned, “It all disintegrates and contributes to the biodiversity of a healthy forest floor.” As if I had any idea. But one thing I did learn. As with the film, ‘Field of Dreams,’ “If you feed them they will come.”


“There’s a deer in the front yard!” yelled Paul, before releasing the hounds to chase it off.


“Why’d you do that?” I wanted to know, feeling sorry for the deer in all this cold weather. “We have deer all over the place.”


“Yes, but they always hang out in the fields, I’ve never seen one so close to the house—and especially next to the rose garden.”




“Hmm, wonder why, after all these years, they’d decide to do that?” I said, wincing, before hurriedly leaving the room.


Two days later Paul had the fright of his life as he opened the front door at his usual time of 5 a.m. to let the dogs out to do their business, and found two possums waddling around the porch directly in front of him.


“It’s like Wild Kingdom out there,” he said, pulling the dogs back inside and going after the invaders, one of whom bared alarmingly sharp teeth, with a broom.


The subsequent days brought another lone doe perilously close to Paul’s beloved rose bushes and I caught sight of a fox bolting out of the back paddock towards the sanctuary of the woods.


“All these years living here I’ve never seen so many wild animals congregate near the house,” Paul observed, as he considered erecting a scarecrow (or, more appropriately, a scaredeer) next to his garden.


“I might have tossed an apple core, or something, out in the woods.” I fessed up. “Or maybe a stale piece of bread.”


“Well, DON’T.” I was admonished.


Things remained relatively quiet for a few days until, as a consequence of hunting season, the dogs, who had mysteriously disappeared in the woods for a couple of hours, proudly deposited the hind leg of a deer with a clunk on the welcome mat.


“I had nothing,” I said to Paul, “to do with that. There’s some gloves in the mud room you can use to pick it up”


“I’m not picking it up!” he said stoutly. 


“Why not?” I asked. “It’s not going to hurt you. Pick it up by the hoof. I’m the one who flushes squirrels out of the house, you get to pick up a deer leg.”


Distastefully, Paul put on the work gloves, picked up the legs and carried it away. 


I turned to the dogs, hands on my hips.


“Alright, what the heck did you guys do to the rest of Rudolph?”