Sunday, November 24, 2013

Quickening Our Own Life

When LC was a law enforcement officer in the rural and isolated areas bordering the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee he drove a patrol car and wore "city" uniforms.
No BDU's, not boots, no four-wheel drive vehicles.
That didn't stop him though, and he spent a lot of time driving rutted out mountain roads, back roads up in the "hollers", and as he told me once "I knew every jeep trail, deer trail, horse trail, pig trail out there".
From the stories he has told me and from what I know of him, I believe that.
As so it goes with Kory and I.
LC is (finally) going to see a doctor tomorrow for a back injury that should have healed by now but hasn't.
Ever since Kory arrived in our lives, she and I have walked trail after trail after trail in and around Atomic City.
We have explored back alleys in town.  Investigated all buttes close to the house.  Checked out the boundaries of every empty and abandoned building.  
Wandered where we could, where we should, and where we shouldn't.
Someone is gone for the winter?  Cool!  Let's go check out that old piece of farm equipment in back of their property!
The raceway is closed for the season?  Cool!  Let's go wander the grounds of the speedway!
With so few people in this little, silent community, those who DO live here know us and there is no concern with me wandering with my dog.
Over the years I've ignored No Trespassing signs more times than I can remember.  Wandered around the grounds outside the fences of a military base.  Climbed the hundreds of steps leading from a trail to a home and then knocked on the door to ask for directions because I missed a turn in the trail.  Handed out my friendliest smile when somebody (either civilian or security) looked at me curiously and wanted to know who I was and what I was doing.
I'm a roamer.  And so was Jamie and so is Kory................

After a freezing cold morning checking out the "sweat boxes" in my previous blog entry, I bundled up once more later in the day and wandered through the streets of Atomic City with my new pup.
Still cold, but warmer than it had been hours earlier.
We turned right at the little city park and wandered down a now-empty gravel driveway, turned left and headed for the raceway.
As I have gotten to know this dog I am becoming increasingly bonded with her.
She is very easy to love.
While Jamie was bow legged in the back and pigeon toed in the front and strode like a samurai, this dog is longer and leaner and more graceful with her movements.
In only a few minutes she learns commands and remembers them.
When I stir in the morning she instantly bolts out of her crate, excited that I (or we) are finally awake.
As with Jamie she lives to walk, but one of her favorite things to do at the house is jump up onto the big plantar boxes in the green house and look out the windows into the back yard.
The deer come there frequently and she has figured that out.
Kory has come in contact with cats, dogs, deer and cows since she moved here to us, but has only charged towards rabbits.
The others she just silently stares at.  
The deer especially, have her enamored.  I don't know what she had and hadn't seen during her life in Florida but deer seem to both puzzle and enthrall her............

Investigating the raceway...........
I had wondered how long it had been since this ambulance vehicle had moved.
It was last plated in 2005...........
More and more Kory is wanting to run, and LC wants to wait until his back is healed more before we take her out onto wide open and flat BLM land, to see how she reacts and responds to commands to come back.
Sometime this week I want to let her go, so that she can do what she is supposed to do.........

The mountains are calling me............
As my girl and I continued to wander up and down the streets of Tiny Town I finally saw them...........
There are two herds that typically wander through town, and up until this point the largest group that I had seen together was 10.
As we approached the large field adjacent to an empty home my first thought was that there seemed to be a whole lotta deer.
10, 11, 12..........there were fifteen of them, all clustered in the field.
As we continued our approach the deer instantly lifted their heads and froze in place, staring at us.
Kory in turn also lifted HER head and froze in place, staring back at them.
For a good minute nobody moved.
We all just looked at each other and I slowly raised my camera and began snapping pictures.
These deer are wonderful - big and healthy after an entire summer of eating residents grass, and leaves off trees, and vegetables and flowers from gardens.
Between the yellow light of the setting sun, and the color of both the deer and the vegetation, it is difficult to see what is in the pictures.
Click on any picture to enlarge, and the images will tell the tale...........
Although we saw the does all summer, we did not see the bucks until fall and to put it bluntly they are "motivated".
This is the larger of the two bucks.  There is a smaller one, and over the past couple of weeks I have seen the larger buck push the smaller one away from the does on a number of occasions.
They're his and he doesn't want to share.
The smaller buck constantly stays on the edges of the herd hoping for a chance (any chance) to mate.
Maybe he will get a chance, but the older and larger of the two is still very healthy, and young guy may have to wait another year.............
This past hunting season there were far too many wanna-be-poachers who blew through town.
Likely because we live in the middle of nowhere and there is little law enforcement presence.
Fish and Game were called out once for an old man who is family to a resident.  He shot a deer in town and claimed to have hunted in town for many years.  Another resident called F&G and I am glad that she did.
Many residents (including us) confronted these wanna-be's and sent them on their way.
Another resident observed two vehicles driving through back alleys, in an attempt to herd the deer out of town.
The no-shoot range was within a 1/4 mile of the city limits up until this year.
After this hunting season, that no-shoot zone has been extended to one mile.
Some attempted-poachers claimed to be a friend of someone who lived in town.  
Some claimed that they were just "looking at the deer" even though they had a rifle sitting on the front seat.
So many residents have told me that they don't like the deer eating the vegetation in their yards, but at the end of the day the deer are "ours" - almost pets and residents of the town - and they don't like the deer being harassed or killed illegally any more than we do.
The deer are an annoyance for some residents, but they are also part of living in rural Idaho.
I have told those we spoke to that I will dime ANYONE out - resident, friend, relative, anyone who attempts to harass or shoot within that one mile no-shoot zone
I have no problem with hunting deer.  
But it had better be done legally.............
There is one doe who has had a broken leg in the past.
She limps badly and is always pulling up the rear when the deer are on the move.
I wondered during hunting season if she would make it.
I have seen her since hunting season finished.
She made it................
Kory and I stood quietly and watched the deer for what seemed like a very long time.
A very sweet interlude with very sweet animals.
As we watched them they gradually and slowly began to wander around again.
The girls began to graze again.  The boy began to make nice with the girls again.  
Regularly they would turn to look at us again, but then quickly went back to whatever they were doing.
It was time to move on.
The sun was beginning to set and it was beginning to get very cold............
Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own life and makes it so much larger and better in every way..............John Muir

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