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Monday, March 01, 2010

She Died, Cold and Alone

Everyone I talk to around here agrees: This is the worst winter any of us has experienced.  Since mid-December it has been pounding and pounding and pounding.  The deep snows.  The heavy winds. The drifts.  Almost without letup.

But as bad as it's been for us, it's been just that much worse for all those animals - particularly the deer population - living in the wild.  For well more than two months they've not been able to forage, what with the two feet of snow that has blanketed the area.  At that depth they generally don't even try to roam.  They hunker down and await better weather.  That never comes.


Click on the image above, if you have it in you, in order to enlarge it.

This little gal would have been one year old in a few months.

But she'll never see her birthday.  She'll never even feel the warmth of a spring day.

This horrible, horrible winter killed her.

I first came upon her one day a little over a week ago, a time when she was still fighting for survival.  I was going down the driveway on my ATV, heading to my tractor shed to see if I could (without success) get my tractor out and plow.  I confronted her about halfway down, standing at the edge of the gravel eating what small amount of grass had been exposed by the previous day's rare bit of sunshine.  The temperature had risen into the upper 30's for the first time in weeks and a bit of thaw had occurred.

When I saw her standing there, I slowed, then came to a stop, maybe twenty feet from her.  She didn't take off running, as deer do.  She stood upright and stared at me.  With dull, lifeless, distant, struggling eyes she fixed her gaze on me and didn't move.  

I noticed that she was thin.  Not emaciated but underweight.  The winter was taking its toll.

I took note of her plight and moved on.  I had my struggles with snow that I was dealing with as well.

Besides, these winter blasts always give way to warm spells with the accompanying welcome thaw.  


Green grass was within days of appearing everywhere on every hillside.

And she'd be fine again.

It always works that way.

And then all hell broke loose again the next day.  

Not so much in terms of snowfall; we got maybe six additional inches of snow, all told.  So there wasn't a lot of that.  But ferocious winds came.  And winter, in all its fury, blasted our mountain once again.  For days.  Relentless pounding.  Unrelenting bitter cold and drifting snow ... again.

It's interesting, around here when the wind blows in out of the west, it comes up from the valley and actually sends snow flying upward.  It doesn't come down; it goes up.  And it is forbidding.  Menacing.  Threatening.  Bone-chilling.

Especially for God's little creatures that have no shelter.

I came home from work late Thursday night and was making a run up my driveway, with its drifting snow proving to be almost too much for my SUV to deal with.  As I approached the steepest part of the drive, I noticed the same small deer laying under a cedar tree next to the driveway.  I passed within ten feet of her, and she barely moved.  Covered with snow, curled up to protect herself from the bitter wind, she was doing her best to survive the night and its horrific conditions.  She just lay there, exposed to the furious onslaught.

I went in the house.  And resolved to help her when the storm abated.

If only I'd been more resolute.

I went out on Sunday morning to find the fawn.  I really didn't have a plan.  If I could locate her, I thought, I could see what needed to be done to get some food to her.  Cracked corn.  Hay, though deer don't seem to want to touch it.  Sustenance.  To get her through the last few weeks - hopefully - of this godawful winter.

I didn't have far to go.  She lay about 30 yards from that cedar tree, in a recessed area beneath our horse paddock.  She had picked the spot because it provided a bit of shelter from the wind, and perhaps because the compost that she lay in was providing some warmth.  She had turned her head away from the fury in an effort to shield her face from the chill.  That's how I found her.

It's telling that the scavengers hadn't gotten to her yet.  Even they are unable to move around under these conditions. It's that bad.

She didn't die of starvation.  But she did die from a lack of food.  In weather like we're dealing with, these creatures need nutrition to keep their body temperature elevated.  She, being undernourished, couldn't deal with the bitter cold.  She died of exposure. Essentially she froze to death.  At the age of seven or eight months.  All alone.

Paula had seen her once several days ago at our feeding station.  Why she didn't stay there, we'll never know.  Other deer now come several times a day.

Interestingly, because they have nowhere else to go and nothing else to eat, they linger, even when we arrive to feed them.  They move off about fifteen yards and stand and stare.  Then they hurriedly come down to eat once we've moved off.  They're not tame.  They're desperate.

They will, with a bit of help, survive.  Nature has a way of seeing to that.

Others, thousands of others, like that little fawn, won't.  Winter, this awful, awful winter has killed so many of them.  And it ain't over.


Somehow, it seems to me, she didn't deserve this.

I'm hoping God has a special heaven for these His most precious creatures.  May she and all those that die this winter find warmth and comfort there.  Warmth.  Comfort.  Sustenance.  The kinds of things that we take for granted, things that she wasn't able to find here on this earth.

More snow is expected Wednesday.  Have mercy.

Reporters Should Report

And not, as I mentioned last week, provide themselves to liberal politicians as being good copying machines.  This from Warner Todd Huston, is an example of just how lazy (or cynical) mainstream reporters have become in this era of shoddy journalism:
Many of us on the right like to claim that the Old Media is just an arm of the Democrat Party. Of course some of that on our part is bombast, but incidents such as the following tend to make conservative’s complaints seem more like right-on-target truth than over-the-top complaining.

On February 23, ABC TV Channel 7, WTRF News (Wheeling, West Virginia/ Steubenville, Ohio), posted on its website what was originally credited as a story “written by” reporter Bob Westfall. Unfortunately, though, this posting was nothing but a word-for-word re-posting of Democrat Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown’s latest press release. There was little to no difference between Brown’s press release and the “story” as posted on the ABC 7 news site.

Newspapers have been recycling press releases for eons, of course, although rarely did they publish them under the byline of a staff reporter.  This story was up for most of the day, but was taken down in the early evening of February 23.  One can only assume that WTRF got a bit embarrassed at its shilling for a Democrat Senator. [link]
I guess maybe they didn't think we'd notice.  Or maybe that we're just too stupid to recognize the deceit.

Shameful in either case.

Too Funny

John Hinderaker bitchslaps New York Times columnist Frank Rich.  Exquisitely:
Frank Rich of the New York Times retired as a drama critic in order to take up his new role as the paper's full-time drama queen. As an op-ed columnist for the Times, his assignment, apparently, is to write in such a hysterical fashion that Paul Krugman seems rational by comparison.

Currently, the most-recommended article on the Times web site is Rich's column, "The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged." The "axis," as described by Rich, includes 1) a murderer, 2) kooks, 3) Tea Partiers, and 4) Republican politicians and Presidential candidates. The point of Rich's column is to suggest, in his usual subtle fashion, that these groups are more or less interchangeable.

Rich starts with "the murder-suicide of Andrew Joseph Stack III, the tax protester who flew a plane into an office building housing Internal Revenue Service employees in Austin, Tex., on Feb. 18. It was a flare with the dark afterlife of an omen." The last sentence is classic Rich. I'll hazard a guess that Stack's murder-suicide was not an omen of anything, and will not ignite a rash of intentional airplane crashes.

Rich admits that "Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a 'Tea Party terrorist.'" No kidding: Stack had zero connection to the Tea Party movement. None. So why would it occur to anyone to refer to him as a "Tea Party terrorist"? This is not guilt by association, this is guilt despite a complete lack of association. [link]
Frank Rich proved himself to be a stark-raving loon back when W. was president.  His trip into madness continues unabated.

Quote of the Day

On global warming theory:
Put the errors together and it can be seen that one after another they tick off all the central, iconic issues of the entire global warming saga. Apart from those non-vanishing polar bears, no fears of climate change have been played on more insistently than these: the destruction of Himalayan glaciers and Amazonian rainforest; famine in Africa; fast-rising sea levels; the threat of hurricanes, droughts, floods and heatwaves all becoming more frequent.

All these alarms were given special prominence in the IPCC's 2007 report and each of them has now been shown to be based, not on hard evidence, but on scare stories, derived not from proper scientists but from environmental activists. Those glaciers are not vanishing; the damage to the rainforest is not from climate change but logging and agriculture; African crop yields are more likely to increase than diminish; the modest rise in sea levels is slowing not accelerating; hurricane activity is lower than it was 60 years ago; droughts were more frequent in the past; there has been no increase in floods or heatwaves.

Furthermore, it has also emerged in almost every case that the decision to include these scare stories rather than hard scientific evidence was deliberate. As several IPCC scientists have pointed out about the scare over Himalayan glaciers, for instance, those responsible for including it were well aware that proper science said something quite different. But it was inserted nevertheless – because that was the story wanted by those in charge.
"A perfect storm is brewing for the IPCC," London Telegraph, February 27, 2010