Monday, March 7, 2011

Deer Country Extra: Just Thinking in the Rain

'Humidity, humidity, humidity'

I was putting together the puzzle pieces of our 2010 federal tax return when I glanced out my study window and saw a herd of nine deer meandering across our front yard and toward our flower beds during yesterday’s downpour. Hmm, I thought. Should I continue working on our taxes, or follow them with my camera as they browsed and explored?

The decision was a tough one, but as you can see, the camera and the deer won. I spent a quarter hour moving from window to window, from my study, to Ellen’s study, to our dining room, as the deer munched from south to north.

As I watched them explore and browse, I wondered what they were thinking. Indeed, do deer think as they interact with their surroundings? I thought of a way to answer the question for sure. I just happened to have in my pocket the “Deer Thought Interpreter” that I had gotten as a prize in a Cracker Jack box when I was a kid. I aimed it at them and was amazed, even shocked, when I heard what they were thinking. Here are some excerpts:

Top photo: “Humidity, humidity, humidity. I can’t do a thing with my hair. If that guy were a decent gardener, he’d have a few umbrellas stashed here and there.”

“Don’t look now, but that guy is at the window again with his camera. Don’t panic. Just slowly browse the clover and gradually move toward the flower beds. But keep alert. Sometimes he opens the front door and laughs when we run away. Anyone interested in running toward him next time he does that?”

“Hey, girls, look! Someone gave the fountain grass a crew cut. And what in the world is that white thing coming out of the ground? I’ve never noticed that before. But I guess it’s OK—it’s not moving.”

“Lamb’s ear’s yucky when green, yucky when freeze dried. Bearded iris is tough when green, tougher when dried.”

“Looky, looky! I found a fresh redhot poker leaf under all the dead ones. But, wow, it tastes and chews like a wad of string. I hear the guy tells people we rarely eat redhot-poker. Just watch me swallow this! I’ll wad it up slowly so he has time to get a photo.”

“Oh, no, someone got to my favorite azalea first and nipped off most of its buds. I’m a blooming idiot for forgetting to browse this shrub a month ago.”

“What’s this—rock candy?”


  1. Great deer commentary, Bob. I think your device picked up deer conversation loud and clear. This made me giggle. Thanks for putting down the taxes and picking up a camera.

  2. Oh, my, Gladys. Remember Cracker Jack? I used to beg my mom to buy me a box. I wasn't particularly interested in the popcorn, though I ate every piece. I really wanted the so-called prize, usually a little plastic something that was totally worthless. But there was always the chance of a good prize, I knew, because one of my little buddies had gotten a little tin whistle in a Cracker Jack box. And what did a box cost then--5 cents?

  3. Yes, I do remember Cracker Jack's crunchy caramel flavored candy-covered popcorn and peanuts, and especially I recall the prizes inside. In the late forties, the prizes were little flat toys on a stand, images of animals and such. My older brother used the the prizes to make "shadow stories", shining a flashlight on them at night, casting shadows onto a wall to enlarge the image and add drama. What fun!

    What did Cracker Jack cost back then? I don't recall, but likely it was less than a dime.

  4. I don't remember the cost of a box of Cracker Jack, Gladys. I know I seldom got a box because it was "too expensive." I usually had to settle for a 1-cent piece of Mary Jane from Miss Brogan's candy shop. Cracker Jack was "big time" stuff, at larger stores. It must have cost 10 cents.

  5. Hi Bob,
    Have thoroughly enjoyed your blogs about gardening in Deer Country and compiling anectdotal results from what grows/what gets eaten...sometimes it's a real crap shoot! Just when I think I have found the perfect plant to fill a space that the deer won't eat, it is devoured by the #$@*& groundhogs or rabbits. Maybe "food" for thought, if you're thinking about another topic for your blog!
    Hope you enjoyed the taste of spring today!

  6. Groundhogs & rabbits: what don't they eat? We don't have much of a problem with them, so I haven't given it much thought. There must be lists somewhere out there in books or on the Internet. I'll keep your suggestion in the back of my mind so I'll take notes when I come across that kind of information.