When you know you’ve become a bonified tree hugger
A fellow jest can’t get respect these days. Now I do my patriotic duty and have allowed mama does to have their bambies at the edge of the woods near the cabin the past five years because this will increase the number of potential harvests by patriotic hunters. My herd dogs think that they are dairy goats and so protect the bambies from roaming bears . . . who are the number one killer of baby deer these days. However, I allow Brother Bear to come around in the late fall to dig up yellow jacket nests and rip apart dead logs to get to the grubs because, again, that means more bear for patriotic hunters to harvest.
In the winter of 2016, a mountain lion tip-toed across my backyard three nights in a row. I politely told Brother Mountain Lion that according to all official federal and state wildlife experts, he didn’t exist. He laughed back for me to explain why two mountain lions have been captured in Metro Atlanta during the past three years. If mountain lions could thrive in the burbs, why not here in the mountains? I didn’t have an answer, but he never came back . . . at least while I was awake.
HOWEVER, to have not one, but two predators LIVING cozily right next to my cabin in the middle of summer. This is downright Marxistic.
Now, I have been suspicious for about three months that something was rotten in Denmark. My herd dogs have been grinning, wagging their tails and slipping slowly into the woods like they were trying to hide from their parents that they had a date with a girl of ill repute.
I feed bigger beef and pork bones to the dogs. During the cold months I burn my leftover chicken and other small bones in the wood stove to make potash. However, in the warm months, I throw the bones into the edge of the woods for Brother Raccoon and Sister Possum as bribes so they won’t tell anybody about the bambies being born nearby. Besides, if you dump your bones in the kitchen garbage can, they will stink up a storm and attract maggot flies.
Beginning in late April I noticed, however, that something was zipping up to the bones and grabbing them almost as soon as I threw them off the deck. Initially the dogs would bark at that something, but eventually they just grinned and wagged their tails. Then I started seeing Sister Gray Fox calmly walk across my yard several times of day. She acted like she lived here. The dogs didn’t give her no bother. In fact, she was not even afraid of me either. I swear she sometimes wagged her tail to say, “thank you” for the bones.
Then, about a week ago at sunset I heard an awful ruckus. Sister Gray Fox and Sister Bobcat were going at it over a few chicken bones I had thrown out. I think Sister Bobcat won, but the next there was Sister Gray Fox prancing across my yard unscathed. A couple of nights later I threw out some more chicken bones. The two of them screamed and yelped half the night, so I couldn’t sleep.
The other day I noticed that a local supermarket had miss-labeled a 10 pound package of chicken thighs at 27 cents a pound rather than $1.27. Times are tight right now, so I feasted on barbecued chicken thighs last. As an experiment, I threw half the bones on the left side of the path going to the old gold mine and the other half on the right side. After dark, I heard a few muted, token yelps and meows, but nothing serious. All the bones were eaten over night and the two critter neighbors finally had made their peace.
So, from now on in order to sleep at night I will be splitting my bones on the left and right side of the Old Gold Mine Path to keep Sister Gray Fox and Sister Bobcat out of each other’s faces. If that is not the definition of a wussy tree hugger, I don’t know what is.
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
Latest posts by Richard Thornton (see all)
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