Yesterday I was reading Susan Stevenson’s blog and admiring her many wildlife and scenery photos. If you haven’t yet checked out her blog (it’s on my sidebar – Living in Alaska, Life in the Last Frontier) you really should. She is an AMAZING photographer who lives in Fairbanks and makes frequent trips to Denali park. She appears to have an understanding with wildlife, they appear at her command and she in turn takes very flattering photos of them! She also has some great stories too, such as the attack of the marmot. Very funny stuff. So it got me thinking of the wildlife we raised when I was a kid.
One of my favorite animals was the squirrel my dad brought in on Easter Sunday one year. He had fallen out the birdhouse where his mother had nested. We named him Peanuts and he was quite the character. My dad had him in his classroom at school during the year but he spent a fair amount of time at home too. The most infamous story about Peanuts (besides him biting the Superintendent) was the day he ran across our wood -heated cook stove. Ouch. And then my sister was washing dishes and he jumped in the water. That was a rough day for poor little Peanuts. We eventually let him go but he would still come to me. The West Tours buses had a stop at our house and I would go out and bottle feed the moose and then I’d go to a tree and yell for Peanuts and he’d come running down to be held. The tourists would all ply me with treats and take my picture. I’m quite sure buried in attics across the U.S. are old pictures of the grandparent’s trip to Alaska in the 1960’s and I must surely be in a few of them.
|This is Porky, another squirrel friend from recent years|
We also raised quite a few baby moose. There was Bruce the Moose, then Benny, then Bruce the Moose #2, Molly, Sally, Bernadette, Bernice, & Bullwinkle. I think there were others but I can’t remember anymore names. It was always my job to feed them from this over sized baby bottle and they always ran to me when they saw me. We had goats too and the moose calves grew up thinking they were goats. The goats would always get down on bended knee to eat their grain and the moose quickly learned to imitate that stance. They were great fun to have. They never lasted long in the wild though, F&G would come and tag them and release them at a new location out the road and they usually met their end by a bear or hunter. One story has it that a lady was out petting one with a bright orange tag in their ear and her husband shot it. Another was overdosed on tranquillizer by the F&G guy when they were fixing to release it. Most of the neighbors were generally happy to see them relocated, and usually discovered they had eaten more than their vegetables and flowers, my dad included, when he discovered his apple and cherry trees had been devoured.
|My dad and I feeding Bruce #2 & Benny|