Wednesday, June 15, 2011

All in a Day's Work

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. 

This is Porky, another squirrel friend from recent years
 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.

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
We also had two deer, Shy & Bold.  They used to follow me to school, I’d be halfway there when I’d noticed them behind me and I’d have to return them.  One day I didn’t and they showed up on the playground at school and my dad (who was a teacher at the high school) was informed and that night at dinner I got in trouble.  That story made it in the local paper too I remember correctly.

We had a baby mountain goat for a while, an owl named Aristotle, a beaver, a baby bear and several chickadees I rescued.  Anytime anyone found a wild animal they brought it to our house.   They all kind of blended in with the donkey, goats, chickens, turkeys, pigs, peacocks, guineas, horses  and numerous dogs we already had.  Is it any wonder I’m such an animal person???


  1. I am so glad you stopped by and told me about raising your baby moose! All I could formulate in my brain was "AWWWWW!" I can't even imagine how awesome that must have been! I just adore moose. They are such beautiful creatures, even though some consider them less than attractive.

    I have encountered so many moose in my hikes/walks with my old girl Sedona (before we had to put her down), but none with Raven yet. Sedona was a good dog... sitting quietly and waiting with me until they moved on. I have a fear that Raven would be more vocal. I hope not... I'm always pleased when I can stop in my tracks and observe them for awhile.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with the wildlife babies. What a spectacular experience that must have been for you!!!

  2. I'm having a real problem with my comments but hopefully this will go through. Thanks for the blogging idea Susan, I'm always searching for new things to write about! Happy Soltice!! Kathy

  3. I love that old photo with you and your dad! And, I love the great stories! I think moose are probably the biggest thing I miss about Alaska. We saw a few elk while we were in northern Arizona in May and it is always a thrill to see big game. We have a lot of deer here and I feel the same way about them. Great post, Kathy!!!