Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Thursday, January 26, 2012



What happens when a big heart and a compassion for wild critters drives a person to do what the great state of Montana has deemed to be illegal?  You get busted!  Since moving to the Big Sky state the wife was been possessed by the spirit of Saint Francis and has been zealous in her care of all things wild.  This zealousness equates into seven different types of bird feeders in the front and back yards, a bird bath that must be filled at all times of the year, and the scattering of seed around the yard.  It has also equated into a smorgasbord of fresh fruit and vegetables for the bigger, non-flying critters--primarily deer--in the front yard. In the garage we keep a variety of bird seed because not all birds eat the same seed, thus we have seed for every type of bird there is.  The squirrels love this variety of seed to pillage and plunder much to the chagrin of the family dogs.  The result is a wild life refuge right on the Keener homestead smack dap in the middle of the community!  The wife's big heart and compassion for the critters is just not going to let them go hungry--especially in the harshness of the winter.

Despite my best effort over the years to discourage the feeding of the larger critters, the wife persisted in her daily ritual of feeding the critters.  I argued that it was tearing up the yard--grass always grows back I was told.  I argued that it brought in other critters--critters we don't want hanging around and reminded her of the skunk episodes.  Once when the dog food got soaked under the kitchen sink the wife decided that it would be better to throw it in the yard rather than to throw it away.  "Let the critters eat it," she said.  Well, a critter did decide to eat it--a skunk!

In fact, the skunk decided that it must be a five star eating establishment and started making nightly visits to the Keener homestead.  In one of those visits the skunk introduced itself to the family dogs.  Maddie had the common sense to run, Dora (react first, think second) ran straight toward it and paid the price--sprayed!  This did not happen once, but twice!  I think Dora was doing her best Pepe LePew imitation and thought she was in love.  The skunk wanted nothing to do with her.  She was one stinky dog for a while.  But it did stop the throwing of food into the yard . . . for awhile.

I argued that the feeding ritual was "baiting" and thus illegal in the state of Montana--which it is, but this did not stop the feeding frenzy.  I was told the critters were hungry!  But, I argued, it is a five hundred dollar fine!  For me, if it has to do with money, I don't have to think twice about it--I stop.  But you have to get caught . . . or, as in our case, turned in.

Somewhere in our community is a snitch.  Not only were we turned in for feeding the wild critters, so were a dozen other families.  Someone called town hall and complained.  Out of that complaint the local law officer spend last night going around town, knocking on doors, and asking the thirteen culprits to stop feeding the wild critters.  We were one of the thirteen that received an "official" visit.  Of course, the officer was quite nice as he explained the situation.  He mentioned how much the wild critters were becoming a town nuisance--they were forming into gangs and fighting around town.  There is nothing worse than wild roaming gangs of deer!  They were getting hit by cars and trucks leaving unsightly splatter marks on the roads.  They were tearing down fences, trampling yards, picking on the squirrels, and making neighbors upset.  And, he said, some people just don't like deer.  Then he reminded us that it was illegal and carried a fine.  So, knock it off!  That pretty much was the lecture from last night and the one that the wife got when she went to the town hall to confess her guilt.  Busted!

As much as it broke the wife's heart the buffet has been eliminated--the bird feeders can stay, but the free smorgasbord is now history.  I am sure that the critters are not happy, but they will survive as they always have.  In all honesty we are not at a shortage of deer in our area--nope, far from it.  As much as it breaks the wife's heart she is a good person and good people do the right thing--especially when threatened with expensive fines!  For now the bird feeders will have to do . . . compassion sometimes hurts.  So we offer an extra word or two in our prayers, may God watch over the wild critters and keep them fed.  May God bless the creatures . . .

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