I told you I'd have a story to tell when I got back....

dirtgirl(So. Illinois)March 13, 2005

It's that time of year when the whitetails are dropping their antlers again, and I have spent years in the bushes and woods and creek bottoms and never happened across them, or at least only on rare occasions.

Five days ago an unlikely event took place that had been set into motion at least a year ago at about this same time, and it's all because I stepped off the road into some bushes to avoid my least favorite neighbor.

Last August I took a brief stroll down the road, and right about the time I reached the small bridge to the south of our house I saw the truck come over the hill. We have one neighbor in particular that drives us both nuts: he is a nosy, pushy little weasel of a man and tends to be oblivious to the fact that I am not a single woman. So when I saw him in the distance heading my way I did what any coward would do--I took to the bushes. I'd rather battle the stinging nettle and mosquitoes than deal with this man! About twenty paces along I stopped and stared at what lay at my feet...the nicest antler shed I had ever seen in this area. It had some rodent damage to one tine, which would be expected since it had likely been lying there since at least February, but it was large enough and close enough to the road that, until the woods had thickened up in late spring, anyone would have been able to spot those big white tines while driving past in their car.I had been blindly coming and going past that impressive shed for nearly half a year and never knew it! I packed my find back up the road to the house after the neighbor was safely past and until five days ago that was the end of things.

I was riding my bike past the old bridge and had been noticing the bluebells just barely poking through the mud in the bottoms there when I spotted something white near the edge of the creek. It was a very large antler tine, and I knew it had to be impossible, even after I lay down the bike and stepped through the winter weeds to go pick it up. How is it that I would find the mate to such a large shed dropped from over a year ago, both less than 25 yards or so from the road and in both fairly easy view? What surprises me even further is the fact that the first half of this rack has a LOT more rodent damage and yet this recently found half, which has been right there for over a year, has only three very slight chew marks on it. Overall it is what we would call a non-typical 9 pointer with a spread somewhere close to 2 1/2 feet.

Maybe our neighbor is good for something after all...

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Whoa, only you DG. Love those stories, keep 'em coming.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 9:06PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

So, what will you do with it? Use it to ward off advances of nasty neighbor? hehe

I love your observation that the nasty neighbor serves some purpose. Every oyster needs a grain of sand to create a pearl.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 9:10AM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

in biological terms that man is my zebra mussel.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 11:51AM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Zebra mussel, LOL! I really did laugh out loud at that one :)

I found a deer skull last year right by a path I walk at least once a month - most of the skeleton was there. I cannot believe I never saw this dead deer before it was skeletonized (or that dear doggies didn't whiff it). I brought the skull home, which has one nice antler (that was buried in the ground) - and one gnawed off stump that the rodents had been at. I have to wonder if it floated downstream and was washed to where I saw it? There's a large stream nearby, but I don't recall a flooding event big enough to move a buck carcass. Makes me wonder if I'm as observant as I like to think...

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 7:15PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

That's what I realized....I tend to notice the oddball stuff but for some reason find myself tripping over the things that are painfully obvious.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 8:25AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I also laughed out loud at the Zebra Mussel!! You're a hoot dirtgirl.
Whatcha gonna do with the antlers? You could make it into an easter bonnet.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 3:38PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Right now they are serving as my epidermal hypersensitivity monitoring system.
I keep whacking my shins and toes against them when I vaccuum and on days like today when the brain is slow that's how I know my feet are still attached!

Nah, they are obviously WAY too big for my knickknack knature shelf so I have them sitting at the base of my indoor tree. I rather like the easter bonnet notion, Cathy! Although the neighbors might try to poach me when I go steppin' out in my finery! I wonder how big the buck was that dropped these, and if he is still around.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 9:15AM
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