From Pipi’s Pasture: One strange year | CraigDailyPress.com

From Pipi’s Pasture: One strange year

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

It’s been a strange year on so many levels, but one oddity has been the number of gentle wild animals that have taken up residence at Pipi’s Pasture. Take one afternoon this week for example. I opened the inside front door to find a small skunk with his bushy tail right up next to the entry door. He was concentrating on eating cat food as three helpless cats stood watching him.

I said, “Shoo!” The whole time I was hoping he wouldn’t spray me. The skunk didn’t budge so I got the broom that was next to the door and shook it through the partially-opened door.

Finally the skunk scampered down the porch steps and ran under the car. Later that night we did smell skunk—luckily not from under the car.

But the skunk wasn’t the only surprise. When I opened the door all the way I found a young doe deer standing next to the porch with her head poking through the porch railing. What attracted my attention were her big ears and gentle eyes. She didn’t move one bit, all the while watching me with those pretty eyes. If she could have reached the cat food she would have been eating it, too.

The doe has been around for awhile and for some reason is unusually gentle. She comes to the porch when I pack groceries from the car to the house. She watches me as I carry a bucket with a calf bottle and cat food to the corral. We do not feed the deer, but they have caught onto the cat food locations.

A few weeks ago our grandson Kenny Prather was here from Alaska. He came home one afternoon to find a fawn sleeping next to the front porch. Snuggled up on top of the fawn were several kittens that were taking advantage of a soft bed while they enjoyed the sunshine. Strange, indeed.

During the recent cold snap I heard a magpie. We have heard a few magpies here before but do not usually see them. Guess what? This magpie flew up on the porch rail, picked up cat food, and flew off. He helped himself to the cat food until it was gone. That’s not all. He found the cat food at the corral, too. Now that the weather has warmed up, the magpie isn’t around anymore.

Early in October a raccoon frequented our front porch, too. We have not seen raccoons for several years — not since they ate the cantaloupe and watermelons in our garden. This was one big fellow that may be hibernating by now.

But the strangest sightings of all this early November come from the Morapos ranch. My brother Duane Osborn told me that he saw a water bird — he thinks a snipe — and even stranger — after all this snow and cold weather — a water snake that some car ran over on the county road! It’s been one strange year!