Dulley book - Earth Friendly Home - 208 pages

New Additions to the Dulley Family

This doe has been coming and munching in my flower gardens for the past two years now. I used to try to chase them away, but I gave up when I got to know her. I just have to select new plants that deer do not like.

This doe has a bad right front leg and can barely walk. You can see how it is bent outward at her knee. During the winter, I buy 50-pound bags of corn and feed her because she has a real problem walking to find food for herself. When she sees me outdoors, she comes and waits for her food. I can get within about three feet of her and I will probably be able to pet her this winter.

Last summer, she had two babies. You can see one of the fawn behind her. They are not quite as friendly yet, but they are getting used to me now too. When I was cutting my grass a few weeks ago, I noticed some spots that were crushed. I assumed it may have been from the drought. The other night I looked out in the backyard - she and the two fawn had bedded down for the night in my backyard. I guess I have three more family members now.

I was rollerblading two days ago and I found this tiny frightened baby bird by the bike/blading path. Since so many people run their dogs through there, I thought that I better bring it home. There are many blackbirds in the area where I found it, so I assume that it is a blackbird.

I called Second Chance and they told me to feed it moistened dry dog food. Cat food has too much protein for a baby bird. I had no idea how often and how much these little guys eat (and poop too). I keep it in my lavatory by my home office. Every hour, it starts screeching and I have to hold it and feed. It is surprising how quickly it is becoming attached to me and it knows my voice already. In about 10 days, it should be able to fly so I can safely release "Bird".

About three months ago, I began seeing a skinny stray cat in my backyard eating some of the food that I put out for my raccoons. I spent a lot of time at the back screened door talking to the cat and tossing food to it. Then I made a bed for it under one of the deck benches and it actually began to use the bed.

Well, after about two months, I cannot go outdoors and sit down without the little cat jumping up in my lap. She even comes in and spends the night indoors when it rains. My old male cat, Ralph, tolerates her, but she annoys him when he is trying to sleep. He is 13 years old, so he spends a lot of time sleeping.

As friendly as the little cat is to me, she runs into to woods behind my house when anyone else walks out on the deck, even when I am there. The only one that she is not terrified of is my 80-year-old mother. I suppose there is some common quality to family members' voices that the little cat can sense.

I have never named the little cat. If you have a good idea for a name, let me know at the email address below.

These are my favorite little family members. These are two pregnant females that came in the early spring. When they are pregnant with or nursing three or four babies, they even come out in the afternoon to get food. The one with her mouth open is Elizabeth. She has been coming for several years and I suppose is now a grandmother. I can distinguish her by her markings and she is one of the few adults that is always talking.

It was 94 degrees outdoors and humid the other day. I had some old vanilla ice cream in the freezer that I was never going to eat, so I put it out for the babies. This is probably the first time that this little baby ever experienced cold ice cream on a hot day. Raccoons pretty much enjoy the same things that we people do.

The other morning, I put some food out on my deck for my little stray cat and I forget to bring the cat food bag in with me. The little cat crawled up into my lap and I sat out there for a while. I heard a few unusual noises, but I did not think anything of it so I came indoors.

A few minutes later, I heard all these crunching and baby sounds. I looked out the kitchen window and there were six baby raccoons all going to work on that cat food bag. I did not see a mother around, so I assume that she is no longer here. I have seen so many raccoons killed in the street, that one of them was probably the mother.

I went out onto the patio with them, staying about ten feet away. They were frightened at first, but they quickly came back and started eating again. I turned around and started to pull a few weeds from around my hosta. I felt something tickle my hand bracing myself behind me. It was a tiny baby raccoon that had come over to check me out. I guess he figured out that I was okay after sniffing my hand and went back to join the others in the cat food feast.

In the middle of the night, I am often awakened by the babies climbing up on my second floor deck off my bedroom (take an open house tour of my home). They get outside the sliding screen door and knock flower pots and various things around until they wake me. I know it only encourages them, but I have to give the cute little fellows another snack. I always keep a few cookies or some fruit up there.

If any of you have any interesting wild animal stories, please share them with me and others at animals@dulley.com.