Oh, Deer

The house we are renting has large windows, and the windows want washing, inside and out.  First I wasted a whole bottle of Windex and a whole roll of paper towels, having poked around in the closets looking for a proper squeegee, and finding none.  The dogs watched me going at the windows the whole time. I thought I was being interesting. It was the deer in the yard, though, that was the interesting part, and as I came in, out went Captain for a long, deer-chasing romp.
Later, I made for the closest hardware store I know of, in the near-ish town of Cross River. The hardware store makes keys, sells paint, and has the parts of your running toilet that will make it stop running. Like so many of the small hardware stores you find in strip-malls, it’s packed to the rafters with merchandise. I always find that you walk in and ask the guy behind the counter. Don’t bother looking for yourself. I was shown a few options, and picked a squeegee for which one must provide a handle. The clerk found a couple of possibilities for the pole, none of them perfect, but he did secure the pole to the squeegee with a screw, charging me for neither the pole nor the screw. Along the way, I got a bit of history (the upstairs of the store used to be the screening room of the old movie theater), and some predictions for snow this winter.
In Westchester County, deer (and black bear) can be hunted only by bow, and the season is from October 15thto December 31st. I have already met one man who has permission to hunt on this land.  The deer here are certainly plentiful, and a danger to motorists. I see them every morning when I walk the dogs to get the paper, all day when I look out the windows, every afternoon when I walk the dogs on the road, and every day when I am out driving.  There was a large doe killed recently on Cat Ridge Road, where I walk.  One of its hind legs was broken in the accident, and stuck out from its body at a disturbing angle. It happened on Friday night, and the carcass had been removed by Monday midday. Scavengers had only just started to make progress on it.
The deer here in Westchester seem well adapted to seeing people and cars and trucks, and give everything a good, long, dumb stare before walking or running away.  There is a group that I have seen grazing dully at the margins of the Taconic Thruway near Lagrangeville. The speed limit is 50 mph, but many people seem to take that as a polite suggestion, like flossing daily or changing your smoke-detector batteries twice a year. The one thing that seems to make deer try to leap high and run fast is my knuckleheaded dogs; they charge at deer, barking furiously in frustration, running as fast as they can with no plan for maneuvering over the stone walls that the deer hop over without much visible effort.  Maybe if deer made more noise I would respect them more.
My landlord informs me that he likes seeing the crows and ravens and vultures and eagles that come if the bow hunters leave the entrails after gutting a deer.  As a dog owner, the possibility of my dogs getting into rotting deer entrails is pretty scary, but it is not nearly as scary as the prospect of preventing any and all Vizsla escapes from October 15thto December 31st, from dawn to dusk.  I am pretty sure that Vizslas look as much like white-tail deer as any dog can.  

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Snakes are easy pets.  They eat infrequently, and their poop, while nasty, also occurs infrequently.  They require water and special lights on a timer, and a good secure, escape-proof cage.  They appreciate a place to hide, a log to bask on, and being left alone.  You do have to buy a particular kind of bark mulch, because some mulch has naturally occurring chemicals in it that is bad for snakes.  I am busy and unwilling to learn the details of which mulch, relying instead upon the packaging to show me a picture of a corn snake on the bag of mulch.  Once, after buying a bag of the appropriate mulch, I dumped it into the snake’s cage only to find that there was a baby snake in it.  Now I think of myself as an unsqueamish person, but a surprise snake made me scream.  I went and found the house-painter, who was way up a ladder outside and made him hold Basil while I figured out what to do with the stow-away.  The painter was not even politely happy about it.  In the end, we got him his own cage, and named him Moses because clearly he had been trying to lead his kind to freedom.  Moses was no bigger than a pencil, and very wild.  He looked very much like Basil, and for that matter the corn snake on the bag of mulch he came in.  No doubt he found his way there having escaped his cage.