I love found money. Money I didn’t know I had but that just appears. Sometimes it’s in the form of a rebate or a refund. I have been part of two class action lawsuits in my life. One was for a water heater, the other for a health insurance company. The water heater manufacturer went busted and I stayed in the bankruptcy loop for a few months. The insurance company settled with the plaintiffs. After an exciting announcement from the lawyers, I got my part of the settlement: $17.86. We dined at Whataburger that night.
I love found time, too. Those are times that put me together with people I love. Times when I thought I was going to have to work but got reprieve or when I re-shuffle my priorities and see who, not what, is on top. There have been mental health days with the kids where we snuggled and read, watched sit-com re-runs and snacked all day. Jack and I started out for the hardware store one Saturday and ended up at the San Antonio Zoo. That was in sobriety and the day is a snapshot I like to pull out and admire.
I got found time with Bob on Saturday. He was feeling puny, at the tail end of stomach flu, and came home early from work. After a few hours of rest, he and I headed to his friend’s place near Bayside to load deer feeders and check the scenery. The creek provided a natural boundary for the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company after 1871. The name of the creek comes from chilipitín (from Mexican Spanish chiltipiquín), the small, wild red peppers that grow in my garden and at one time, along the creek, too.
The drought has affected wild life in the area. Most of the sloughs are dry. There were animal tracks evident in the muck where prey and predator searched for water.
Bob loaded the deer feeders, replaced batteries, and set timers to get the poor deer attracted to an area so they could be shot. I was raised in south Texas and never heard about deer feeders until I was an adult and GE went to a hunting lease with her dad. (“Oh, how nice. You guys feed the deer.”) “Mom. They feed them so they can kill them.”
Just about every place in south Texas sells deer corn, even Stripes and O’Reilly’s. I’d never needed to notice that fact before last year. The cost of corn has increased from last year to this year. It’s about $11 a 50 lb sack at H.E.B.’s. Bob ran out of corn and we went into Sinton to buy more. The man at the Sinton Feed Store said he expects the drought to push prices of deer corn up to $15 a sack. (It’s cheap still at $11.80.)
When we pulled around to the back of the store so the man could help Bob load the deer corn, we made an interesting find. Let me say that I would never make this kind of interesting find left to my own devices. Bob, however, is a friendly fellow and starts conversations with any likely prospect. I would say that he would make conversation with a statue but that would only be true if the statue had a compound bow or possible insider hunting savvy.
His friendliness is how we found out about the rising deer corn prices and how we got to visit with the baby deer that they are raising in a pen at the back of the warehouse. They have 3 deer now. One of them came out of the wild, her mom killed by a car. The other two are part of TAMU genetics study and their moms rejected them. So the 3 will live for a few more months in Sinton. In time, they will release the wild deer into the local brush country. The other two will go back to the deer breeding program. Interesting note is that they are all about the same age, but the bred deer are noticeably bigger than the wild grown deer.
It is so dry in south Texas that the alligator are bunking together. There were 17 gators that Bob counted in one little pond.
Of the state’s 3,700 streams, 15 major rivers and more than 200 reservoirs at least seven reservoirs are effectively empty and more than half of the streams and rivers are at below normal flow rates. The drought has a domino effect on the wildlife here in south Texas. Drying ponds reduce fish populations, animals migrate to find water, fewer plants mean fewer insects.
Lynn Cuny, the founder of the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, said on a San Antonio news report (WOAI-TV) that “(animals) don’t have the water sources they had some months ago, and they don’t have the food sources…They are thirsty right now, so you can imagine walking and walking and walking and there’s just no water.” The animal rescue has saved 7,000 animals this year, housing baby squirrels, doves, and pigeons that their mothers abandoned. Cuny said more than likely the animal mothers went to search for food and starved to death.
The day ended too soon and we got back to the reality of meetings and housework. I know that I can sit still, though, and watch wildlife with Bob. I with my camera and sketch pad; Bob with his weapons of mass deer-struction. (Thanks for the pun, Bob!)