I thought I’d toss up a new, based on real happenings, Short Story.. cause I can….
Zen Mountain Playground
I often write about our wild kids’ playground, where the Moms drop off their wee ones to come and hang out in relative safety while they get a well deserved break.
I’ve been on this spot for close to three decades. Though I use to be fairly noisy when I would test and repair guns ( use to be a smith ). People got all twitchy feeling that anyone who owned guns, let alone being a gunsmith, made them bad people. I got tired of feeling like a criminal when I was simply making them safer ( citiots ). So things quieted down a lot…
For most of my hunting days, I was an archer anyway, so if I was target practicing, I still made no noise to speak of.
When I, and then we , are outside, we walk slower, talk quieter ( unless someone/ something pisses me off ) making the ” kids” feel more comfortable. IN , really, a short amount of time, the” kids” spent a lot of their time here. Laying around the buildings ,beings shade is all but nonexistent around the Homestead and eventually… Leaving the young ones to play.
Deer would let their fawns run rampant in singles or with their friends while the does would sleep under what trees we have or up in the Northern Grove They ,most all, got so use to Ma; my better half, and I roaming about that even when I am stacking wood at the wood shed, or walking back and forth to outbuildings or rigs, they just look up. It isn’t uncommon for me to have to ask bucks, does or fawns to move so I can get into a building. When apples are on, they will stand by the fenced ” orchard area and wait for me to toss them “appules”… Or even stand just outside the main entry, as they know that when there is overage, that’s where they are and eventually, I will walk out the door.
Our coyote pack to the South East; Limpy’s pack, will send in their young to learn to walk the trails and hunt, as well as the ins and outs of “The Pit” and the wood piles. They know that they are, maybe on the edge of their run, but in it and safe from other packs as well as cougar or wolves…Not to mention, I am generally watching. When Ma is out on the porch, she babysits for all the kids. Each Early Summer, we have a new coyote kid in training. The rest of the pack hunts lower, down in our South Grove area. The new kids will come through , mousing and hitting the known food sources. Any wood rats get taken out and are readily available for the coyote kids and well as the CawCaw kids.
The CawCaw kids are our Raven pair and any young they have as well as a Murder of Crows.; generally around a dozen. The ravens are usually pretty quiet, but the crows get worked up, especially at the brush pile. There is always something going on there.
BobkatKitty always brings her young through early on when we are outside. She’ll run them right past the steps and stop for us to Ooohh and Ahh before they head out and again after they’ve grown a bit . They play around the house as well,, because the playground is for all the kids..even if the only hunting is by the raptors, other than mousing or clearing up what Ma and I leave for them.
Dennis, one of the coyote kids, has been in the immediate yard with multiple bunnies at the same time without any problems.. keeping in mind, it IS Dennis.
You can find most if not all the stories under, funnily enough, Zen’s Short Stories .
The ” Kids” are no where near tame, nor would we try to tame them.. They are wild and absolutely hate it when there are new people around here.. Though, they do come to visit when our girl and grandbaby visit… Go figure.
The kids that are always pretty offish are our elk…. Some time back now, we had family up and the brother-in-law wasn’t happy enough looking at a herd of elk out the window at 20 yards, nooooooooo, he ACTUALLY ran out the door to ” get closer” ; Citiot! The elk took off and did not come close again for a decade… Thanks Man…
Now, however, as no one visits up here…can’t blame them, have you met me? The elk are back fairly often and, as a first; Mama let her kid come up on her own to play at the Playground.
Are you my Mother?
The three month old elk calf came trotting up over the berm , looking around, excitement in her eyes. Her very first time on her own at the playground.. She was , indeed, a big girl now.. and full of mischief.
Looking around the six acres and change playground, her ears drooped a bit when she saw there were no other kids to play with, so , snooping it is.
“ Well….Poop… I already know this place and no one to play with , There’s Ma Hi Ma!.. and Da.. Hi Da! Where is everybody?”
“ Well Hi little One. Where’s you Mom?”
“ Ohhhh Everyone is over in the fields below. Mama said I could come play bescause you guys were watching.”
“ Ah.. SO, we are babysitting then.”
“ No-uh I’na Big Girl. I don’t need a babysitter.. But you need to watch me or I have to go back.”
I laughed and Ma smiled at her. “ Ok. We wont babysit, but, we’ll watch.”
“Ok. Oooooohhh.. Lookie! Hi Bunnie!”
Bunnie had been running up from the South woodpile, heading up to the wood shed to the North. She would run like crazy until she got to a post, look around, on to the next and repeat. Running as hard as she could, she hid under the tree….. ” Tree? When did we get a tree here?” Bunnie looked at the hairy trunks. “Hairy trunks?” She slowly started looking up.. and up.. and up aaaand got licked between the eyes. “ Pew Pew, bleh flaahh.. What the ….?” She was staring into the nose of the young calf. ” Holy Cow!”
“ Umm, I’na calf. My mama is a cow. HI! My name is Shawni What’s yours?”
“ Rrrrrrriiight.. Umm.. Hi Shawni. I am New Bunnie.” Bunnie looked over at me, rolling her eyes. “ Bescause, that’s what Da named me.” Looking mildy put out.
“ Wow… Inspirational name Da.” Shawni said as she looked over at me as well.
I shrugged, “ Seriously, we get like a million bunnies.. I am just not that creative.”
The two looked at me , stony- faced , then at each other and shrugged.
Bunnie looked to the north and grinned a wicked little grin. “ Wanna have some fun?”
“ I was born to be wild. What’s up?”
“ Deer coming in. See? a couple of the does and Big Buck.”
“ Yup. Sooo what’s the fun part?”
“ Come closer so I can whisper in your ear.” Bunnie said, trying not to hop with excitement.
Shawni grinned and nodded her head. She turn to look at us,” I’m just going to see the deers ok?”
“ Yup… Don’t be causin’ no troubles now.”
The two slowly shook their heads in unison .
I looked to Ma..” Oh oh.. That is definitely trouble causing faces.“
Ma grinned. “ Oh, it’ll be fun, no matter what those two will get up to.”
Shawni started walking towards the deer. The does stopped, and watched. Big Buck, didn’t pay any attention as he continued in.
“ Hiiiiiii. I’m Shawni.” The calf announced to the does.
“ Hi Shawni. I’m Ceena , and this is my sister Shay. What are you up to?”
“ No good. According to Da.”
“ Hmmm, well , have fun.” The two giggled and headed off towards the mineral block and the water.
Shawni walked up to Big Buck. He stopped, looking at her and stood on his tip toes, trying to look down on the three month old calf who stood taller than he did and nearly four years old.
“ Hi!” Shawni burst out.
“ Hmmmpphh” Big Buck said, flattening his ears.
“ HI!” Shawni repeated, a little louder , then pulled off an ear to ear grin… that made me nervous even up on the porch.
Big Buck took a step back.. “ Uhh Hi.” Making an attempt to walk around her.
Shawni stepped in front of him again. “ Hi!”
Big Buck began to glare at her, steeping, once again to the side to walk around her.
Shawni, keeping in step, was once again, in front of him. “ Hi!”
Bunnie was rolling on the ground next to the junipers laughing as she watched. Turning to Ma and I she said “Just wait. It’s going to get way better.”
Big Buck sagged and answered the calf, “ Hi. What can I do for you?”
Shawni grin , somehow even wider. Then drawled out, “ Are you my mother?”
Big Buck involuntarily took two steps back, spluttering “ Wait. Well Whatnow?”
Bunnie’s eyes popped as she laughed uncontrollably, trying to breath between gasping laughs.
Shawni took a few steps closer while Big Buck all but ran backwards, eyes budging, ears back, panic written all over his face. “ I said….. Are.. You.. My.. Mommy? “
“ I..Uh.. Oh HELL NO..I mean..” He began as he watched Alligator tears rolling off Shawni’s cheeks, all the while, she closed the gap between them.
Even from the porch, I could see the corner of her lips twitching as she tried to keep a straight face.
Big Buck’s terror at both being thought of as her mom and thinking he hurt her feelings, not to mention what her mom would say if he upset her. Stumbling as he backed, landing on his butt, he backed into the one and only patch of brush in the playgrounds. “ I.. but.. I mean.. I … I’m a boy. Not a girl.. I’m a b-b-b- buck.. Oh No, you.. I … I mean..” At this point, the does were trying not to laugh as they shook their heads. Bunnie was slapping her front paws on the ground and kicking in the air, gasping as she had completely lost control. Ma and I couldn’t help but laugh any time Big Buck looked away from us, then get stony once again when he did look our way.
The Buck’s ears finally flatten once again as he caught the gleam in Shawni’s eyes. “ Oh! That was NOT funny!”
“ Pretty funny.” Shawni said
Bunnie could only point and laugh. Ma and I breaking up as did the does.
“ Ok.. I officially HATE you ALL.” Big Buck said as stomped off………. Then slowly turned around….” Crap.. I need some water.” He slowly walked back in, trying not to look at anyone, mumbling to himself about bratty kids.
Shawni smiled at all of us, making her way back to the yard area to hang with Bunnie while Big Buck made sure to keep his back to them both. The two kids were laughing , making attempted high-fives without Shawni mushing Bunnie in the attempt.
By this time, Lass and Hollywood had come back around to the Hummie Feeders and were enjoying the entertainment. They, as a pair, made their way over to Shawni to say Hi. They both already knew her as ANYONE around the Homestead is under their watch.
“ Hi Lass. Hi Hollywood. Did you see?”
They both nodded. “ Yup, we caught the end. “ Lass giggled.
“ I hate you guys too.” grumbled Big Buck.
“ Oh, just, whatever. Grumpy Butt.” Lass laughed.
The , now four, hung around chatting as I grin and headed inside chuckling and shaking my head.
As I walked through the door, I laughed,
“ and so goes Just another day on Zen Mountain.”