Does Anything Else Matter?
From left: Beth Viney, PuppyUp Madison co-chair; Dr. Neil Christensen; Dr. Kai Shiu, PuppyUp Madison co-chair; and Ginger Morgan, Executive Director of the PuppyUp Foundation.
I was out wandering the woods on a May afternoon. It started to rain, and I was soon quite soaked. I love to be out when the rain falls on these spring days. The rain is cool and refreshing, and when the temperature is warm, like it is in May, it like giving the land a nice, cool bath.
I followed the old gas well road as it descends down a steep hill and then flows out into what we in the Allegheny Plateau call a “bench.” Benches are areas of relatively flat land that suddenly jut out from the steep hillsides. A bench is easy walking and a good place to search for game.
As I approached the bench, I came upon a stand of ferns, and just beyond the ferns stood something. It was a deep reddish color but shaped unlike any plant or animal I was accustomed to seeing. The shape revealed itself to be an animal when part of it moved, but my mind couldn’t register exactly what it was.
It suddenly dawned upon me that I had come across the first white-tail fawn of the season! It was about the size of a Yorkshire terrier, though with much longer legs, and I knew that I had to get a photo of it.
But as I approached, it realized I wasn’t its mother, and it trotted off into the undergrowth. As its instinct demanded, it dropped flat against the forest floor. It is this instinct that has kept white-tailed deer fawns alive through the millions of years that their kind has lived on this continent. The white dapples on the back actually break up its shape against the forest floor, especially if the sun is leaking down through the leaves.
However, it really doesn’t work when a person sees it drop down.
Because its instinct is not to run once it drops down, I was able to approach and get some nice close-ups.
To be able look upon a creature this little, this new, and this wild is truly a privilege.
White-tailed deer are quite elegant animals. They are such common creatures that most of us just ignore them until they eat our vegetables or run in front of our vehicles.
There are very few species of large game that are as adaptable as white-tailed deer. In North America, they do well because of human interference into the ecosystem, not in spite of it. We’ve reduced their predators to relict numbers, and in the East, we’ve killed off all the bison and wapiti (“elk) that would have out-competed them for browse.
This dappled fawn would not be without the risk of predators though. In these woods, there are coyotes, bobcats, and black bears that wouldn’t mind a bit of tender venison on a warm spring day.
I hope this little fawn made it. If only it could have dropped down tighter in the thicker cover, I wouldn’t have been able to see it.
The hope for little deer is the stillness by which they lie down against the forest floor and how well their camouflage and lack of scent hide them from wandering predators.
They are born as prey and live their lives as prey and usually die as prey.
It is a harrowing existence, but it begins so innocently, with the dappled ones lying close to the leaf litter, hidden away from prying eyes and quivering nostrils.
Hide and you will survive long enough until you have to bound and leap to survive. Live long enough for the rut and survive the winter, and your genes will in the next generation of dappled ones.
And that is how your kind has lived here all these millions of years. It has been an existence of fear and trepidation and constant danger.
But in our stupidity, we’ve made the world a better place for them.
Some predators will get a few, but in most of their range, they are no longer harried by wolves or stalked by cougars at all hours of the day and night.
But the fear that forged their kind is still there, and if they are to thrive the new world of coyotes and resurgent black bears, they will rely upon that fear to keep them going.
Let’s hope that the deer will always be afraid.
For their sake.
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As my regular readers know, I make an attempt to eat in a way that is healthy and balanced. I’m a big fan of plant-based foods, and I’m huge on smoothies. For a long time, I was making smoothies and/or juices every single morning. But then my baby became a toddler – which was accompanied by things like major breakfast messes, drawn out processes of pretty much everything (getting yourself and a 1.5 year old dressed in an efficient manner is near impossible), and morning lessons and play dates, all while trying to start my work day at a somewhat productive hour. Suddenly the prep time and subsequent clean up process that accompanied making daily smoothies felt like a hassle, and it fell to the bottom of my morning priority list. Before I knew it, I was only making them once or twice a week, and could usually be found cramming a piece of toast (more often that not, burnt) or a granola bar into my mouth as I quickly guzzled a cup of coffee.
I realized after a few weeks of this that I needed to find a healthier way to fuel my morning routine on days that I couldn’t commit to making smoothies or juices from scratch. At first, I tried making them the night before, but the consistency was often pretty unpleasant by morning. I also have a lot to cram into nights once the kid is asleep, and again, I watched the smoothie making fall to the bottom of the list. So I decided to go another route. I’d been a fan of Naked Juice (fresh juice blends of fruits and veggies with zero added sugars or preservatives) for years but hadn’t had one in a while, and when I heard about their newest juices, I decided to give them a try. I mean, you can’t get much more convenient than grabbing a bottle full of already prepared fruits, vegetables, and other healthy plant-based ingredients, and drinking as you go about your business, right?
It turns out that I made the the right move. You can now find a bottle of Berry Almond Nutmilk, Kale Blazer, or Chia Cherry Lime (or all three of them) in my fridge at all times. They are perfect for me on the days that I’m not able to make my own smoothies, not only because they’re major time savers, but because they’re packed full of ingredients that give me energy. They’re also all vegan and gluten-free. And they taste really, really good. Berry Almond Nutmilk is just like a dairy-free milkshake-style smoothie (with 11 grams of protein!). Each bottle contains 26 blueberries, 8 blackberries, 2 raspberries, 1 strawberry, 24 almonds, 1 3/4 apples and 1/3 banana! Kale Blazer is the perfect blend of greens: almost 6 kale leaves, 15 spinach leaves, cucumber, celery, oranges and apple with a hint of ginger and lemon. It’s 100% juice (and an excellent source of potassium and vitamins A and C). Chia Cherry Lime is super fruity and perfectly sweet, with 10,000 mg of chia seeds, 10 1/3 cherries, 3 2/3 apples, lime and plum. (In addition to being a great source of potassium, I love this one for its chia seeds – which provide Omega-3s, fiber, calcium, iron and some super-powered pep for when daily crunch time comes around.) I grab a bottle and sip it during our morning activities around the house, or bring a bottle with me on morning power walks or errands.
If you’re like me and, despite busy, rushed mornings, feel that it’s important to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet – but don’t always have the time to chop, slice, cook, or blend – I recommend giving Naked Juice a try. They’re so good you guys. And they’ve been around in 1983, with a commitment to creating nutritional beverages packed full of as much of Mother Nature’s bounty as possible into every bottle. Their newest products (including the three I mentioned above plus Bright Beets, Chia Sweet Peach, and Proteins & Greens, and Kale Blazer) offer a delicious blend of fruits and vegetables and pack a nutritional punch.
And now for the best part: Naked is giving one lucky Bubby and Bean reader six bottles of Naked Juice of your choice! To enter, just use the form below. Giveaway runs through July 7th. Winner will be randomly chosen shortly after and announced here on the blog, then send six vouchers. Good luck!
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Have you ever tried Naked Juice? How do you fuel your morning routine?
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