Tue 28 Nov 2006
So you managed to find your way down here. Come on in. Welcome to my digs.
Keeping a log on the web (i.e. a blog) is a bit like keeping a log on a ship. It includes both a journal of one’s trip through life and reports on significant events along the way.
How a web log came to be called a blog, by the way, reflects the whimsy that has long characterized those who gambol on the World Wide Web of the Internet. A blogger named Jorn Barger coined the term in a Dec. 17, 1997, entry on his site, jokingly turning “web log” into “we blog.” And who is Jorn Barger? Wikipedia reports he is editor of “Robot Wisdom,” has taught at Northwestern, once lived at The Farm (Stephen Gaskin’s commune in Tennessee), has written articles criticized as anti-Semitic, and as far back as 1994 offered us bloggers the cautionary observation: “The more interesting your life becomes, the less you post… and vice versa.”
If Barger is right, however, blogging is unique among all the forms of storytelling. When most of us encounter something interesting, we can’t wait to tell others about it.
And that’s what this blog will mostly consist of: stories, comments, and photography that reflect my life and interests as a resident of Point Reyes Station. The purpose of this site is not to be an alternative to The Point Reyes Light, which I formerly owned, although it will periodically comment on the newspaper and, when need be, set the record straight.
But basically I’m more interested in events such as occurred Tuesday morning, Nov. 21, in Chileno Valley. As it happened, I was called upon to be a liaison between six orphaned fawns and two ranchers.
In a facility at her home, Susan Sasso of Olema had raised and rehabilitated the five small bucks and one doe on behalf of WildCare, the San Rafael nonprofit. She does it yearly, and it can be grueling work, feedings every four hours seven days a week when the fawns are newborn — sometimes every two hours when they’re sick. But by last week, the fawns at last were old enough to be released back into nature, and Susan asked me to contact two friends in Chileno Valley. The friends generously agreed to allow the deer to be released on their ranch. They themselves don’t hunt, and their ranch is large enough that the deer can wander over hill and dale without leaving the property. (The ranchers, by the way, have asked me to withhold their names lest I draw hunters to their land.)
The trick was getting the fawns from Olema to Chileno Valley. Early that Tuesday, Susan and another WildCare volunteer, Cindy Dicke also of Olema, gave the fawns injections to sedate them. Mike Vincilione of Point Reyes Station arrived in a pickup truck with camper shell, and the sleeping deer were loaded onto mats and towels in the truckbed. The drive to Chileno Valley took about 40 minutes, with Cindy riding among the deer.
The release itself went amazingly smoothly. Mike drove across a ranch bridge to a pasture bordered by a creek, and there each fawn was lifted gently out of the truck and laid on the grass.
Cindy then gave them all wake-up shots, and the fawns quickly revived. Some were wobbly enough when they first tried to stand that they had to be steadied lest they fall and injure themselves, but this lasted only for a minute or two.
Within roughly 10 minutes, five of the fawns were grazing while one of the bucks kept trying to mount another. It’s not about sex; it’s about domination, Susan explained. (“Just like they say about prison,” remarked computer guru Keith Matthews of Point Reyes Station when I recounted the incident.)
The fawns have now been on the ranch a week and appear to feel at home — to the point where the domineering buck tried to mount one of the ranchers. “When that happens,” Susan told her, “just slap him.” The other fawns are more leery of humans, and after a few more slaps, the lecherous buck probably will be too.
Most of the fawns brought to Susan are too weak to survive, and she loses far more than she saves. Within a year, cars and hunters may kill many of the deer she raises. Nor does West Marin have any shortage of blacktail deer. So why does Susan spend so much time and effort saving the few she can? Susan puts in the long hours simply because she is a humane person. Most of us feel sorry for sick and injured wildlife when we encounter it although we typically don’t see a way to help. Susan has found a way. And lest anyone imagine Susan has some New Age sense of humanity toward sufferers that aren’t human, I should note the “Humane” Society was founded in 1954 and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 130 years earlier