Strange Who You May Meet On The Internet!

I recently met another “Shirley.” Actually, I didn’t meet her in person, I learned about her while surfing the internet. I don’t remember how I found the site that tells about her. I do know, though, that I wasn’t looking for “Shirleys.” One computer entry after another and I began to read about her. She has lived a rather extraordinary life. But before we begin her story, I want to tell you a few facts I know about her.

Shirley stands nine feet tall and weighs 8,180 pounds. By now, I’m sure you’ve guessed that she is an elephant. Why anyone would name an elephant, Shirley, I can’t

Shirley, the circus performer.

Shirley, the circus performer.

imagine. She was a circus performer, so I wondered if someone may have named her after another performer, Shirley Temple. She was  born in Sumatra, Indonesia, in 1948 and was captured in the wild in 1953. She became the property of the Kelly and Miller Bros. Circus. That makes her 67 years old. I wanted to mention her age because the readers of last week’s Shirl and You seemed disappointed to read of the short lifespan of the average white-tailed deer.

Shirley is a survivor. During a succession of zoo and circus owners, she became a traveler. In 1963, she was on board a circus ship that caught fire while docked at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. She was among the three Asian elephants that were rescued from the vessel. She, along with rescued tigers. lamas and leopards are remembered as marching through the town to safety. Two animals were killed in the incident. The survivors were loaded on trucks and driven to the United States. It’s reported that during this trip the elephant trailer was in a traffic accident. It wasn’t until recent years that the residents of Yarmouth learned that one of the elephants from the circus ship, still survives.

While entertaining audiences all over the world, Shirley spent 24 years of her life with the Carson and Barnes Circus. As a side note, she was in Havana, Cuba, in 1958, when Fidel Castro seized power. She and the entire circus were held captive, for several weeks, before being set free.

Unfortunately at age 28, while performing for the Lewis Brothers Circus. she was

Here you can see Shirley's deformed leg.

Here you can see Shirley’s deformed rear leg.

attacked by a bull elephant and her hind leg was seriously broken. It didn’t heal properly, leaving everyday life somewhat difficult for her. She was then sold to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe, LA. For twenty two years she lived there. Usually, female elephants live in groups but because of her injury she lived alone, kept apart from other elephants. Her keeper, Solomon James, helped provide a loving environment for her, until the zoo decided she would lead a healthier life in a natural habitat. That’s when they contacted “The Elephant Sanctuary,” in Hohenwald, TN. No visitors/tourists there means the elephants can live their lives as elephants. They are provided with heated barns, but many elephants choose to sleep/live outside and wander the acreage. Shirley is now bonding with other elephants and is free to roam in open fields.

Her story does not end here. What was once a dismal life for Shirley, is now changed.

Jenny and Shirley showing affection.

Jenny and Shirley showing affection for each other.

Another memorial day was when Jenny, another crippled elephant entered the sanctuary. Twenty-two years ago, Shirley had acted as a surrogate mother to Jenny. It was an intense and unforgettable meeting between the two former circus elephants.

Shirley is featured in a TV documentary, “The Urban Elephant,” produced by National Geographic. It tells the story of captive pachyderms.The meeting between old friends, Shirley and Jenny, is featured in the film.. After viewing it, most people will be convinced that we humans really underestimate the intelligence and emotions of animals.

Shirley’s life story continues. Although Jenny is no longer living, she is very close with an elephant named Bunny. Now I ask, “who would name an elephant, Bunny?” Sounds like another story, doesn’t it?

Journey Behind A White-Tail!

Hunters spotting white-tailed deer wearing bright orange collars with big yellow tags in their ears can be assured that they are not dressed for Halloween but have been

Unusual photo of a deer and his wildlife friends. Note the tag in his ear.

selected for a study that has been underway for sometime revealing the movement of these creatures in Pennsylvania. One deer, who wasn’t named, but rather given the number 8917, was chosen at Bald Eagle State Forest and was under surveillance for two years.

I’ve decided to name this fellow and am calling him, “Swifty.” Their swift, graceful movements have always impressed me as every year we watch some of “Swifty’s cohorts” make our yard one of their favorite pastures. When chosen for this study,”Swifty” was an adult buck. You’ve probably already guessed that the use of a GPS makes these projects possible. In order to allow the GPS to be placed around his neck, “Swifty” was darted with a tranquilizer gun and when he awoke he was ready to be part of an interesting project. By the way, hunters are asked not to harvest deer wearing orange collars, other deer, also part of the study, but wearing brown collars, may be harvested.

We’ve all become fans of the GPS. Nearly everyone of us puts one to use when planning a trip. With the information it supplies us, we are able to drive right to our

The collar can be clearly seen in this photo.

The collar can be clearly seen in this photo.

location’s door step. The GPS worn by “Swifty” works the same way ours do. His collar receives a signal from a satellite, then a computer communicates with each GPS collar to retrieve movement data that is stored in the collar’s memory. It is interesting to see graphs showing “Swifty’s” movements, but what was learned did not surprise me. It was pretty boring because he basically bopped around a core home range of under one square mile. And this is where the deer spends most of his time throughout the year.

At our house we feel certain we are seeing the same deer day after day, our headlights catching them eating grass in our yard at night. They eat more than grass, much more. I’m sure it’s the same deer we seeing eating apples under the

He may be hard to see among the plants, but when he leaves, damage is clearly visible.

He may be hard to see among the plants, but when he leaves, damage is clearly visible.

neighbor’s tree, and the hoof prints in my flower beds attest to them savoring a varied diet. This year they especially were fond of my roses. (If I were a deer that’s probably what I would choose, too.) There are very few plants they don’t like. My Hosta plants are constantly being pruned to the ground. Chrysanthemums remain untouched. Some think the deer may be coming nocturnal, only coming out at night, but here we see them both day and night. Rather the studies will prove this to be true is yet to be seen. I must say I have found a spray that will discourage the deer from feeding in my garden. It’s called Liquid Fence, but you do have to remember to use it every few days. It’s scent would turn anyone away from a garden that should smell good.

I must confess I do get disgusted with the deer and can’t help but be concerned about the ticks they carry. But every year when hunting season arrives, I know with certainty that many of our white-tailed friends will be harvested, that is unless they are smart like “Swifty” was. His study shows deer that survive the rifle season have a special hiding place. Usually on the top of a ridge where the prevailing wind from the west will let them know when danger approaches and where they can quickly jump off the side of the ridge and escape. “Swifty” was followed through two hunting seasons.

Except for his moseying round the same, small area, his movements became nonstop during the rut (breeding season). This lasts during October and November.

It’s interesting to watch the graphs designating his movements back and forth over his core home range. But, one day “Swifty” did the unpredictable, once in June he visited

This graph shows the deer's movements, mainly in a small area.

This graph shows the deer’s movements, mainly in a small area.

the far northern ridge outside of his home range, then never visited it again. However, there was another long range move. During a 12 hour period he traveled over 5 miles and over a mile in elevation. In the two years “Swifty’s” movements were monitored, he returned to this far away spot. After that, his movements were no longer detected. No one knows why, but he had picked this spot to die.

I know my husband will say, “what a terrible way to end your blog.” And I am sorry, but two to three years is the average deer’s life span. If some consolation, if he happened to be one of those deer that settled in my yard, he had a lovely place to live and a very, varied diet.

You haven’t heard from me in some time and I’ve missed hearing from you. So please write with your comments.

Trying Something Different!

What is old-time music? My husband and I recently learned that it is a special genre of music, centering on a combination of fiddle and plucked string instruments and there

Jamming was an activity enjoyed by all.

Jamming was an activity enjoyed by all.

are summer camps devoted to teaching this music. “ Aw haw,” my husband thought. “Maybe there’s help for me in learning to play the fiddle.” It was his Christmas gift, and it was proving to be not as simple to learn as the dulcimer, ukulele, accordion, harmonica and other instruments he already plays. A little more research and we turned up an old-time music camp to be held in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina at Mars Hill University. We enrolled for a week’s training at the school. Yes, me, too!.

I think you are already aware that over twenty years ago, my husband built me a

A stop of one of look outs.

A stop of one of look outs.

dulcimer. It was time for me to learn to play it. Burl was set for fiddle classes and I enrolled in dulcimer classes. The first week in June, we packed up our bedding and clothes, put the instruments in the car, and headed for Mars Hill, North Carolina. We loved traveling through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and appreciated their beauty and the town of Mars Hill captured our hearts. If it weren’t for the college, the town probably wouldn’t be there. There was only a short Main Street and the college book store claimed much of the retail space.

Mars Hill University, a liberal-arts college, was founded in 1856. During the American Civil War it closed for two years. It started as the French Broad Baptist Institute, sharing

Beautiful campus at Mars Hill Univresity.

Beautiful campus at Mars Hill Univresity.

a name with the nearby French Broad River. In 1859, however, it changed its name to Mars Hill, in honor of the hill in ancient Athens on which the Apostle Paul debated Christianity with the city’s leading philosophers. Through the years, the college has struggled with financial and physical growth, but that is not so now. The campus boasts of a new dormitory, science building, upgraded athletic facilities and a school of nursing is under construction. It was these beautiful facilities at which Blue Ridge Old-Time Week would be held and we would be there, staying in a dormitory.

We were assigned our room which held two single beds, a desk and a closet.

Burl and I at dinner

Burl and I at dinner

We expected to share the bath facilities, just outside our room’s door, but this dormitory building was set up as suites. Each suite had bedrooms at each end, with kitchen, living facilities between. Only one bedroom at each end was assigned students, meaning the bath facilities were our own. The first thing we did, was make a trip to Wal-Mart to buy a foam top for each bed. We slept like “bugs in a rug.” The dorm was air conditioned, too, another surprise. And yet another, was the delicious food we were served in the cafeteria.

Each morning we’d say goodbye as my husband headed to his class and I to mine.

Here I'm getting a private lesson from teacher, Lloyd Wright.

Here I’m getting a private lesson from teacher, Lloyd Wright. He is a national winner as a dulcimer player.

Classes were held in the college classrooms and each student walked through well-cared-for grounds to reach his class. Lunch time and we’d meet again, then on to harmony singing class, in which we both participated. Night time featured jamming sessions which were our choice. Some of the world’s best musicians served as teachers here, and were featured at evening concerts.

So here we were in an environment rather new to us. We are seniors, but so were many of the others. Camaraderie was enjoyed by everyone and it was so much fun. Old-time music represents perhaps the oldest form of North American traditional music, other than Native American music. It centered around the fiddle and banjo and these instruments were prominent at the event.

Did we return home accomplished musicians? No, it takes years to play any instrument well. We did learn new tunes. Such songs ( such as “Soldier’s Joy”) is found in most old time repertoires and sure enough I found it among my dulcimer music. Both of us were beginners at our instruments but we do believe our skills have improved.

Playing by ear or rote were the methods of learning promoted here, the very way the old

Burl, left, is pictured with his fiddle class.His teach, Michael Ismerio sits next to him, Donna Turner and Scott.

Burl, left, is pictured with his fiddle class.His teacher, Michael Ismerio sits next to him, Donna Turner and Scott Whitney,  are to the right.

time musicians played. This requires much repetition, better known as practice. At fiddle class end, Burl’s arm was about ready to drop off, or so it felt. He still hears his teacher saying “saw, stroke, saw, stroke, up and down and saw stroke,” over and over again and an admonition that went like this, “Burl look at me, you’re not looking at me.” We may not have quite developed a passion for old time music. But, this may come before this summer ends. We have scheduled another trip, in August, to a music camp in Maine. This time, accommodations are more primitive, in bunk houses with no running water, heat or lights. (we’ll be in our camper). Maybe this time, “we’ve bite off more than we can chew.” I’ll let you know! In the meantime, I encourage you to try something new, this summer.

Donna Turner and I at one of the evenings entertainment.

Donna Turner and I at one of the evenings entertainment.

Another class in session.

Another class in session at the harmony singers.

Here I am, to the left in dulcimer class.

Here I am, to the left, at a jamming session.

Bloom Right Where You Are!!

It’s been a beautiful spring for blossoms in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Most of the fruit

The Rhododendrons are now in full bloom.

The Rhododendrons are now in full bloom.

trees’ blossoms are finished and now we are enjoying rhododendrons and azaleas. Another tree most people pay no heed to, is the locust tree which is blooming now and can be seen everywhere in Wyoming Valley.

It used to be that the black locust was considered the strongest timber in North America and helped build Jamestown and was used by the navy in the War of 1812, in ship building. Today, few Americans have heard of it. The nation’s taste in ornamental trees has changed and these are seldom planted along with the catalpas and tulip poplars. We have all three of these growing in our yard and the huge locust tree in the front yard of the home in which we raised our family, has sentimental value to us.

This tree is a century old. It stands over 80 feet tall and to add to its antiquity it has a number of huge burls on its trunk and is 5 feet in diameter. The locust bark makes deep furrows, spines grow on twigs, and it forms seed pods. Locusts would still be considered as valuable timber trees but are now often stunted and diseased by locust borers.

I teased my husband. “Why did your family call you, Burl? Didn’t they know that burls

This is an example of a burl sawed and ready for use in making unique furniture.

This is an example of a burl sawed and ready for use in making unique furniture.

are formed when a tree is undergoing some form of stress? It’s a malignancy!” He laughed and then reminded me that he was named Burleigh. I found it interesting that tree burls are prized for their beauty and rarity and are sought after by furniture makers, artists and wood sculptors, especially if they are redwood or curly maple. As I was typing this Shirl and You, and my husband walked by I said, “Burl, I want to get your photo by the burl.” He didn’t respond.

Back to why that huge locust tree holds sentimental value to us. When my husband’s grandfather, Charles E. Updyke, decided to leave Courtdale, Pennsylvania, he piled his locust trees 9family of six, including wife, Barbara and four children, (two more were born later) into his horse drawn wagon and made his way out to Sweet Valley where they moved into an old homestead on Main Road. The wagon was backed up to the house’s side porch where their belongings were unloaded. My husband’s father, Fred, one of their boys, was only three years old at the time and remembered that the then, very young locust tree, was bent to the ground under the wagon. If Fred were living today, he would be 104 years old. He died at 79, but the young locust tree still survives.

There is another locust tree, standing tall and erect, nearly as tall as the elder one. And

These beautiful, scented blooms belong to the black locust tree.

These beautiful, scented blooms belong to the black locust tree.

we often wondered how that one got established, in our side yard. It was just a number of years ago, that we heard the full story. As a young boy, one of our sons, born in 1955, was mowing our lawn when he saw it sprouted there. He mowed around it, and watched it grow taller with each mowing. He grew up loving trees, although I don’t think a locust tree is growing in his yard.

Here’s an interesting twist to the locust tree story. It is said that the tree was named by a Jesuit missionary, who fancied that this was the tree whose fruit supported St. John in the

A woman poses with a locust between her teeth at a discovery lunch in Brussels September 20, 2012. Organisers of the event, which included cookery classes, want to draw attention to insects as a source of nutrition. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (BELGIUM - Tags: FOOD SOCIETY)

A woman poses with a locust between her teeth.

wilderness. Although there is supposedly a locust tree growing in the Mediterranean basin, it was not the black locust tree, I write about here. Although we may prefer to think that St. John ate the fruit of a tree, rather than the winged, insect, they are mentioned as food throughout the Bible. Awful visitations of them swept over Egypt. The devastation they made and still make in Eastern lands is very appalling.

The black locust is early America. The Indians made bows from them and it is

Indians made their bows out of locust branches.

Indians made their bows out of locust branches.

suggested that they may have exported them here. The colonists wrote that “they found them planted by the dwellings of the savages.” History also tells us that only little hovels were built until the strength of locust tree poles was realized and that some of these posts are still standing.

So, how do I end this Shirl and You? When the good qualities of the locust tree are listed, it’s beautiful, scented blossoms are left unmentioned. They were the whole reason for my writing about this tree. I decided to end with these words, “Bloom where you,” rather it be in Pennsylvania or the holy lands. God had reason for creating trees or flying insects and for creating YOU.

I’d love to hear your comments on this Shirl and You. Look for the photo of Burl standing by the burl!

This is my Burl (my husband) posing beside the Black Locust's big burl.

This is my Burl (my husband) posing beside the Black Locust’s big burl.

Here's of photo shoot of the old locust tree growing by the homestead's side porch.

Here’s of photo shoot of the old locust tree growing by the homestead’s side porch.



Does Your Mirror Lie?

In this day and age when we don’t know who or what to believe, surely something we

Can't trust our mirrors, either?

Can’t trust our mirrors, either?

trust, day after day, hasn’t let us down! That something is the mirror we look into numerous times a day. Granted our image is reversed in the mirror. Your right eye is now your left eye, etc. The backward image and person we see in the mirror is profoundly different from what is real. Here’s an experiment. To find your actual mirror image take two mirrors and place them at right angles. This is a mirror that reflects you as others see you. Our mirrors shows one perspective but to really see what we look like we must see ourselves through the eyes of a friend. This is far to complicated for me to understand, but it may be the answer to why we often hate photographs taken of us. A camera sees a version of us we rarely see.

I must say this is helping me understand why someone will rave on about how good a photo is of me, one I don’t like at all. Here’s the advice given to me: “Trust your friend, because they know more what you look like than you do.”

Have you seen the 3-minute video produced by Dove and entitled, “Dove Real Beauty

Dove Real Beauty Sketches.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches.

Sketches.” It proves as humans we tend to see ourselves through rose colored glasses. This test shows that most of us think that we look better than we actually do. Dove’s experiment involved making a sketch of a person, then enhancing it and producing several versions of the original. The person sketched is then asked to identify the unmodified picture. Nearly always, they tended to select an attractively enhanced one.

Getting back to the mirror. I remember my daughter looking into the mirror above my sink sofaand saying, “yuk!’ She didn’t like the image. I often find when looking in some rest rooms’ mirrors that sometimes I detest what I see and other times I like the image better than the one I see at home. Are mirrors unreliable? I’ve always thought the difference was in the lighting. You may decide to put this whole subject out of your mind, but  it does explain that our mirror is how we actually look and our picture is how others see us. Got it?

Under these circumstances, I wonder how an artist ever paints a portrait to the subject’s

Here is the Duchess of Cambridge portrait.

Here is the Duchess of Cambridge portrait.

liking? People tend to have a view about what they want their portrait to look like and that oftentimes is to be seen as the “fairest of them all.” You may be aware of the recent furor over the Duchess of Cambridge’s first portrait and how people expressed their dislike of it directly to the painter, Paul Emsley. The Duchess herself was very gracious about it, and it could be because she liked it. To be good at doing portraits one must be excellent at drawing but also be successful rendering a likeness, which expresses character and sometimes status. It’s not just copying shapes and lines, but how the artist sees them. Sounds like a near impossibility to me. At the end of this writing I have pictures of some portraits done of me. They are not called works of art but, rather, works of love.

I find it most interesting that when George W. Bush left the presidency he began to paint

Father and son protrait, by George W. Bush.

Father and son protrait, by George W. Bush.

and he didn’t stop at landscapes, he went on to doing portraits. In his recent book, “41: A Portrait of My Father” there is a portrait he did of himself and his father, a good likeness of both of them. The book is a love story about his dad and the portrait is also a work of love. He did advise that a person should never paint his wife or mother. Bush said when he left the office of president it wasn’t the power or the fame that he missed, but the lack of having any responsibilities. He knew it was important to stay stimulated and painting helped fill that void.

We are coming to the end of Shirl and You, and I like to think that we are not different than our mirrored images? “But not so,” say the researchers.” If photograph-you looked like mirror-image you, everyone else would think you look bizarre.” We might prefer a facial photograph that corresponds to our mirror image, but our friends would say it doesn’t look Shirl's blog on portraits 10like us. I think it best not to worry about it, but decide that the photograph-you looks great. Either that, or throw away our mirrors and forget about that image.

This Shirl and You’s subject may be one you fully understand, maybe better than I do, so I definitely need to hear your comments.  Look for my portraits below.

This pencil drawing was done many years ago- by my husband.

This pencil drawing was done many years ago- by my husband.


This watercolor was done last year by my granddaughter, Yvonne Weaver.

This watercolor was done last year by my granddaughter, Yvonne Weaver.

Too Tired To Talk!

I have always believed that women talk more than men. I’ve read reports that say women women talk more 1speak about 20,000 words a day compared to the men who only speak 7,000. That was years ago, but sometimes, it is still given as fact, even today. However, not everyone believes it is true. In my household, there is no question that my husband talks more than I do. And when we have company or are out visiting, I’m sometimes tempted to raise my hand in order to get in a comment or two.  By the way, I have not, yet, done this.

It’s true that some women talk incessantly and run one sentence into another. I know of women talk5one who dominates conversations and in order to keep another person from joining in she says “ahhh” in between sentences, giving her time to think of what to say next. Maybe because I’m not much of a talker myself, there are times when my mind begins to wander when listening to someone who talks on and on. They make me tired, yet they seem never to be too tired to talk.

Since my husband is constantly researching subjects and working on new projects. He likes to share what he is learning with someone and since we are the only people in the house, you can guess whose ear is oftentimes being bent. Which brings me to the subject of rather or not men’s talk is more interesting then women’s. I don’t think this is generally true, since men’s talk oftentimes centers around sports, hunting, fishing, or cars. I know this is not true of all men, and neither do all women gossip, which is what is often told of women.

After many years of marriage, I have learned when it is better not to talk and that’s whenwomen talk 10. my husband is concentrating on a new topic, project or paying bills. I do not resent this, in fact, to control our talking is in a sense learning to tame our tongues, something the Bible tells us to do. I think most women have learned when to keep quiet.

Lately, we’ve come to the conclusion that there is someone who talks too much at our house. We have a parrot who has a vocabulary of at least 100 words and although he’s been a member of the household for over 30 years, it wasn’t until we retired and are spending more time at home that we’ve learned that he doesn’t know when to keep quiet.

We’ve decided that he isn’t growing worse as he ages, but rather that we no longer wave women talk 8goodbye to him every morning, not to return until evening. It’s rather unique to spend the entire day with a demanding parrot. We’ve all learned not to interrupt someone who is talking, but Pedro hasn’t. Unless we leave the room and close the door between us and the bird, our conversation is interrupted. Generally we give up trying to be heard because the louder we get, he gets even louder. We’re really not positive of his gender, but he surely believes in dominating the conversation. So I’ve decided he’s male. (to be debated).

I’m on a hot subject this week and wonder what your thoughts are on it. I hope I haven’t women talk 11stepped on anyone’s toes.( Which brings to mind that Pedro needs his toe nails cut.) Now I”m talking too much.

I must tell you that the latest report on who talks the most, women or men, says that both

Here's an even different report on the subject.

Here’s an even different report on the subject. Does anyone really know?

use roughly the same number of words daily. Men actually came through showing a slightly wider variability in words uttered and of course there are some who speak very few words, (roughly only 500 words daily) obviously the silent type. It was a man who was found to speak on average, a whopping 47,000 words a day. But all-in-all the sexes are about equal when it comes to a war of words. Now isn’t that a safe way to end this blog? I hope you’ll write, I’d love to hear from you.

“Deer Restricted,” Huh?”


I thought my husband wasn’t remembering correctly when he said that his grandfather had to raise his fences from eight to ten feet in order to keep the deer out of his strawberries.

Couldn't build a fence high enough.

Couldn’t build a fence high enough.

He was Albert Morris, who for years raised strawberries in Sweet Valley, PA. I felt doubtful that deer could jump over fences eight feet tall. To me, that seemed awfully high. Then I checked the internet and found that the white tail deer are able to jump not 5, 7, 8 or 12 feet but 15 feet high. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see? The deer, however, prefer to go through, around or under a fence, unless of course they are being chased by a dog or coyote.

Until recent years, I have always loved the white tail deer. Lately, though, there is an overdeer restricted 2abundance of them and I have great difficulty keeping them from destroying my flower gardens. If I were to plant pansies, which I have done many years about this time, the deer grab the plant in their mouths and uproot it completely. Then all through the summer they find nearly all my flowers very tasty, even the rose bushes.

People here have always been impressed with the beauty of the white tail and its swift,

The car I remember was tan color. See the spotlight? on the

The car I remember was tan color. See the spotlight?

running ability. Years ago, they were not so plentiful and my boyfriend and I, (now my husband) would travel the country roads in his 1941 Ford spotting deer. I’m not sure this was legal, but attached to the driver’s side of the Ford was a large, shiny spot light put there for that purpose. To get the light installed a hole was drilled through the corner post of the car. An added twist to this story is the fact that his grandparents, Albert and Maude Morris, gave the spotlight light to him as a high school graduation gift. Many men used the spot lights to search out deer prior to hunting season, but that was not our reason for doing it. It was a challenge to find them feeding in open fields. We stayed away from houses. We didn’t think a spot light illuminating their property would go over very well.

During the summers, as we turn into our driveway, our headlights reveal at least a half deer restricted 3dozen of them out to pasture in our yard. I’ve always marveled at their beauty but lately my love for them has waned and I am sure you know why. Not all deer are infected with ticks, but many are and these ticks transmit Lyme Disease. I read where roughly 20,000 people are affected by the disease. I have heard of many cases and because it is a inflammatory disease it spreads to the joints, nervous system and other organs. If diagnosed and treated early with antibiotics Lyme Disease is almost always readily cured. But I have talked to some who were not fortunate enough to catch it early.

There are many guidelines on how to protect our families from this. But isn’t it shameful that we can no longer trust our children to be safe in public places and now, in our own back yards. Some of the guidelines include avoiding wooded, bushy areas and high grass, do a complete full body check on yourself, children and pets and carry bug spray.

There may be some parts of the country that are less infected and some where the deer restricted 6problem is far greater than here in Pennsylvania. While living there throughout the winter, I saw something of interest in Florida. It was a sign placed at the entrance of a beautiful housing compound. It read. “Deer Restricted.” I wondered how this could be, then noticed the whole development was surrounded with a tall, concrete wall.

To digress a bit here, did you read the story about a wild deer breaking into the lion exhibit at the Smithsonian Park National Zoo? What did the lions do? They did what came naturally. They pursued it until they were called back into their enclosure. They were highly trained lions. The main reason for ending their hunt was because the deer might spread disease to the zoo animals. The lions’ hunt for live prey deer restricted 5ended, but the injured deer couldn’t be saved.

I don’t like ending Shirl And You on a negative note but this subject does not end here. A quick-moving, potentially fatal virus has been found in the Northeast and Great Lakes areas of the U.S. It is carried and transferred to people and pets by ticks. The Powassan virus causes similar symptoms but more severe and without any cure. The disease is quite rare, but doctors are urging people to do everything they can to prevent being infected. Everyone is being encouraged to look up procedures on how to correctly remove ticks and to be on

Just couldn't resist showing you this sign.

Just couldn’t resist showing you this sign.

guard for them. How can the beautiful, harmless creatures of yesteryear become something to fear today? Do you have a story to tell on this subject. I’d love to hear from you.