in Rim Country, White Mountains of Arizona & Beyond...
“Hava You Seena Those Wild Javelina?”
By: Sherry E Engler
“Very, very ugly.” “Very, very cute.” “So very ugly, they are cute” are some of the descriptions I received when conducting a poll on “How would you describe javelina?” This (sort of) scientific poll I conducted with friends and family continued with the question, “Do you like javelina?” Here are some of the responses from residents of Rim Country:
“Yes, they are soooo cute and adorably ugly. I love watching them run through the neighbor’s yard.”
“No, I hate them with a passion. Those dang ugly varmints eat all the plants in my yard and then I hear my neighbors laughing hysterically when I scream uncontrollably at them.”
“The javelina do not bother me one way or another. Let them be free. Let them live among us in harmony.”
But perhaps the most entertaining story I heard was from an old, old cowboy (to protect the innocent we will call him Cowboy TallTale) who worked “cowboying” around “these here parts” when he was just a youngster, gathering up cattle near Young. Apparently, one day on the range, some tourists ask him, “Hava you seena those wild javelina?” Deciding to be “obliging to the newcomers,” Cowboy TallTale decided to find a javelina, rope it and take it to show the tourists so they would know what “javelina are all about.” Well, apparently, he found out what javelina were all about when he rode up on a herd of javelina, executed the roping of the biggest in the herd, only to realize that “javelina have lots and lots of fight in them!” According to him, the roped javelina threw such a fit, squealing, trying to jab tusks into his horse, and jumping up at his leg trying to attack him that his horse “went a-bucking and a-kicking” and that horse kicked so high in the air, Cowboy TallTale lost consciousness, only to wake up hours later with his faithful horse standing nearby and those dang javelina “Gone! Gone! Gone!” and with his good roping rope! If one is of a mind to believe Cowboy TallTale, he is still deathly afraid of them to this day.
Javelina or Tayassu tajacu are peculiar little pig creatures peppered with wiry-like black, gray and brown hair with a lighter band of hair around the shoulders giving the appearance of a collar. Thus, in Rim Country, it is the collared peccary which roams about in herds between eight and fifteen javelina, usually ranging in different ages. These “cute but ugly little pigs” roam not only in desert terrain and woodland grasses but are also known to roam about neighborhoods inhabited by humans in the southwestern United States. The javelina is
Annabella: Friend? Foe?
By: Sherry E Engler
Aahh! The welcome aroma of blooming iris and lilacs, the deep yellows and reds of tulips gracing the spring landscape, the bountiful pink and white blooms heavily loading the branches of the fruit trees. Aahh! The reason spring is one of the most precious times in Rim Country! Beauty beyond compare and quite welcome after the harsh winter temperatures. Although these plants are not native, their presence reminds Rim Country residents of the abundance of rainfall and moisture we have fortunately received throughout the last few months. Spring showers! Many, many flowers!!! Wow!
With the good, usually comes a little bad. You may be thinking, “What’s bad about rain and beautiful spring flowers?” Yes, the rain brings spring flowers---along with more grassy weeds which promote the rodent population which may boost the snake population. “SNAKES!!! No, no, no, NO SNAKES!!!,” you declare, pausing to review the fact that snakes scare you.
In the words of my neighbor, “The only good snake is a DEAD snake!” However, I find myself disagreeing with this declaration. You see, I have recently acquired another bullsnake. (I say another bullsnake because the last one I acquired, Tutay, left home. Really? Really! A runaway snake!) Therefore, I hope this one will find happiness in our barn which seems to be attracting rodents of the unwanted kind due to the grain we feed our horses. Mind you, I READ MORE....
As Magical as the Easter Bunny…Amost
By Sherry E Engler
As Rim Country celebrates Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017, there are many festive activities to attend in Payson and the surrounding communities. There are sunrise services, Easter egg hunts, family gatherings and, as usual, the one most intriguing to our little ones of Rim Country, the visit from the Easter Bunny. As the Easter Bunny delivers goodies and hides eggs, one must acknowledge his magical attributes. However, as cute as the Easter Bunny is, it is my belief that magical bunnies surround us each and every day in Rim Country. These magical, (well, almost magical) bunnies are known as the Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, aka a Lepus californicus. I hear some of you muttering, “Those blame jackrabbits ARE NOT MAGICAL!” Therefore, I hope to change your mind with interesting facts so that, in conclusion, you too will be stating, “Jackrabbits ARE MAGICAL! Well almost.”
Magic surrounds the Black-Tailed jackrabbit at birth.... READ MORE...
Where are the Elk?
By Annemarie Eveland
When I first came to live in Pine, a small mountain village in the north central mountains of Arizona, I was pretty much a city slicker. I locked my doors, dressed warmer than needed and was careful about talking to strangers who later became dear friends. I also thought I needed to get a cultural city fix every now and then since there “wasn’t much to do.”
I also held a passionate search for wildlife, especially elk. I had seen the deer and my heart leaped upward but the lure of seeing a massive four-legged furry beast with antlers extending into the sky was all too exciting.
I would ask, “Where are the elk? How can I see them?” An amusing smile crossed the local faces. No matter where they pointed me, the elk did not arrive. Finally, it was explained to me that elk have their own paths, places and nocturnal times. They decide to come around when they want to. Elk can’t be ordered up like a cup of Starbucks in the city.
Glumly, I resigned myself to the fact that I would be one who would have to look at photos or listen to other stories from those more fortunate to see the big guys.
One day, when I came out of our little town market and went to get into my car, I saw a street READ MORE...
Don’t Lose Your Head in the New Year
By Sherry E Engler
While many of my human friends declare that, with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, they may just lose their heads; I must tell you sadly that one of my bird friends actually did. And while I realize this is an example of the Darwinian evolutionary phrase, “survival of the fittest” or perhaps a case of “out with the old, in with the new,” I cannot be more grateful that I am a human and not a Mourning Dove, especially a Mourning Dove living in close proximity to our driveway.
One of the true splendors of living in Rim Country, nestled between the Mogollon Rim and the Matazal Mountain Range, is the beauty of wildlife, large and small. And sometimes, it is the survival of the fittest in the wildlife structure which claims our interest and total attention, leaving its mark forever in our minds and memories. Thus, my mind will be forever engraved with images of the struggle between an Arizona Mourning Dove and a Red-Tailed Hawk.
For years, Mourning Doves have graced our trees, electric lines and fences with their beautiful presence. We have heard them softly coo to one another, lined together in a perched community, perhaps even conveying peaceful thoughts to one another (historically, the Mourning Dove represents peace in many cultures). And, to some, our Mourning Doves may appear “usual” or “ordinary;” to us, our Mourning Doves are very SPECIAL creatures. We have the prettiest, READ MORE...
Where are “Those Dang Wild Turkeys?”
By Sherry E Engler
Perhaps, one of the greatest joys of living in Rim Country is the gift of viewing wildlife like the massive bull elk, the slender white-tail deer, the leaping wonder jack-rabbit and the wild turkey. What? Wild turkey? No one, hardly anyone, IF EVER, ever sees a wild turkey! (Not the human kind of wild turkey one may see on occasion in town but the honest to goodness, natural wild turkey!) The wild turkey is NOT going to be seen by many people, children, hunters, especially hunters, because these critters are just too, too smart to be visible to the nature enthusiast!
After trying for many years, on many, many occasions, to see a turkey in the wild in Mogollon Rim Country, I have concluded wild turkeys are on the same scale as Big Foot. Look and look and look and never, ever see one. Do they even exist? After conducting an in-depth study (asking a few relatives and hunting associates), I have been assured that yes the wild turkey does habitat in our beautiful mountainous terrain. Surprisingly, many of the hunters in the survey were “just within seconds of shooting the Granddaddy turkey of them all, probably a fiftypounder.” But, “dag nabbit, just slipped out of sight, like MAGIC.”
My scientific, very scientific, survey led me to a few honest hunters who, when asked about wild turkey hunts, exclaimed exasperatedly, “Don’t know where those dang wild turkeys are!” Therefore, I am very thankful as Thanksgiving nears, we do not rely on the talents of these hunters for our Thanksgiving dinner. (Looks like it’s going to be a Butterball wrapped in plastic with the giblets inside.)
The Fall Turkey Hunt, in which a tag permit is required for the limited Weapon-Shotgun Shooting Shot Hunt, is already over as is the Archery Only Hunt. READ MORE...
Wonders of the Wild: Payson Wildlife Sanctuary
By Mitzi Brabb
At some point in time most people have encountered a wild animal that needed to be rescued. After the initial surprise, the question comes to mind, “What do I do with it?” Through the channels of various animal-associated organizations (humane society, local veterinarians, animal control, Game and Fish), they are directed to the nearest wildlife rehabilitator.
Though few and far between, these professionals will take in the animal in crisis, provide care and treatment, and release it when and if it is able to return to its natural habitat.
In this region, that wildlife rehabilitator is Mitzi Brabb, Director of Wonders of the Wild Animal Sanctuary located just outside of Payson. She can be reached at (928) 978-0608.
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