Fri 6/19/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

Walking is the best exercise for weight loss. And the things you see!


This white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) looked over its shoulder at me from the underbrush along King Street today. It's only the second deer I've seen on my walk this year, even though the neighborhood is teeming with them. One evening in 2007, I followed a parade of 14 along Round Hill Drive.

There's an easy explanation: during the noon hour, when I walk, deer usually sleep in the woods. (When this one's enormous ears picked up the sound of my camera shutter, it leaped back into the dark space at upper-left.) Their most active hours are dawn and dusk, when they come out onto the lawns and meadows to feed.

Unfortunately, deer love to eat flowers, vegetables, fruit, shrubs, saplings—almost anything you hope to see flourishing on your estate. Unless you build a 12-foot fence or coat your posies with a foul-smelling repellent, you'll wake up some morning to find your garden clipped as short as a golf green.

Meanwhile, deer spread the ticks that infect humans with Lyme disease (first identified in Lyme, Connecticut, just 80 miles east of here), which damages the heart, joints, and nervous system. Arthritis, memory loss, and mood swings ensue. In some cases, the symptoms show up only years after the original infection. The disease is estimated to cost Americans $2 billion a year—of which Connecticut pays a huge share. In my neighborhood, everyone knows at least half a dozen friends and relatives who've had Lyme.

When I was growing up in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, we had a perfect solution: hunting. A 15-cent rifle shell could put 100 pounds of venison in the freezer. Hunting was deeply embedded in the culture. On the "first day of buck" each December, factories and offices closed. For two weeks, towns like Horseshoe, Punxsutawney, and Altoona observed Deer Lonely Ladies Sales Days. The universal greeting among men during that fortnight was, "’Juh git yer deer yet?"

Back then, I never hunted ("He's kinda strange," I suppose people said), but I certainly wish I could hunt now. Hunting is against the law in these parts. Too many cocktail parties and soccer games for stray bullets to hit.

I have a paint gun in my office, a relic of my oldest son's high-school days. I would at least like to send one of these vermin loping about the neighborhood with an embarrassing white bullseye on its flank. But unlike rifle bullets, paintballs fly slower than the speed of sound. Invariably, my quarry hears the fop! of the gun and leaps to safety milliseconds before the ball arrives.

But I'm still "learning my lead," as the Pennsylvania folk say. One day, I'll aim just far enough in front of the critter's nose to see him leap straight into my shot.

I'll post his humiliating picture here. But first I'll need to talk to my lawyer. Everything is illegal in Connecticut.


Download DietPower and lose poundsAbout this page: Precisely at noon each day, I step out of my office for a 3.5-mile walk around my Connecticut neighborhood. I carry a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX5 pocket camera with a Leica 10x optical zoom lens. My object is to make an interesting photograph of at least one thing that is different that day. I post the results here, hoping they will inspire you and your friends to walk, too.  Terry Dunkle, DietPower founder and CEO.

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All My Yesterdays

Thursday, June 18: Drenched!

Wednesday, June 17: They Sprang up Like Mushrooms

Tuesday, June 16: Where Time Doesn't Count

Monday, June 15: Behind a Basketball

Sunday, June 14: Flags for Elijah

Saturday, June 13: Crawling into a Daisy

Friday, June 12: Life Under a Warm Green Lantern

Thursday, June 11: Shell Game

Wednesday, June 10: Fearless Fox

Tuesday, June 9: Wet Clover

Monday, June 8: Two Bees, or Not Two Bees

Sunday, June 7: A Gorgeous Glutton

Saturday, June 6: Two Clowns

Friday, June 5: My Favorite Mailbox

Thursday, June 4: The Tomato's Deadly Cousin

Wednesday, June 3: Electric Pink

Tuesday, June 2: Lucky Boy

Monday, June 1: Six-Figure Mower

Sunday, May 31: Cool in the Shade

Saturday, May 30: Under the Butternut Tree

Friday, May 29: Awaiting a Pink Explosion

Thursday, May 28: I Shoot a Chipmunk

Wednesday, May 27: Who Dropped the Ball?

Tuesday, May 26: Out Standing in Their Field

Monday, May 25: Flags Galore!

Sunday, May 24: House of Patriots

Saturday, May 23: Memorial in a Rusty Hinge

Friday, May 22: The Sexually Clever Iris

Thursday, May 21: Raising the Wrong Baby

Wednesday, May 20: An Old Friend Is Dying

Tuesday, May 19: Crow vs. Hawk

Monday, May 18: Yours Truly

Sunday, May 17: A Wild Geranium

Saturday, May 16: War Flowers

Friday, May 15: A Mysterious Barn

Thursday, May 14: Who Invented the Microscope?

Wednesday, May 13: The Kitchen Sink

Tuesday, May 12: Slow Down!

Monday, May 11: What Lilacs Are For

Sunday, May 10: Mama Butterfly

Saturday, May 9: Gone to Seed

Friday, May 8: A Pack of Boston Terriers

Thursday, May 7: Underground Passage

Wednesday, May 6: White Violet

Tuesday, May 5: Singing His Heart Out

Monday, May 4: Kenny's Secret

Sunday, May 3: Monument to an Afternoon

Saturday, May 2: Gasoline Rainbow

Friday, May 1: The Duck and the Bashful Maiden

Thursday, April 30: A Poison Ivy Sandwich

Wednesday, April 29: The Very Picture of Spring

Tuesday, April 28: A Busy Bumblebee

Monday, April 27: Electric Pink

Sunday, April 26: Saturday Night Special

Saturday, April 25: An Old Oak Falls

Friday, April 24: How an Ant Sees a Daffodil

Thursday, April 23: The Nameless Brook

Wednesday, April 22: Weeding Time

Tuesday, April 21: Wet Apple Buds

Monday, April 20: Mr. Allen and the Crew Team

Sunday, April 19: Bloodroot II

Saturday, April 18: Green Jellybeans

Friday, April 17: Bloodroot

Thursday, April 16: Skunk Cabbage III

Wednesday, April 15: Find the Critter

Tuesday, April 14: Blessing of the Animals

Monday, April 13: The Crow Who Said "Wow!"

Sunday, April 12: A Quirky Church

Saturday, April 11: Self-Portrait in a Pothole

Friday, April 10: Easter flowers

Thursday, April 9: Dumb as a Squirrel

Wednesday, April 8: April Snow

Tuesday, April 7: Egg Trees, Connecticut Style

Monday, April 6: I Carry My Lunch

Sunday, April 5: A Tree in Spring

Saturday, April 4: Pigs with Drivers Licenses

Friday, April 3: Forsythia

Thursday, April 2: Skunk Cabbage II

Wednesday, April 1: Mystery of the Hanging Shoes

Tuesday, March 31: Downy Woodpecker

Monday, March 30: 300-Year-Old House

Sunday, March 29: The Broken Fence

Saturday, March 28: "You're Such a Delight"

Friday, March 27: Skunk Cabbage

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