The sick and the dead are fair game

March 12, 2006|By Lyn Widmyer

Nothing says country like dead animals and trash.

There's always a rotting carcass or two on our farm road. Squirrels used to be the dominant road kill (followed by black snakes and cats) but dead deer have now taken the lead.

I have contributed to a few of the casualties myself, having hit five deer over the past four years.

My station wagon, with its dings and dents and crumpled antenna, is all the proof I need the deer population needs thinning.

I have come to accept the ever present circling of turkey buzzards along our road. All those deer parts, when combined with the flattened squirrels and snakes, provide an all-you-can-eat buffet for vultures.


When my children were younger and we neared the dreaded Science Fair Season, I once suggested a great topic. "Listen, " I told them excitedly, "we can get different kinds of rotting meat, like chicken and beef, a bagful of fish parts and piles of vegetables gone bad. We place them at different locations in our farm fields.

We get a pair of binoculars and we observe how long it takes for buzzards to discover the piles and record when they arrive, how long they stay and which piles of food they most prefer." This was a project that would obviously earn my children a ticket to the West Virginia State Science Fair.

Naturally, my children greeted my idea with as much enthusiasm as a decomposing deer.

My son decided to do a project with popcorn and my daughter did something about plants. Neither made it past the Jefferson County, W.Va., science fair. (When will they learn to listen to their mother?)

Closer to home, our yard usually features dead groundhogs in various states of decomposition. Our dog is a gifted hunter and one day bagged three of them. After a while, I could literally smell his success. When Zach gets done, all that is left are the jaws. I am waiting for Martha Stewart to suggest a tasteful way to display dental parts from deceased groundhogs. I think a jaw sculpture would be nice as a focal point in the garden.

Rotting carcasses of dead animals do not upset me as much as litter and trash.

Our country road always features beer cans, soda bottles, fast food paper products and an occasional used diaper. I actually caught someone on our road emptying two overstuffed trash bags along our fence row.

I got the license plate and reported it to the police. The case went to magistrate court where I identified the culprit. She swore she was innocent but was found guilty and fined.

For the next week, I made sure all the doors on our house were locked at night. I have watched enough movies to know my testimony might lead to the guilty party seeking revenge. I did not want to be found dead with a 20-gallon trash bag cinched around my neck.

Right now our road features an entire living room set. A sofa, two side chairs and an end table have been dumped at intervals along our fence row.

There is only one good thing about this crime.

One of the chairs overlooks our cornfield. It is a perfect place to watch the buzzards pick apart the dead deer.

Lyn Widmyer is a Charles Town resident who writes for The Herald-Mail. Her e-mail is

The Herald-Mail Articles