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Tim Buck II, pronounced like ‘Timbuktu’ in Mali, but known simply as ‘Timmy’, came to live with us while he was just a baby fawn. Mr. Tim Buck Senior left Mrs. Buck to raise little Timmy alone as a single mother. Mrs. Buck then vanished, leaving little Timmy enfeebled on the side of Highway 9 south of town. No one knows what happened to Mrs. Buck. She might have been hit and killed by a car. She might have been eaten by a Mountain Lion. Somehow, she was not there to raise little Timmy.

Traffic was stopped on Highway 9 as little Timmy staggered about, either anemic, or starving from the absence of Mrs. Buck. He could barely walk, and certainly could not bound up or down the steep hillsides to leave the Highway. Most of us who stopped knew that he would not survive, and just accepted it as part of nature. However, we could not just leave him there with a few concerned children also stopped in the traffic with us. I loaded him into the back seat of the pick up and took him with me so that the children would think that he would be taken care of. I expected him to be deceased by the time I got home.

Instead, like a scene straight out of ‘Tommy Boy’, Timmy survived. He got up and was looking at me in the rear view mirror. Now what? Barbecue? I took him home to ask the neighbors.

That was too much help. They gave Timmy goat milk and groomed him of ticks, and a within a few hours, Timmy was bounding about the yard and playing with Bill the terrier, and Melly and Chewy the two cats. By nightfall, the entire herd wanted to sleep in my bed!

Timmy grew very fast and consumed quite a bit of goat milk. He craved more than milk though, and started eating my roses. (This was later in spring.) When I yelled at him to stop, he just looked at me quizzically, and continued eating. The roses did not last long. Timmy then ate the leaves off the fruit trees. Then he ate some ornamental grasses. There was not much that Timmy would not eat. When I tried chasing him off to eat in the forest, he just came right back to play with his friends and eat more of the garden. When I kept the door closed, he just came in the cat door and found his way to my bed. When I took him across the creek and down the road a bit, he just followed me back.

The funny thing is that everyone liked Timmy! He was so nice and polite, even as he destroyed the garden. That was a very bad year for gardening!

By the following spring, Timmy was spending almost all of his time out in the forest. He had depleted everything in the garden, so needed to go farther out to find vegetation within reach. He had grown very fast into a tall and lanky young buck. I slowly resumed gardening in early summer, with only minimal nibbling.

I sometimes wonder how Timmy is doing. I am pleased that he is no longer in my garden. I can enjoy growing roses again. The only thing I enjoy finding in the rose garden more than a nice healthy rose is a bitten off stub where there was about to be a rose.

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51 thoughts on “Timmy in the Garden

  1. That would make it incredibly difficult for us to shoot any deer around here from that point forward in fear that it would be the deer we raised! Which is why I stopped my husband from going soft on a little fawn our terrier had cornered and taking it in. However, I’m not a monster – I knew its mother was a little way off, waiting for it. (My husband camped out to make sure of the reunion). Great story Tony.

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    1. I think that it would be more difficult than livestock that are raised for such purposes, and taken out humanely. I figured that the neighbor would eventually want to take out Timmy, but never did because everyone liked him so much. We never needed to shoot deer because, prior to Timmy, they mostly stayed out of the gardens. My neighbor only occasionally got one. Although rather small, each one went a long way!

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  2. What a delightful tale. And good for you, for thinking about the children who were in the crowd observing the goings on at the highway. I smiled at Timmy’s voracious appetite. A friend who lives in San Antonio reported that an entire neighborhood was stripped of camellias a few years ago: and nothing else. Camellias must be like deer candy.

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    1. This is a pretty safe region. No one hunts close to any of the towns; and not many hunt away from town. Although the deer are not bad, most people who hunt would rather do somewhere else, where the deer have a bit more meat on their bones. My neighbor occasionally got one that happened to come by, but he would not bother Timmy, especially now that he is a big buck that would not taste good.

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    1. I could never understand why they like roses so much! They like pyracantha too! ICK! I do not even know how that is possible! There are so many better things to eat out there.

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      1. Many years ago, while in high school, I worked briefly at a the Saint Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. While setting markers for a race, we saw deer swimming from Tiburon to Angel Island! So, even deer swim! And they swim to places that people have difficulty swimming to! There was a big buck with a large rack of antlers. I remember that there are deer living on Angel Island, and they can only come and go by swimming.

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  3. Gee Tony – that’s a great story! I love the way you told it and I love hearing about what happened and I love that you managed to have such a seemingly relaxed relationship with a deer. It was nice that you lived in a place that had a connection to the forest so he could come and go the way he did. I have a crippled deer who raises her babies (or baby one year) in our little patch of woods every year – because it’s so safe… Thanks..

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  4. I love this story! Thanks for sharing. Just like with kids, you put up with some destruction for the relationship, the memories, the love.

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    1. I have no idea why, but my home, no matter where it is, attracts wildlife. When I lived in town, various birds lived in my home, and some nested in my houseplants. A family of starlings lived in the billbergias above my shower! Serious dysfunction!, but they did not seem to mind.

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      1. When I almost did it, I was only beginning to feel the heat. I was not as close as others were. However, people were getting out of their cars where that were stuck in traffic as the fire was coming close to the freeway up ahead. It flared up, and then went back down, so people were able to resume. It was not a wildfire, but a firestorm in the city.

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