Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children
l went for a walk in the Rocky Bay Woods this week with Bill and Bob and Emily and Henry. ln a glade, we spotted a roe deer. lt was very tiny; even smaller than a large dog.
Deer are very secretive creatures and it is a magical moment when you come across one in the woods.
So l thought l would talk to you this week about deer.
They are beautiful creatures and it is very exciting for anyone to spot one in a park or out of a train window.
Deer are animals that have had associations with man since the earliest times. We know this because of ancient cave paintings of animals with antlers.
There are many myths and legends about deer. Some people think they bring messages from spirits and lots of people think that seeing a white deer will bring you good luck.
There are deer naturally found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.
We have quite a few roe deer in the Rocky Bay Woods behind Auntie Alice’s cottage.
When we have a really bad winter with thick snow on the ground, Auntie Alice takes food out for them to help them through the worst of the weather.
They like going down to the river to drink. There is water for them there in the hottest of summers.
The males are called bucks and the females are called does.
Red deer are much bigger. The males are called stags and the females are called hinds.
Male deer can also be called bulls or harts. You sometimes see pubs called the White Hart. Females can also be called cows and babies are called kids, fawns or calves.
Deer often like to live in woodland so that they can have shelter from driving rain and cold winds, they also like living near rivers so that they can access plenty of water to drink.
There are about one hundred types of deer in the world. They include elk, moose and caribou. You will notice that they have very thin legs and bulky bodies and this is often true of animals that walk long distances or even migrate – like wild horses and wildebeest.
ln northern areas of the world, deer can migrate to different places to graze over the winter or summer and these pastures and forests can be up to thirty miles apart. Deer eat a lot more food in the summer and are more active then.
We have six kinds of deer in Britain. Red and roe deer are the only native species but fallow deer have been here since the 11th century.
Sika, muntjak and Chinese water deer are living wild, after being introduced here within the last 150 years.
There may be as many as 2 million deer in Britain which is even more than there would have been in Tudor times when they were hunted through parklands for food. They have no natural enemies now, which is why their numbers have been growing.
Deer are of the order Artiodactyle, which means they have hoofs with an even number of toes. They are nimble on their feet and can run swiftly and leap along over the forest floor.
They are also the only animals to have antlers.
Antlers grow extremely fast and are usually only found on males; but female caribou and reindeer (basically the same species) also have antlers. Moose have the largest antlers. Antlers grow faster than any other part of any mammal.
Reindeer live in the most northern of countries now, but in the lce Age lived much further south.
Male deer often use their antlers to tussle with other males. They push their heads together and clash antlers to see who is stronger. Sometimes they will get injured in these kinds of fights, but not usually.
Female reindeer keep their antlers over the winter but the males lose theirs.
Male red deer lose theirs in winter then start growing new ones in the spring. Female red deer don’t have any.
A red deer stag is called a monarch if he has a good, wide formation of antlers with 16 points on them, an imperial if he has 14 points and a royal if he has 12 points.
The top of the antler is called a cup.
While they are growing over the summer, antlers are covered in a soft kind of skin which is called velvet. The velvet contains nerves and blood vessels and is very sensitive. This velvet falls off in autumn and the antlers begin to harden. Once the antlers have hardened the males will start using them for fighting.
They also, strangely, seem to like decorating them. They walk through the forest collecting any loose greenery that they can drape onto their antlers.
Moose have the biggest antlers. They are quite flat in the middle and have finger-like protrusions around the edges. These kinds of antlers are called palmate – like the palm of your hand.
Horns are different from antlers. Horns are part of an animal’s bony skull and if they are ever broken, they will not grow back.
Some people collect antlers and display them on their walls. Some even use them to make parts of furniture or holders for lights (they look like spiky chandeliers). Of course, you do not need to kill a deer to get these antlers. You can find them lying on the grass after they have fallen off.
Deer have brown coats which sometimes have a mottled pattern on them. These coats help to camouflage them in woodland.
Deer have a very good sense of smell, and also very good hearing to listen out for anything that might want to hunt them down.
Deer can have up to three babies at a time. The babies have white spots on their backs to help camouflage them when they curl up to hide in long grass or bushes in dappled shade to have a rest. Their mothers often leave them alone and then check in on them regularly throughout the day. After the mother has fed her baby, it often moves off to another place – it wants to avoid predators. The kids lose these spots after a few weeks.
Deer like to live in quite large family groups and babies will stay with their mothers for up to a couple of years.
Deer are herbivores. That means they only eat plants. They eat grass and leaves and sometimes also fruit, berries and mushrooms. They can also eat acorns, unlike humans.
They will eat some farmers’ crops too sometimes if they can, and anyone who plants young trees in places where deer might visit, will have to protect them from having their bark eaten with special covers.
lf you ever want to feed deer through very bad weather, make sure you give them food that will help them and not harm them because they have very sensitive and complex digestive systems.
lf you give them the wrong food, like carbohydrates such as sweetcorn, you will kill them and they will be dead within hours.
Children should never go near deer in the autumn because they can get very aggressive and they might attack you.
Deer especially like salt blocks and apples and pears to be left out for them in winter.
But usually you don’t have to worry about deer because they will have built up fat reserves over the summer that they use up over the winter.
They also actually shrink their stomachs for winter so that they can eat less and not feel hungry.
They don’t move about much either, and this tactic will preserve their energy.
We should have some fruit that we can give them from the Rocky Bay Community Orchard if this coming winter is especially harsh – just to give them an extra, little treat.
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And see you again next Fun Friday!
Love and kisses
Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Week
Bob: What do you get when you cross Bambi with a ghost?
Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.
Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com
are often found in the parks of great stately homes
(The Toronto Star)
Fallow deer have palmate antlers
The Monarch of the Glen
Painting by Henry Landseer
THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESK
Auntie Alice called a meeting of her workforce in the garden of her cottage this week – sorry, I mean ‘sort of business partners’.
She was explaining how when you have an enormous project to work on, or a huge workload to get through, there are things that you can do to make life easier for yourself.
Firstly, you can list everything you have to do.
Secondly, you identify the most important things that have to be done and you prioritize them. That means that you do the most important things that have to be done first, first.
She said in the case of the children it was their homework and revising for any tests that they had to do at school before they came to work with her.
Thirdly, you have to work out a ‘plan of campaign’. That means listing all the jobs you have to do and when you intend doing them. The jobs can be ticked off once they are done.
The way to do this, was to create a big chart, or a diary, or calendar, or a notebook full of ‘to do’ lists.
When you feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to do – or what you have to do is difficult and horrible and you don’t want to do them, then only way to cope, is by breaking everything down into smaller steps.
Then just concentrate on one step at a time – the one in front of you; and try to forget about everything else until it is time to take another step; and then only think about that one.
This is called serial monofocus.
But the children thought that helping Auntie Alice was going to be fun.
And besides, Bill and Bob were thinking about their hungry, little piggy banks sitting at home waiting to be fed!
Auntie Alice said that she would divide the jobs out fairly.
She would give everyone the same jobs to do – and girls could do things just as well as boys, and boys could do things just as well as girls so there would be no division of labour, and if there was any heavy lifting to do that she could not manage, Captain Jack and Uncle Sam (that’s me) would come to help.
Auntie Alice said that she often needed reminding about all the jobs that needed doing in the garden and she used her gardening books to help her.
She would keep notes in a notebook listing all the jobs the children helped her with.
There would be no messing about, specially with the hosepipe, because this was all a very serious business and she had customers waiting on her to come up with the goods they needed to help run their businesses.
And that was that.
But between you and me, she knew that there certainly would be a lot of playing about with the hosepipe.
TO ADVERTISE ON THIS BLOG
These are all things that you find in woodland. Do you know what they are?
- koa reets
- yafir grin
- paddlep hased
- loonwadd reflolws
- cebeh stere
lt’s the Weekend!
HOW TO MAKE BEDS FOR THREE LlTTLE SlSTERS
These beds are for the dolls from Blog Post 366.
Of course, people like more comfortable beds than fawns.
This bed is really easy to knit. You could rest it on a box if you like to make it look more like a divan.
You will need to knit a bed for each doll. They can be in the same colours or different colours. The sheets don’t have to be white.
BED (KNIT ONE)
Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 20 stitches
Knit 30 rows of stocking stitch
Change to blue dk yarn
Knit 60 rows of garter stitch
Knit 33 rows of stocking stitch
Change back to white dk yarn
Knit 12 rows of garter stitch
TO MAKE UP
- Use over-sew stitching to sew up this project
- Sew around three sides of the pillow with wrong sides together and lightly stuff just before closing up
- Lay the pillow down onto the base
- Then catch-stitch into the two bottom corners of the pillow and the base of the bed using white yarn to keep the pillow in place
- Turn the sheet down onto the bed cover and stitch along the sides using white yarn to keep it in place
- Then neatly sew the sides of the bed cover to the base with wrong sides together to create a nice, crisp edge
- This should be a nice toy for a small child to play with but an older child may want to put the bed on a box or inside a tin or even on a toy bed from a dolls’ house
Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.
It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.
Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.
©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015
Quick Quiz Answers
- koa reets – oak trees
- yafir grin – fairy ring
- astotloods – toadstools
- slegad – glades
- paddlep hased – dapped shade
- inagspls – saplings
- loonwadd reflolws – woodland flowers
- sliriqusr – squirrels
- cebeh stere – beech trees
- zahel tuns – hazel nuts