I thought it would be a good time to answer some of the letters I’ve been getting.
Somebody once said, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” You be the judge.
Some of the writers let me know where they’re from (silly people); others didn’t. I don’t have the space to answer them all, so this is a random sampling.
Dear Worried: There’s not much we can do about the snakes in the parks. I’ve left a voicemail for St. Patrick, but he hasn’t returned my call yet. I will let you know.
Dear Curious: Since we have no mountains in our parks, I forwarded your question to a friend of mine who is a ranger in the Smoky Mountains. She said to let you know that the deer become elk at about 7,000 feet.
Dear Perplexed in New Pal: I understand; I don’t like cobwebs across the trail hitting me in my face, either. Just do what I do; let the wife go first. It’s polite, and it clears the trail for you. It also works for getting snakes out of the way.
Dear Worried Sick in Spring Lake: I couldn’t find the answer to your question, so I consulted the cards. I ended up with two pairs, Ace high. Hope this helps.
Dear Gal in New Pal: Your dog howls at the full moon because he is addressing his primeval instincts before he was domesticated eons ago by humans as companions, guards and for hunting. It’s actually pretty normal for a dog. Why your husband does it is beyond me.
Dear Questioning in Fortville: This letter needed to be sent to Dear Abby. It’s above my pay grade. I will admit that wanting to take a bath in brown gravy is a little odd (chicken would be better), but to each his own.
Dear Wondering: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Dear Upset: I don’t think the birds are using your car as their personal target. We can’t afford to assign somebody on the parks staff to chase the birds away. Try not parking under the trees and just be glad cows don’t fly.
Dear Grumpy: Yes, I realize that there are a lot of rules in our parks. But they are there for a reason, mostly to protect you from hurting yourself. But I have learned that there are three types of people in this world. There are those that learn by reading, those that learn by observation and those who just have to touch the electric fence. I guess I know which group you’re in.
Dear Dude in Shirley: It’s a female thing; I’ll never understand it; you’ll never understand it. In fact, no man since the beginning of time has ever understood it. Just go with the flow and keep a low profile.
Dear Neatness Lady: Sorry, we have no plans at this time to remove the dead fallen trees from Thornwood. We let them lay where they fall for a reason. As they rot, they provide not only humus (that helps plants grow) but places for insects and other critters to hide. All we will do is cut them off the trail to get them out of the way.
Dear Dumbfounded: I’ll admit I would also be surprised to see a camel run through my backyard, especially where you live. The last wild camel I saw was back in 1991 in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. If it happens again, I’d check the expiration date on the milk carton.
Dear Itchy: I was surprised to read that you got bitten by a mosquito the last time you visited one of our parks. Normally, ours are polite enough not to do that. If it happens again, let us know, and we’ll find her (females are the ones that bite) and give her a stern lecture and a time out. Try to get a look at the name tag next time.
Keep those cards and letters coming in.
FYI: Six of these were real questions.
Joe Whitfield is a naturalist and gardener for the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department.