Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How many times have you ever heard someone say, "I never saw that before or that is unique!"? You could drive around Soldotna and Kenai and count a hundred moose easily in less than a weeks' time and think nothing of it. But throw in one white one and people would drive for miles just to see it and take pictures of it. The white one has four legs, two ears, two eyes, and a big nose just like all the others but just because it is a different color it becomes unique in the eyes of the viewer.

Here on the slope we have all watched countless arctic fox scurry around our work sites somewhat blending in with its natural white surroundings. They are much harder to spot then say a black one or a bright red one especially after a fresh snowfall. It is easy to understand why God gave them and the Polar bear white for a color since they live in the land of ice and snow.

Then one day you look out and spot a totally black fox lurking in the shadows of the rig. The same thick coated fox as all the others except this one is black. What chance does he have to hide in the snow? Every once in a while it looks to me like God enjoys playing by making something stand out different then all the other animals you see around you.

Guys who have been working on the north slope for 30 years got excited about seeing the black fox and yes I heard the saying "I never saw that before" many times. I know when I get home the first question they will ask me is "Did you get any pictures of it?" Nope but you can go to the computer and print out a picture of any fox and color it in with a magic marker and that will be pretty close to what he looks like! Kinda like a chocolate chip with fur on it sitting in a bowl of vanilla ice cream!

People like anything unusual and kids are no different than us adults. Test them to see if I am not right. Buy several pairs of gloves or pens or whatever and go up to your children one at a time and tell them to pick one item. If you have 3 items all the same color and one off color they will pick the off color 90% of the time regardless of what is their favorite color. Why? Because it is unique! You may end up with all of your children picking the same color just because one just happened to be unique.

Taxidermists get request from people all the time to mount certain kinds of wildlife just because they are unique in some way. Often times they may not be the biggest or the prettiest specimen but simply because they are unique in some special way.

My brother once got a raccoon mounted that had a very unusual white belt around it making it unique. However as time went on and the raccoon was near the windows in the family den the raccoon became bleached out and turned pure white from the sun. He was no longer unique for having the white belt any more but some people now think he is still unique because he is an albino and that also is unique. Someone once asked how come this albino raccoon does not have pink eyes? Normally they do my friend but not this one, no siree this one is special, an albino raccoon with brown eyes!

At my home I have several unique mounts, a whitetail buck that has one antler that grows down beside his head and almost as big as a baseball bat on the end! I also have a piebald whitetail doe that has blonde hoofs, white freckles on its back and more colored like an antelope then a whitetail deer. Two very unique and rare animals in fact the piebald deer occurs less then albino's do. An albino deer occurs about 1 in 100,000 deer so a deer that has both the piebald genetics and brown genetics is even more rare.

People collect all sorts of things that are unique. Kids save marbles that are colored in a way that caught their eye and everyone has some type of something that is unique or special to them. It isn't only wildlife that people find unique it can even be tame animals or family pets.

A few years ago we raised about 15 white turkeys at our place and one tom only had one eye from the time we got him. Well of course a one eyed turkey falls into being unique. Perhaps the only thing more unique in the turkey world would be a turkey wearing glasses as he strutted around the yard beside you puffing out his feathers and making all the drumming and other weird sounds mature tom turkey's make.

Then my daughter Kimberly got into the presidential pardoning of turkey thing and decided that one-eyed tom turkey's received a full pardon at the Perkovich home. I argued that the turkey would not need two eyes to be sitting on our table on Thanksgiving Day! In fact he will no longer even know that he had only one eye! Well guess what? I lost that argument and we ended up raising that old bird till I am sure he was pushing 60 lbs! Why? Because he was unique! Then Kim had a pet hen turkey for about 5 years because she too was unique. Then there was the cross beak chicken that was a regular at several of the schools for show and tell by our children but by several other children in the neighborhood. Today the one-eyed Tom, Lily the hen turkey and angel the cross-beaked chicken are all dead. And yes I even kind of miss those unique birds myself even if it meant we raised almost 100 lbs of meat for nothing.

Today Kim is attending college in Aurora, Colorado and on a path to follow in her mother's footsteps and someday become a veterinarian. And that is very unique as she will someday be able to treat animals instead of just pardoning them here at the Perkovich home. See you next week!

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