December 26, the feast day of St. Stephen, was in medieval England a time when horses were given a brisk run. Then some of their blood was drained off, a practice that was believed to be good for horses as well as men. This custom may have been the reason that people began to pay special favors to animals on St. Stephen’s Day.

Weather permitting, December 26 is still a good time to put out treats for the birds and let dogs have an extended romp.

It is also an opportunity to go bird watching or observe deer and perhaps antelope or elk. Near Boise, try the Greenbelt or Barber Park. Deer have winter range in the hills above Lucky Peak Reservoir. To view deer, bring binoculars but leave dogs at home (sorry). One place to park is on Idaho State Hwy 21 at Highland Valley Road near Milepost 12 before you reach Highland Valley Summit. The road is closed to vehicles but a viewing area is a short walk from the highway.

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