Monday, November 17, 2014

Disturbing the Hunters

The three adult Border collies and I left on our walk at daybreak, when the wind was calm, the sky clear, and frost covering the ground.

We encountered the coyote hunting in the recently harvested soybean.

He looked surprised to see us.

Had he not noticed the time? The lightening sky? Or, did he know in his bones that snow was coming and he needed to eat well?

He trotted toward the woods, then turned and looked at us, deciding whether he wanted to leave his prime hunting spot.

Because we'd just crossed a road, my dogs were on leashes and anxiously awaiting me to release them so that they could hunt the fields for mice.

"Go on, coyote," I said.

Reluctantly he retreated to the woods.

And my three dogs happily ran and chased and hunted until they encountered the raccoon who wisely climbed a tree.

Caeli jumped and whined and jumped some more at the base of the tree.

"That'll do," I said, summoning the dogs to begin walking toward home.

As we walked down the lane, we eyed a pair of red-tailed hawks, circling the hay fields, hunting for mice, perturbed to be giving up their hunting grounds to dogs.

Unlike the night creatures, they'd continue to hunt and screech throughout the day.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Can I Hold Her?

My almost-4-month-old pup and I were visiting co-workers in the garden outlet store.

It was a cold, gray afternoon and there were few customers, just a handful of retirees.

Niki was having a grand time sniffing out the dog lovers, sitting in front of them and getting pats and rubs.

"Can I pick her up?" a gray-haired woman asked.

Niki weighs nearly 20 pounds now and much prefers her faster four legs to my slower two.

"She's kind of heavy," I said.

"Oh, she doesn't weight much more than my cat," said the woman as she sat down her chunky purse and picked up Niki.

The pup didn't squirm. Her alligator mouth didn't explore. Instead, she rested her head in the crook of the woman's arm.

"Do you have a dog?" I asked.

"My dog died this summer. She was 11 years old," the woman said.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I say no to puppy kisses, but...

I see what the puppy finds when she hunts in the grass and fields, and I know what she licks off of boots after I've been to the barn.

So when she offers a kiss, I turn my head. No puppy kisses for me.

But horses kisses are completely acceptable.

Their noses are furry and soft and smell of sweet grass.

And their warm breath warms my neck on cold winter days.

And best of all is the view.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

If I always carried my camera...

I could capture those moments that make me pause and shake my head and smile.

I could post daily photos, asking, "How did this come about?"

And giggle at the answers.

But, if I did, would the cats, dogs, horses, chickens and sheep try too hard to get photos of themselves on the web?

Would the photos look staged?

And would the farm seem less magical if I shared it all?

Readers: I'll let you guess the story behind the photo.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Another Experiment (or I Now Have 3 Flocks)

It began with a question.

What if?

Every breed has its strengths. Our Katahdins are low-maintenance, parasite resistant, self-shedding -- and flighty. Will crossing them with a Dorper settle them down and improve their carcass quality?

We'll find out next year.

Meet our newest addition.

 Hint: He's the one that doesn't look like the others.

He's hanging out with several stout ewes in the front pasture.

Meanwhile, in the back pasture, we have the Katahdin ram hanging out with his group of ewes.

Hint: He's the one keeping a distance from the ewes.

Residing in the middle pasture are a group of ewes that I'm using to work the dog and some lambs that are going to market next month, and the llama.

They didn't get their photo taken because I was running out of light.

But they'll be photos next spring when the results of the new experiment land on the ground.