Tuesday, October 16, 2007

This morning I went outside before daylight because the dogs were barking up a storm. Badger, the great pyr, was really sounding upset, barking with more aggression than usual. Bobbie Sue, who never gets right into the middle of things, was on the sidelines cheering him on. Once they realized I was out there with them, the turned up the heat even more. Whatever it was sounded large, lots of crashing noises out there behind the shed. I yelled for one of the kids to bring me a flashlight. My youngest yelled back "What about the shotgun?!", but I just wanted the light, not the gun. I did think it might be a bear, since we do have lots of those around. but they don't normally come that close to the house. Finally, the light was delivered and I shined it out there. It was a coon, high on top of a huge rose bramble, and Badger was in the bramble with it, furiously trying to reach it but just getting caught up in the thorns the more he tried. That was the source of the loud noise, just Badger in the bramble. The coon saw his opportunity for escape and made a run for it, and the dogs followed him down into the gully. They came back to the house soon, checking to see if I was pleased, which I was. He does a really good job of keeping the chickens safe, but we did lose one a few weeks ago and I'm figuring it was to that coon. I hope he won't keep trying to come back for second helpings. The chickens are free range, but they go into a house at night. Other critters live in the gully, a fox and a weasel, and now I guess the coon too. I don't try to clear all the woods and mountains of critters, that's their space. But near the house and garden is our space and they need to steer clear of it. That's what Badger does, he enforces the "Green Zone" around our home. And Bobbie Sue does a good job of helping him. Sometimes she's the first one to sound the alarm and Badger takes it from there. She doesn't like direct confrontations. Some people couldn't sleep with all the barking they do at night. But it actually doesn't bother me. When I don't hear them barking I will wake up and wonder what's wrong, or if they fell asleep at the post. Then I have to get out of bed and check. Usually, though, it's just a calm night and they don't see anything worth barking at.

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