Thursday, October 27, 2011

All in a dogs day

The old saying goes 'Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning'. Not sure it holds true, but I still notice, and the sunrises have been spectacular.

About 10 minutes later. Still nice. But getting noticeably later every day.

In just a few days, the tide has turned. Rather, the trees. Last Sunday it was hot - 86 degrees. Which is REALLY hot for late October. We sweat our way through some garden cleanup work, and finally stopped before we were really done. While we discussed and cussed at the fabric mulch which refused to come up this year (something different WILL be tried next year), I remarked at the contrast of the trees - some already bare, and the oaks still bright green. Well, 4 days later, they are about half turned. Interesting how each tree is slightly different, but predictable in color each year. One yellow, a couple more orange, and one usually quite red. Genetic diversity is great.

With the cooler weather, and earlier darkness, Dolly has taken to asking to go to bed earlier also. But with that, her winter night rounds have resumed. Which gets her into trouble occasionally.

But first - the rat story. We knew we had a resident in the garage for several weeks. I noticed one day that there were potatoes being moved, and Dolly had taken to spending as much time as possible lying in front of the garage fridge, staring intently at some unknown occupant. Then one day I noticed a pile of potatoes and small sweet potatoes stacked in the crack beside the refrigerator and the counter. I declared war. I wasn't sure what it was, but it had to go. (At least I knew it wasn't a snake, because they don't move potatoes.)

We backed the van out,pulled out the fridge, and proceeded to dig the veggies out. There must have been 25 lbs. Really. And a good share were packed into the drip pan and around the motor. Rotten. Now we knew how he could survive in the garage with no water. It was bad. Really bad. Thank you Don. He could handle it - he works with hogs.

Once the food supply and hiding place was gone, the critter moved. To under the hood of the van. Once again, I declared he had to go. Dolly was wearing her teeth and nails down on the front tire. So one pleasent afternoon I slowly backed the van out of the garage, and quickly shut the door. Dolly said he was still under the van. She sat and watched, while we suited dressed some of the girls who were 'neked' again. About the time we finished, there was a scramble, firece growling, and a yelp. I ran to see. Good dog Dolly. She had the critter on the lawn held tightly under her paws, but it was clearly not going anywhere. Poor Dolly had blood running out of her nose, and was not pleased when I took the sleek, fat light brown rat away from her, wrapped it in plastic, and Don deposited it where she couldnt retive it again. So, we laughed, we now had a 'Rat terrier' as well as a sheep dog. Dolly still checks the garage every chance she gets, but no more rats. (Very glad her shots are up to date)

So, when she goes to the kennel at night, she makes a 'round of the barnyard, checking for any out of place life forms. Occasionally there is a scramble in the leaves, and some doggy mumbling. But one night, there was more.

She lit out from the house at full speed, and I knew something was up. by the time I got to the yard gate, she was barking and growling. But the slope by the drive, there arose such a chatter - actually more like screaming. They were out by the bales, in the darkest part of the yard of course, and there was no moon. The caterwauling and growls was not letting up. I ran back into the house, yelling for Don to come quick. No answer - but he had been at he back door when went out. I went further into the house yelling like a banshee, to which he finally murmured 'What? ' Like I do that sort of thing all the time. sheesh. Anyway, we grabbed flashlights, and ran out. I was a little alarmed when it was deathly quiet. Then I saw Dolly slinking past the garage, headed toward the house.

I called her into the house and light to check her out. She was nervous and shaking, and there was blood around her mouth. But she soon settled down, and seemed ok. After a bit we took her out on a leash, and checked around the barn. The ewes were huddled in the far corner of the lot, but came toward us. We found nothing, so we left Dolly safely in the kennel, and went back inside. Dolly barked several times during the night, and of course I heard.

The next morning, Don came in and announced he had found the screamer - there was a young coon lying out by the garage. Dead, thanks to Dolly. She can quit this moving up in size business. And so, now she is also officially a 'Coon Dog'. Stick to the Sheep, please Dolly.

But the bucks are out, and things are going seasonally well. So until more news 'happens'. We're off to take lambs to the sale in Columbus. Less mouths to feed.

1 comment:

  1. Love your website and stories. We live on an acreage just outside of Lincoln and we can relate to these wildlife experiences. I also read Dolly's bio, so glad you found her. Chuckled when I saw her photo on the couch. We can relate to that too!