The first thing our neighbor said to us when we told him we wanted to raise goats was "You better get a dog and a gun". Coyotes have been a menace in our area for decades. They ate one of our neighbors sheep last week. So we got the dogs, although they are still puppies. No gun yet although I am saving up for a 20 gauge shotgun (my neighbor's recommendation for me). Making Mom proud!
Brian and I rescued a couple of cats from the SPCA a few weeks ago with the intention of them being 'barn cats' and 'mousers'. So far, Betty White hasn't seemed very interested in going outside and Rambo has disappeared for days at a time, causing great worry that he has become coyote pizza. So, despite our intentions, it has been looking more like we have adopted an indoor cat and a soon to be feral cat.
Last night I took Arthur out in the front yard to do his business before bed. Imagine my surprise when I saw Betty White and Rambo running around together, playing and getting affectionate. Hurray! Betty is outside and Rambo is alive! Arthur ran around with them for a few minutes while I debated - do I let them stay outside for the night or do I coax them inside where they will be safe from the coyotes? Two hours later, the cats were safely inside, hopefully chasing critters that try to nest in the guts of our house.
I had been asleep for a few hours when I woke to the sound of Bea's ferocious barking. I got up numerous times, stepped out onto our balcony into the freezing night with my spotlight. As usual, I saw nothing. In the distance, I could hear the 'yip yip yipppp' of the coyotes. Probably around the fourth time I got up, I SAW something! For the first time, I could see the green reflection of four animals eyes out behind our back pasture. And they were huge!
"Brian," I yelled, "Get up! I think we have bears in our backyard!"
He jumped out of bed, still sleepy and disoriented and came outside. He doesn't see anything at first. When he finally does, he says, "Jen. I'm pretty sure those are cows." I am not convinced. Brian heads back to bed (he has to get up at 4am these days to get to the factory). The dogs stop barking. But I am determined figure out what these animals are! I run downstairs and grab my binoculars. I tell Brian I am on animal patrol and I will get to the bottom of this.
Armed with flashlight in one hand, binoculars in the other, I am standing out in the cold in the middle of the night, and I see a long tail on the animal. And it's grazing. Horses?! To be honest, I cannot say for sure what they were. But they were not bears. Or coyotes. And our animals were still happy and in one peice this morning. We survived another night!
It is a foggy and freezing morning. The animals water actually froze overnight. Winter is in the air!