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Living rural, living closer to nature.

Willy and Petey, doing their bit to keep the grass mowed.

The coyotes, or co-dogs, coyote-dog mixes, are back, and looking to feed their young.  We've had one guinea snatched, and two attacked-but-escaped.  I've been out on the deck with the rifle, waiting for them, but no luck thus far.

We humans in this country, especially suburban-dwelling humans, live in a pretty safe world, some zip codes excepted, of course. But for the most part, we don't see a lot of death, except in the form of road kill, or the more antiseptic forms of human passing due to age or infirmity.

Move rural, and have any livestock at all... and you see that out at the farm, the critters live in a dangerous world.  Out here, you see it a lot, as you're just closer to it.

And so are critters like cats and dogs.  We've lost a cat, the bonsai smilodon Sergeant S'mudge,  to predators, and we spent a small fortune on the repair work needed when Kiki and Gunner drove off the coyotes earlier this year.  Over the last two years we've lost dozens of birds to coyotes, raccoons, hawks, and owls.  We've had 5 horses die out here, one who got tangled in wire and two mares who died foaling, and we lost the babies, too.

Of course, we've had the fun of lots of births, be they chicks, keets, or goats, and lets face it, babies are fun.  It's also fascinating to watch the critters learn, too.  We've got one banty hen, Darling, who lives like a troglodyte.  Over the summer we lost most of our banty and "fancy" chickens  - in the event, it appears we lost them to hawks and owls.  Darling is one of two survivors.  And during the day, when the others are out and about, she stays under cover - literally, as she goes into the space under the hen house, and only comes out for food and water when there are bigger birds or us around, so that she isn't an easy target.  She's learned and applied the lesson.  She's also always been a very friendly bird, she likes to fly up and sit on your shoulder and chat.  And when she's relaxed enough (sitting on a roost in the hen house) she'll sit there and quietly talk to you.  Whatever it is she's talking about.

The two guineas who've been attacked (with injuries, one has a probable broken wing) have also modified their behavior, and don't venture as far out as the once did. They've even established a "Wounded Warrior" facility over in the aviary - they've taken over the hutch where we acclimatize young birds prior to letting them run free - we call it "keetergarden."  They hang out in there, getting food and water, and behind a couple of fences and under cover.  And we didn't put them there.  They got themselves there.

So it's more good than bad.  But when it's bad it's heart-wrenching.

Last night I got an email from a buddy who lives a few miles away from here.  His little piece of ground, and the dogs who provide the guard, were assaulted yesterday.  With a casualty.

The mourning flags are flying at Flying Pig Farm. Annie, our blonde haired, blue eyed Scottish Lass and boss dog of the farm yard fell in mortal combat with the Coyotes. I found her body this morning after she failed to answer evening and morning muster. She did not become carrion, our other dogs apparently drove off the assailants, but she could not survive her wounds.

We buried her as befitting a warrior, near where she fell, the Flowers of the Forest accompanied the procession to the burying place. The whole Regiment was on parade and on the march back to barracks we had all the Tunes of Glory: The Black Bear, the Gathering at Lochliel, Scotland the Brave. the drums and the pipes were at the quick march I once had a dog, his name was Blue, I betcha five dollars he was a good dog too. Here Blue, you good dog you.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! where the Exterior Guard sings a spark to Piddler's Green, to await her master's march down the road to Fiddler's Green.  Fare thee well, thou good and faithful friend.

You will be avenged.  Don't mess with my tribe.


Where I'm going we have to keep all the animals inside. Seen while driving around Palmer, AK this weekend: "CAUTION: Bears seen in this neighborhood..." with associated "don't underestimate their hunger or overestimate your level on the food chain" comments. And the silhouette was not one of those cutsie black bear ones; it was the brown kind, "grizzlies" I believe is the local term.

Anyway, a missing Soul (which pretty much covers it) formation will be flown in my mind's eye for Blue and all the rest. 
SWWBO informed me the other day that Betty the Yeti has let loose the mortal coil as well. I sang a dirge for her.

It's strange how quickly you acclimatize to the death of the farm battlefield. When I arrived last year, and lost one of the first McNuggets, I was very upset. But after a few CSI-like scenes of feather wreckage caused by the coyotes and other beasts, I kind of became numb to it. On the outside, anyway.

But hey! You have the baby goats now, and that is life. Well, as long as Buffy keeps them well protected...

I'd like to think Piddler's Green extends considerably up the road from Fiddler's Green, so those who travel to the former won't have so far to go, and those who travel to the latter will be greeted properly to ease their apprehensions...

Starlight scope.

Just sayin'...
Starlight scope.

Working it.  I actually have a PVS-2, but don't have the right mount for it (I have the M16 handle mount, but my M4 has a Picatinny rail - and they weren't that good a sight, anyway, without some help in terms of light.  Plus, this is an original-configuration milsurp sight, which means it's not modded for AA batteries.

I'm looking at stepping up a generation or two.
Sounds like coy-dogs to me-- I haven't met many coyotes that will risk more than one dog.  Anything with dog blood in it, though-- those are nasty.   (although...since I moved to a city, I've seen some strange acting, apparently pure coyotes--acting like dogs, basically.  The lady at the animal control building tells me it's because people feed them.)

(I'm assuming they've been seen and aren't feral dogs-- my folks have lost calves to "family pets that never leave the back yard."  Each time, she's tracked them home, and warned the owners--sometimes by the blood of their victims.  Each time, they come back and maim calves-- and they never go home again.)

May the Fallen rest in peace; the survivors will take up the guard.
John, can I sell yo a case of Claymores?
He will see your friends Home.
Suggestion sir. Set up a blind on the deck. The coy-dogs and coyotes are not stupid. If they see you, you will not see them. They will move one eye into position from behind the weeds at the ridge line, see you and go elsewhere. One canine eye is not big enough to be noticed by us humans at that distance. If you have a pair of trench binoculars in the arms room they would serve well to keep you hidden.

We are not as rural as you are at the farm but have lost several cats that have gone MIA. One, a solid white, who survived an owl or red tail used to sleep in the front yard. After she came home with blood marks on both sides she slept on the deck under a seat.