This morning just as I was slipping on my sandals, and getting ready to head out on my way to work, I heard a funny noise, turned and saw Rick moving faster than I have ever seen him move. He rushed out the front door yelling for Jack, our big Aussie. I KNEW there was something wrong and I started after him, my brain working in such high gear that everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.
"WHAT IS IT?" I yelled.
"Coyote!" he said as he hustled right down the path to the barn. The hair on the back of my neck raised, and I shifted into a higher gear as I chased him down the path! As I burst through the gate leading to the "Back 4", Rick had stopped and was looking up the hill. I was counting goat heads. "Bella, Hummingbird, Whimsy, Zip, Honey......" my heart was pounding as I expected the worst.
Rick said, "Darn thing got one of your chickens." I looked up the hill just in time to see a fuzzy pair of ears disappearing over the rise.
"You are sure that was a coyote?" I asked.
"Yup," he said, "I saw it happen." He turned and looked back at me with a sad look. He knew how much I treasured my flock. He said "What were you going to do with that?"
I was very surprised to see my wicked sharp pitch fork in my hand. I must have grabbed it as I ran down the path. There I was, wearing my nice work clothes and sandals, with my hair and makeup all done, holding a pitch fork. I was a little embarrassed.
"Well", I said sheepishly, "I guess I was going to kill the heck out of something."
All of us who have the care of a herd or flock know that feeling of protective instinct. It is a powerful, primitive feeling, and people have been protecting their livestock for hundreds of years. (Yes, even with pitchforks :) On my drive to work , I thought about my forebears, and how hard they worked to carve their living from the land. My own Granny had a wonderful garden and hens on four acres until she was well into her nineties, and only gave them up after a nasty fall that she never quite recovered from. She had climbed up a ladder to turn on the irrigation water from a standpipe. She only fell because that rickety old ladder broke. Granny gave me my first mama hen and chicks when I was just 13, and loved to tell me stories from her farm and how the fox or raccoon had gotten a hen or favorite rooster. She lived to be 97. She would have LOVED that I am living such a similar lifestyle. It was largely her experiences that created in me the drive to live the farm life. Granny would have been very proud of my green beans.
For now, I am considering buying a 22. Then, look out coyotes, you just might wind up with a bullet in your butt!
...armed and DANGEROUS!!!