January 14, 2007

Afternoon rounds

Scottie, our border collie is barking. I pull on my snowsuit (it's about -23c out there today) and grab the old 22. I run out to where the dogs are looking and see two coyotes on the run. I fire off three shots and wonder why they are coming around in the afternoon. There seems to be more and more coyotes every year, despite our efforts to keep their numbers down. Usually they start to howl and get active around sunset and again before sunrise. Some nights they prowl around the perimeter of the corrals and that will have the dog barking fitfully. (photo is Scottie on a warmer day with the wooly faced girls).

I stop and check the chickens and pick eggs. Despite the frigid cold outdoors it is cozy inside, thanks to the bank of windows along the south wall. Even a subzero day can be pleasant in there when the sun is shining. A resident cat enjoys the afternoon sun and sleep on the window ledge,keeping one eye open for renegade mice. I top up the cat food and the water bowls.

Back at the house, I grab chunks of rendered fat cracklings and step back outside to reward the dogs. Scottie did a fine job and his new little mate Bella, is quickly learning. Bella, the young sheep guard dog hasn't barked yet, but is observing Scottie and how he guards the ranch. She knows by instinct that the perimeters should be checked and eventually she'll learn from Scottie when and who to bark at. She's been trained to stay with the sheep from the time she was born. At 3.5 months old, when she is out of the sheep pens and becomes fearful, she'll scamper back to the comfort of the sheep in their pens.

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