Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter in Meadows of Dan

Proud Knightley
The forecast is for snow tomorrow. Despite our bitterly cold temperatures, we haven't had a significant snow event, as they call it these days. The wood pile is covered and there is a stack of wood waiting by the wood stove; I'm planning to take extra water over for the chickens in a little while so I won't have to carry it through the deep drifts that we might get if the snow they predict does happen. Right now the sky seems clear, although it is certainly cold enough for all sorts of interesting winter weather.

This morning was cold so I waited a little later than usual to tend the chickens, walking with Emma across the frozen field. When we got to the farm the two feral dogs that have been cruising the community for a year were down near the barn. These two dogs were abandoned by their owners and had to make shift to take care of themselves for awhile until a kind neighbor had them trapped and paid for shots and to have them spayed and neutered. They are still so wild that he cannot pet them despite trying to help them and feeding them for so long. Emma attacked one of them last summer for being in our yard and they don't come very near the house anymore.

It was obvious from their dog body language that the two dogs were guarding something down in the field. Recently we lost a couple of chickens, somehow, to some sort of animal and I was concerned that yet another might have fallen victim, this time to the dogs. The pen is very secure, however, and so is the chicken house; at least I really don't think dogs could get in. I secured Emma and walked down toward where the dogs were sitting. The black spotted one (they appear to be cattle dog mixes) headed up the pumpkin patch toward Concord Road when he saw me but the brown spotted female was more reluctant to leave her prize. She picked up up and trotted with it a few steps before fear overcame her and she left it.

When I got close enough I could see that their meal was a freshly killed adult wild rabbit. I moved away immediately on seeing what it was, concerned that the dogs would abandon their meal. The brown dog stopped at the edge of the pumpkin patch and dropped to the ground, then rolled over in what looked like a submissive gesture a good distance away from me. Was she asking me not to take her precious food? Or was she asking permission to retrieve it? She got to her feet and then bowed to me, as if to play. I went inside the chicken house and looked out a few moments later to see her pick up her rabbit and trot quickly across the field, to remove it to a safer and more private spot.

These dogs do have a safe place to sleep, when they chose to do so, at the home of their friend who is trying to help them. I hope they head there before the snow comes, if it happens, and are comfortable during the storm. I put the dogs situation in the little book I wrote, A Knightley's Tale, and compared their lives to what my two pampered pets experience. They do have fun and seem as happy as dogs can be that are so frightened all the time, but their lives are in constant jeopardy from speeding cars, other dogs, coyotes, bears and illness. I'm not sure the freedom is worth the pain for dogs in this world these days. I am watching my two, healthy, romping in the floor and surrounded by their toys, secure that they are loved and a meal will be waiting for them if it's time. The two feral dogs have a chance at a happy home but fear holds them back; they just can't bring themselves to trust the people that would care for them. It's sad to think that their experience of humans has been so painful.

What I'm spinning: Hand dyed Jacob wool
What I'm knitting: A couple of projects started but little time to work on them.
What I'm crocheting: All hibernating
What I'm reading: Some mysteries, a history of King Henry VIII
Current sounds & sights for spinning along: Inspector Morse mystery series.
How the diet is going: Behaving fairly well.

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