That’s what DW suggested for my blog title today. You know: Space; wide, open spaces. The back ten acres.
Our dog, Annie, has a nose on her. For that matter, for an old dame she has ears and eyes to match. When I take her out each midnight for that last urine burn of the grass, I must admit to a little trepidation standing there in my underwear and slippers as she alerts this way and that. Maybe a feral cat, maybe a deer, a coyote or two, skunk, raccoon, possum, you name it. Cougar. My mind goes that way.
But that nose. She’ll get on a scent, and despite being a city dog for ten years, her retriever-mix kicks in and off she goes, tugging the restraint.
DW was caught unawares by the turkey hen and her two fledges. Quite a racket from what I’m told. No menfolk came a-runnin’.
This is the same hen. When DW flushed her the first time, there was a hint of other movement in the prairie grass, which must have been the young. Seems they’ve made a home here.
Our ducks pasture in a fenced two-acre portion of that north ten. Each evening when the sun hits a certain point on the horizon, the ducks (oh, and the remaining Guinea) make their way down a gangway of sorts that runs alongside the paddock just south of their daytime facilities. There is a gate at the end of the runway that leads into that south paddock, and there they will wait until a human opens that gate. If the human looks at them as they attempt to leave the runway, they will retreat, so one must keep one’s back turned, and then off they’ll go a-quacking to the safety and layer pellets of the coop. In a row. Yet, there is usually a laggard. Either a particularly hefty magpie mix or the Ancona, the only one that can take flight. Both do a lot of flapping.
Last night it was my turn to bring the birds in, and it was the Ancona that waited a bit. I turned around in time to see it take a sharp left before joining the others in the march twenty-five feet ahead. As I closed the gate to follow, more wings, bigger wings came from the pine behind. The hen strafed the ducks with a sound not unlike a chicken’s before banking and climbing to an altitude matching the pine top in which she landed.
“If we’re not careful, we’re going to have some turkeys over-wintering in the coop.” That was my assessment. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had a stray. “And they eat a helluva lot more than quail.”
There it is, in amongst the Guineas, back when we had three. It stayed with us for about six months, until one day, out by the pond, it just up and disappeared. Not a trace. Not a peep.