I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, something ALWAYS happens when David is gone, either out of town or gone for the day. I swear I’m being tested, for what, I’m not sure but I know I am.
As I’ve mentioned before, we do get the occasional coyote on the property and to be honest, I’m sure it’s more often then I care to admit because we’ve found plenty of Coyote droppings to prove that. With our twenty-one sheep, four goats, four chickens and two cats, it’s like a feeding ground for the mangy mutt-like animals. But as much as I hate them for the sheer fact that inevitably, one of them will probably kill one of my beloveds, there is a natural beauty to them that I respect but another reason I think the world would be a better place if everyone and everything was vegan .
So yesterday, as I was finishing up a meeting with an arborist in the yard, I bid him adieu and walked back onto the deck to head back inside. It’s was a gorgeous, sunny and bright day , one that makes you want to spend all your time finding projects outside to work on. As I was walking on the deck I happened to gaze out toward the far pasture bordering the vineyard. All the sheep and our goats were, from what I could see, grazing around that area. I love glancing out there and seeing them all happy and doing what they love, eating. My eye happened to catch a glimpse of a silhouette of a dog walking towards the pasture. ‘What is a dog doing on our property?’ I thought to myself. My dogs were inside. It took a brief moment to register what it actually was.
Fixated on our sheep, as I screamed at the top of my lungs, it glanced at me (from what I could tell from a distance) and I started frantically jumping up and down waving my hands yelling for it to get lost. This was enough to discourage him proceeding towards my flock but I knew if I didn’t do something he would simple hide out and wait till I was gone.
Since our shot gun is inside our house and I didn’t know if there were others with him, I decided to forgo grabbing any protection and ran towards the barn to jump on the RTV and drive out to make sure my sheep were okay. When I tried to start the RTV I noticed that it was in various pieces and I couldn’t use it. I leaped off and started hauling you know what as fast as I could out to the far end of the pasture. As I came up over the small grassy knoll, I stopped. What if I was too late? What if I was about to approach something that looked like a crime scene out of one of my trashy crime investigation shows? So I called David.
Out of breath I cried into the phone, “There…is…a…coyote…on…the…property.” Managing to get out between breaths.
“Calm down Amanda.” David replied.
“What do I do?”
“Go back in the house and get the shot gun and try to see if you can find the coyote.” David replied.
Ugh, thoughts of what I may have to do crossed my mind and I said a simple little pray that went something like this…”Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, Oh God…I am no fing cut out to shoot something that breaths!”
“Okay, Okay.” I said as I hung up the phone.
Instead of turning around right away I decided to head out to the pasture to make sure all the sheep and goats were okay. I could tell that they knew something was up. Most of them where back in the second pasture all huddled together except for my three favorite, they were all in the far pasture, oblivious, which is the problem. These three are so docile that they will be the first to go if that ever happens.
I counted my sheep, which were all present and accounted for, and headed back to the house to grab the shot gun, which really wouldn’t do me any good because I don’t know how to use it. I headed back out to the big pasture by the vineyard and stood guard until Joel, David’s cousin got back and could make his rounds looking for a hole along the fence the little bugger could have squeezed through.
While I was hanging with the flock I found myself thinking about how much these little guys mean to me and how devastated I would be if I lost one by way of a hunger coyote. Except for actually birthing these little guys, I’ve put a great deal of love and care into making sure they were healthy and happy.
I knew it would be unlikely that a coyote or even a few of them would drag the sheep off of the property (especially because there is an 8 foot deer fence around it) or even out of the electric fenced pasture. I’m not really sure they can jump the fence holding a sixty pound sheep in it’s mouth so chances are, if a coyote were to get one of my sheep it means I would be left to find the remains. The thought of it is heartbreak and makes me a little sick to my stomach. As much as I want to believe I am cut out for this part of farm life, truth is, I’m one hundred and fifty percent NOT. A, I get so emotionally attached to animals that they become pets and part of my family and B, even though I know the coyote wants to kill one of my sheep, I can’t help but find it a magnificent, courageous animal that is only trying to survive. I wonder if I could train a coyote to just be my pet? I kid, I kid!
So, while standing out in the pasture, I tried to talk some sense into my sheep but was only met with blank stares as they chewed their cud. I told them that they had to stay together, really speaking primarily to Money, Peter and Lilly, knowing well enough that they are the three that like to test the waters and wander off by themselves. I can’t blame them really, I mean, it would get pretty old hanging out with 20 of your family members day in and day out. I’d need to sneak off for a little R&R too. And part of me loves that they are so fiercely independent and brave, or dumb and naive…however you choose to see it but I prefer to think of them like some of the other great explorers of their time who chose the road less traveled.
Lost in my thoughts, I saw that Joel had returned and I waited for him to meet me out in the pasture so we could debrief and I could send him on his way checking the perimeter of the property.
As I walked back to the house, racking my brain trying to think about how I can protect my animals, I realized that this is just another thing in life I can’t control. I need to turn this one over and just hope that they will be the lucky ones. That the universe realized how much I do not need a lesson in loss but rather one in trust and that it has my back.