An early snowstorm surprised us yesterday. While many of us whined, Wesley barked joyously and rolled and rolled in the cold white snow! We were as ready as we could be for the snow, but not for the 60 mile an hour winds which blew the big barn door open. I heard something banging in the night, but I thought it was a shutter on one of the upstairs windows. In the morning I went to the barn and saw the damage. The clamps that held it shut were bent back into themselves. It will take some work to get it where it will shut and stay shut, a must for the winter coming.
The goats and the chickens were safe because they are behind two more doors deeper into the barn. This is the first cold weather the kids have experienced, and I wondered if they remembered our warm bathroom where they grew up. They are eating lots of the wonderful hay that I get from my friend Denis Blodgett of Brooksville Maine and growing thicker coats. They will do fine in the colder days ahead.
We had a scare last week because we spotted the lone coyote that has haunted this area for the last couple of years loping across the field headed straight for the barn. He looks as if he might be crossed with a wolf because of his huge size and grey blond color. In fact he is exactly the color of the dried and dying grasses in the field. When we made a noise and clapped our hands (which sounds a little like a shot when it echoes) he just stood there staring until, in his own time, he turned around and went back into a hedgerow along the field. It was mid- afternoon, not their usual hunting time, which meant he was really hungry to be so bold. We hoped he was gone but an hour later, just after I had gotten all the animals back in the barn, he reappeared. We shouted and clapped once again and slowly he retreated. Hunger is a great motivator in the face of fear!
I kept the animals in the barn and the cat in the house the next day because he had undoubtedly caught their scent, only to spot him that afternoon once again headed across the field to the barn. This time he turned and ran away. It rained that night and we had high hopes that he might move on to a more sheltered location. The days were still warm, and it was hard to keep the animals pent up so we decided to open the doors the following day. But we were on high alert. Our neighbor had some of his chickens killed a couple of weeks ago, but it’s been awhile since we’ve had to watch for predators. We live among coyotes and bobcats, bears and hawks, even an occasional mountain lion. It is the privilege of living so close to the wilds of nature that forces us to accept the ways of nature even as it threatens our animals.
There is much to feel threatened by in this world today, but there is also much to be grateful about…most particularly for us is the birth of Asa Dwyer Blake, the third child of our friends and neighbors Molly and Eric Blake. Little Asa brings with him a little more light, a little more love, a little more hope to stir into the life of this community. Aren’t we the fortunate ones to have this new life among us! We are so quick to point out what is wrong about our lives, what joy it is to name what is so right…a beautiful new star appeared in the sky of our lives. Welcome Asa, welcome home.