Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Up and down the road

Yesterday I took a walk down the road to let the pups out. (If you are a new reader of my letters, you may go to 'letter topics' and click on 'the making of a home' to learn about our daughter and her boyfriend's house. The posts are in newest to oldest order.)

It was a beautiful October day.

This is how I found Piglet and Lexi. Tough life.

A few weeks ago their dear female duck was killed. We had all heard coyotes that night, so maybe it was them, or maybe a fox. The kids went on Craigslist and found some Rouens in the next state so they took a field trip and came home with three - a drake and two ducks. The males had a tiny bit of competition, but they've settled into a happy routine now.

Matt and a friend have been busy building winter quarters for all of them. On the left is their summer house, while the new log home is on the right.

The interior view.

Piglet accompanied me. (That's the shadow of my hand and camera on her back)

Walking back up the hill.

Our old Duchess apple tree blew over this summer. This tree was here when the owners before us bought the place in 1919. When you talk to old-timers they get a special look in their eyes when you mention a Duchess apple. We have eaten our fair share over the years and they are special. I wrote about this tree last year, including photos of it during apple blossom time. I don't know if it is true, but someone told Matt if we cut it off at six feet above the ground it will grow back. It's sure worth a try.

The other week, for the first time in all my years on earth, I saved a life! I heard the bleating of a goat. In the best of times, the sound is pleading, but this day it was really different. There was agony in it. I raced outdoors and found Bracelet caught in the mesh fence. The only reason there was mesh and not just our regular five-strand 'predator proof' electric fence is that this summer the goats have been particularly assertive in getting out of the pasture. Tom put the mesh up in front of the electric fence hoping that would keep them in. We should have known better. Nothing stops a goat from going where she wants to go. The fencing was caught on her horns and went around her face and across her throat. I pulled and got some of it away but realized I needed scissors. I ran madly back to the house, scaring Sadie with my cries of worry, and grabbed my trusty Fiskars. It wasn't easy cutting plastic strands away from a writhing goat. She was having trouble breathing and had begun to foam from her mouth. She was in dire distress. I cut as fast as I could, finally freeing her. It was very frightening for both Bracelet and Nan. There's a poem, a photo of Bracelet, and a little piece about our goats here.

After quite a spell of not getting much exercise other than daily yoga, I've started walking outside. And my Sadie is joining me. Pretty much since Ben died, she hasn't cared much about going outdoors. They used to go out in their big enclosed field for long periods of time, but she hasn't shown any interest in going alone. Well, now we two are heading out every day and enjoying the cool fall air. Then when Tom comes home we take a different walk, going up the hill into the woods. And here's what is different. We have Sadie on a leash. Whenever we used to walk in the woods, she'd take off for half an hour at a time. Thus we stopped those walks, and she only went out in the safe field. We decided that we missed taking her up the hill so I got her one of those cool Ruffwear leashes. We have the 'Roamer' variety. And she loves it! I tell her she's a city dog living on 200 acres of country.

A well-deserved rest after our walk this morning.


  1. I am so glad you saved the goat. It would hav ebeen horrifying if you hadn't been able to. Bad enough as it was no doubt. Lucky Sadie getting to get out and about with you. I am sure she appreciates the effort it takes. Plus it is good that she can go with you to protect you from roaming bears. I have worried aobut that all summer. :/ Your lane looks so fallish. Quite beautiful really.

  2. It was very traumatic, and not until it was over did I start thinking about the 'what ifs.' What if I hadn't been home? What if I couldn't free her? Tom took down all that mesh, btw. :<)
    Haven't seen any bears for months and months. The last time it was out by the tree, and I opened the front door -not having seen it- and it ran off. I did just read that the bear kill this hunting season is down because they have plenty of food so aren't roaming so much. Hooray!

  3. What a nice stroll we had with you here. I've had goats caught on fences before and it's a terrible thing until you can get them free. You're right, though--they will go just where they want to go. Our old Lily Goat opened our back door once and toured the house while we were out. If you know goats, you'll guess how we could follow her trail through the house!

  4. Clair, I read your comment and said omg, right out loud. Opened the door! Wow. Lovely thought about the 'trail.' :<)

  5. This post was like a little book of your days all in itself. (Sort of like reading your friend Gladys -- a country diary.) I'm glad you're getting outside again because the your walks to (and with) the dogs were lovely to share.

    And I'm so happy the outcome for the goat was good -- that was frightening. Good for you for such logical thinking at such a traumatic time and for being able to follow through.

  6. Wow. What a harrowing experience. So glad it had a happy ending. I love goats, though I've never lived with any. I just find their faces endearing. Same as sheep. And you know I'm mad about your donkey-kins. :)

    I saved a hawk once. I still feel very good about it.

    P.S. I feel the same about bears as you do.

  7. Thank you for those words, Sallie, they mean a lot to me.
    I don't think I was very logical. I was going on instinct and adrenalin. :<)

    Yvette, you saved a hawk!!
    All the animals are still loving their couple hours on the side lawn, and they have actually cleaned up some stuff. You should have seen the donkey and goats eat lettuce right out of the garden. :<))

  8. So glad that all the animals are okay. Goats, new ducks, dog. Sometimes animals seem a heavy responsibility but they give us so much affection and joy in return for our efforts. Take care and God bless, Carol

  9. I'm so happy Bracelet survived - hurray for your quick actions! (Makes you want to not leave the house, just in case, doesn't it?)

  10. Nan, you have been having adventures. Good thing you heard the goat and were able to get to her in time. So sorry about the little duckie. And, I'm glad to hear that you are getting out and walking. Such beautiful views you have.

    Oh, while I was putting out extra bags of trash this evening, a VERY large scorpion scooted out from beneath one bag. I almost stopped and took a picture, but sorry to say my foot just couldn't stop itself from stomping. Maybe another time. LOL

  11. I love the photos (they're crisp, beautiful and capture autumn), and I enjoyed meandering through the post, reading about the trapped goat, the dogs and the ducks, among other things. Far from what city life is like here :)

  12. Phew, that was a close shave for Bracelet, wasn't it! So glad you were home and able to save her.
    Lovely pictures of your walk, and I agree about the duchess apple tree, it is certainly worth a try.

  13. Nan,
    Thank goodness you could save the goat. I hope you had a big cup of hot tea afterwards!

  14. Poor Bracelet and Nan! What a scary experience. I'm glad you were able to free her!

    Loved seeing all those photos. Your trees are gorgeous! We had a cold front come through last night and it's currently 34. I guess fall has finally arrived in Nebraska.

    Enjoy your walks. Annie and I went for a long outing yesterday. She loves the cooler/brisk weather and I love to watch her frolic and chase squirrels. She's much more energetic when it's not so hot outside. Will you try to continue once the snow arrives?

  15. Thank you for taking us on such a lovely autumn walk. Well done for saving the goat, they say country life is calm, but, in my experience it is anything but!

  16. What an adventurous walk up and down your road, Nan. A lot of living sure goes into one day, doesn't it? Your colors are beautiful. Cold had come here, but, no frost yet, which is unusual, but, not complaining.

    Oh, the poor goat and the fright that brought for you both. I'm glad it ended well.

    That would sure be something if the Duchess came back to life, bearing more fruit.

    I truly enjoyed this post, Nan, and the reminder to get out and walk more.

  17. Whew, Nan! I'm glad it all worked out! This could have been a sad animal story, which would have been terrible.

  18. Thanks, Carol. I couldn't be happy without animals in my life.

    Debbie, I thought of that. I told Tom I couldn't leave until the mesh was torn away. He did it. :<)

    Would it have bitten you if you hadn't killed it first, Kay?! Ugh.

    HKatz, yeah, it has its own excitement, that's for sure!

    Librarian, we have to check and see if the remaining truck is rotted out or not.

    Kay, it was a great relief.

    Les, we're twenty degrees warmer that you! Think of it. :<) In winter, I hope to go out on my shoeshoes.

    Carole, that's the truth!

    Thanks, Penny.

    Deirdre, I'd probably not have shared it if the ending had been bad. It makes me shudder thinking of the 'what ifs'

  19. Loved this post.
    Sure looks like Fall in your area.
    Just starting here in the woods.
    Thank you for letting me join you.

  20. Wish you were really here to go walking, Ernestine!

  21. I'm happy that Sadie is walking with you every day. I felt bad for her being so lonely. You're a hero! Poor Bracelet, but goats will get into anything. The only creature I ever saved was a sparrow that got caught in the netting over our blueberry bushes. Thank you for taking us along on your walk. I love Piglet!

  22. Yay for the sparrow!! What's the line - something about God's eye on the sparrow?
    Piglet is utterly adorable and has the heart of a St. Bernard. :<)


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