About a month ago, at some ungodly, early morning hour, the pups were barking hysterically. I grabbed our halogen spotlight (which is as bright as a car headlight!!) and went out on the porch to see what was causing the dog’s upset. My focus was long distance….out in the orchard, pasture, etc….nothing. Then with a rush, I realized that there was something about 20 feet away from me…..walking down the driveway, munching on blackberries: A small herd of elk, complete with babies. Wow—cool, right? At least that’s what I thought at the time…..
Move forward to about a week ago….the third pasture paddock with 4′ field fencing had just been completed . The perimeter 6′ high fencing on two of the four sides of the full pasture are yet to be completed. Bob went out in the morning, all aglow that we now had a new paddock to put our ewes and ram in, only to find three, count them THREE fence sections simply pushed over and squished. He carefully pulled the T posts back to vertical and stretched out the fencing as best as possible until we could re-stretch the fence and called it good. The next day, I went out with him to check out whether it was a bear (as he suspected) or an elk. Elk. There’s that word again. Looking at two of the fence sections and the scat on the ground, it was apparent that an elk (or two or three) had done the damage—they had simply put their heads into one of the 6×6 holes and kept right on going, fence and metal t-posts still attached!!! Several of the previously 6×6 holes in the fencing were now spread to at least a foot wide…and the wires were permanently locked in their new location from the tension that had been put on them. Amazing. Now I pictured the elk that I saw in our driveway….the biggest were only about 1-1/2 deer size. The damage didn’t seem to mesh with the size of elk.
Night before last we had dinner at a neighbor’s house….outrageously fun time…..as I turned to leave, I noticed a stuffed head on one of the walls. Think of a head the size of a rhinoceros….with antlers going every which way. Elk. Gotta love it. THIS explained the fence. This thing had been HUGE!!! What I had seen in our driveway were merely a herd of youngsters!! So….I again wonder about the naming of this animal. I think a new name is in order…..
Now…to get back to my original intention for this blog. Corky, our little, ten year old, gimpy, arthritic sheltie. Because of this episode with the fence…while we still thought it was a bear causing the damage, I decided that Bob and I needed to get out the 12 gauge shotgun that I had picked up locally and shoot off some buckshot shells and bearscarers during the daylight hours, so that we would be more comfortable shooting this monster off in the middle of the night with only half of our brain working. We were both impressed. I fell in love.
Moving right along, we went inside, cooked an early dinner, ate ….and wait….where’s Corky?….she’s not here mooching. I suddenly realized that I hadn’t paid ANY attention to where she was when we went out to shoot off the shotgun. Quickly, I went outside and started calling and whistling for her….expecting her to poke her little head out from under the swing or front steps. Nothing. I was just turning to go back inside and check to see if she had locked herself in the bathroom, yet once again, when I heard someone calling out from way out on the highway. I heard the word “dog” and my heart sank. I yelled back asking if it looked like a small collie and he answered, “yeah, a sheltie….she’s in distress and won’t come to me”….
Understand, that when I first went out to look for Corky, I had slipped on the quickest shoe around ….my big old knee high mud boots. Now fast forward to me running in these very same boots down the pasture corridor, through the paddock that the elk hadn’t been able to find a way out of and then me climbing the field fence, using the wood poles it was stretched to, to launch myself over the top of the fencing into the field of blackberries. By now the neighbor had successfully (but dangerously—this was on a blind curve!!) blocked traffic….to the tune of 5-6 cars backed up. Corky was busy running back and forth on the edge of the single lane highway trying desperately to find a way back onto the property through the blackberries. Running. She hadn’t been hit…! I scrambled up through the blackberries and snatched her up… and met some of our neighbors who live around the bend about a half of a mile away. Ben and CeCe.
What an absolute disaster this could have been. Thank god for neighbors and people that care. Corky slept for the rest of that day.