What do they have in common, you ask? Both stir strong emotions - especially in shepherds. Last night a large pack of coyotes got extremely close to the sheep pen. Alarmingly close. I was furiously finishing a knitting project and enjoying the peace and quiet, when they started. The dogs jumped up, the cats ran, and I beat a quick path to the back deck. I turned on the flood lights and Scrappy and I ran outside. Bernie had decided she was better off in her crate. One second of all that noise and he took a sharp left (in the direction opposite to the sheep) and tore into the chicken yard, barking furiously. I don't blame him. He was greatly outnumbered. I saw Hoosier cushed on the ground between the sheep and the fence. Cushed (lying down in llama-speak). Either he has nerves of steel or he's as smart as a turnip. I clanged some metal objects together and the pack finally took off.
And so started my night. Kay and I called each other to keep abreast of their location. I could hear her Maremmas barking their heads off. Hmmm. Maybe I should turn Hoosier in for a Maremma. In any event, the coyotes kept this up for quite a while. I made sure the new hot wire was turned on and then loaded the .22.
I finally hit the sack around 10 and was thinking about the similarities between bagpipers in 1500 Scotland, coming down a hill, pipes wailing, piercing through the sounds of war and causing blood to run cold in the veins of their enemies, while whipping their own forces into a bloodthirsty fury. As for me, at the first sound of a piper, the tears well up in my eyes and I am crying within seconds. It stirs something very deep and sad in me. Not so, the coyote songs. The cacophony of the coyote pack, with its shrill yips, howls, barks, and other ungodly sounds, sure can make your blood run cold.
It was a long night. This morning, it was raining. I was so relieved, because I knew that all the sheep and their erstwhile guardian would be in the hoop house. The dogs and I took a short walk down my road and it soon became clear just how close the coyote pack had gotten. The dogs were whipping around, noses to the ground, all around the barn and down along the road. Thank goodness those tasty morsels (aka the goaties) were safely locked up for the night. I hope the pack moves on. I know the importance of predators and keeping the balance. But it seems that we are heavy on coyotes and light on natural prey - rabbits, etc. I will keep my rifle loaded.