|See him in the distance, the dark blob on the left? He is carrying a rifle and on the warpath.|
Scott came into the office this morning while I sat working at the computer. He was feeling down; coyotes have killed a week-old calf in the pasture. Usually the mother hides her calf fairly close to where she is, but this particular cow tends to hide hers further away.
"They chewed off his nose and genitals," he told me, "the bastards. While the poor little thing was alive."
My stomach turns. I advise, not for the first time: Get a donkey! A donkey will protect the cattle.
"Or perhaps a llama," he says. His cousins have had one with their herd for the past year.
I remind him of the lady not far from here who was almost killed by a llama a few years ago, when she was tending the cattle for her husband, who was away, and the llama didn't recognize her when she stepped inside the fence. It sat on her until she nearly suffocated. If not for her dog, which barked wildly till help came ....
I keep thinking about the woman lying in a hospital in critical condition after a head-on collision near Rosetown over the weekend; her family was travelling from BC to attend a wedding in Saskatchewan. Her husband and two teenage daughters died at the scene; her 16-year-old son has been released from hospital. I am willing her to live, if not for her own sake then for her son's; if she doesn't make it, he will have lost his entire immediate family. But I feel for her and wonder if, in her position, I'd want to live; the horror of surviving such an accident and waking up to the unbearable news; the loss; the emotional pain. I don't know how parents who survive their children ever smile again, though they somehow do; she will still find moments of sweetness in life, much as you'd fear one wouldn't.
I wonder what I could possibly do for her, this stranger to me, and fall short of ideas. She and her son will surely have family that has flown in to be with them; they will have all kinds of support from their home community and the people who matter to them. I send her virtual hugs and hopes for the best, and know that "There, but for the Grace of God ... go I."
A young man who was in the vehicle they hit when they pulled into oncoming traffic to pass a truck has also died, now.
My problems are simpler and so not problems, in the least, in comparison.
Our old dog Jenna likes to go to my inlaws' farmyard a mile from here and, though it wouldn't bother me otherwise (I rely on her to scare the deer out of my flowerbed, but when we had three of them outside our front window last week the dog was oblivious to their presence), she barks through the night and keeps Scott's mom awake. I brought Jenna home Sunday by making her walk alongside my van; last night she buggered off again and so I just went and got her. And darned if she gets a ride! I made her walk, attached via a cord to my vehicle. And now she's home and I've chained her to the doghouse. It seems wrong to tie up a farm dog, who should have all the freedom in the world. But how do we teach her to stay home? She's not listening to reason; she's not heeding polite requests or dictatorial demands (at her age she probably figures it's about time she does what she wants). Maybe I'll have to invest in one of those electronic boundaries I've heard about, where the dog gets a shock from its collar when it steps over the line.
|Jenna catches her breath while I stop to get the photo at the top, of Scott hunting coyotes. If I didn't know better, I'd almost think she enjoys trotting beside the van!|