Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘rabbits

Definitely Cold

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This polar vortex is one heck of a weather event, but we are enduring the harshness with general acceptance. I am always amazed that anything still functions at extremely cold temperatures like -31°(F), but at oh-dark-thirty yesterday morning my garage door opener jumped to life at the push of the button, and my car started without complaint, to roll out into the frigid darkness on its rock-hard tires.

As dramatic as the media are being about the danger of this cold wave, many implying that people shouldn’t spend extended time outside or they will die, I hearken back to stories from the 1986 Steger International Polar Expedition. They spent day and night out in temperatures that reached -70°F at times.

We should be able to handle a couple of days of 30-below.

When I got home from work yesterday, the horses were peacefully standing out in the paddock, soaking up the sunshine through their blankets. They are spending nights inside during the super-chill. Cyndie said they now all walk in on their own, one after the other, making their way into their appropriate stalls.

The chickens showed no interest in coming out after the snow last Sunday, so, now that it’s also wicked cold, we don’t even open their door. Yesterday, Cyndie found one beautiful egg in the nest boxes, unfortunately, cracked and frozen.

Cyndie dug out booties for Delilah’s paws, which we haven’t tried since the first attempt was met with total rejection years ago. The results were no different this time. She didn’t like them, but allowed Cyndie to put them all on. A few steps out the door and black boots were kicked in every direction.

It appears the wild rabbits in our vicinity are using activity to keep warm, as their footprints are pounding well-worn paths in the snow. I found a not-so-subtle entrance to a den dug into the snow beside the shop.

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As fast as this vortex from the pole has settled upon us, it will also recede. In its place, the forecast for the coming weekend offers a difference of 70 degrees, with Sunday’s high reaching the mid 40s.

That will definitely feel warm.

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Written by johnwhays

January 31, 2019 at 7:00 am

Lambing Season

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As I pulled in the driveway yesterday afternoon, I found Cyndie walking Delilah on the 26′ retractable leash. Cyndie was shaking her head as she approached my car. I glanced down at Delilah and saw that she was carrying something in her mouth. Guess who found a rabbit’s nest?

With all that length, it is easy for Delilah to explore a little ways off the trail, into the woods. By the time Cyndie realized the dog was onto something, rabbits were already scattering in 4 directions.

Before I could even get the car backed into the garage, Cyndie was calling out that our neighbor George had sent a text message that there are new lambs. Since Delilah was preoccupied with a project that we didn’t want to see, we left her on her own in the kennel and drove to George’s.

He hadn’t returned home from his farrier work trimming or shoeing horses, so Cyndie dropped off a treat of homemade muesli cookies inside his door and we went exploring on our own. We found two mommas in pens with heat lamps, each with a pair of lambs.

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It has been rewarding for us to gain an up-close view of the activity of livestock farming on the small scale.

Thank you so much, George, for coming into our lives! 

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Written by johnwhays

April 7, 2016 at 6:00 am

Trail Cam

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We finally got ourselves a camera to monitor the animal activity on our trails. The big challenge will be figuring out where the best vantage point is for capturing activity. I took a first crack at it over the weekend and hit the jackpot.

Two different species of ferocious forest animals were captured in their travels across our trail. We now have a clear explanation for why Delilah gets so worked up, because we have photo-evidence of the threatening intruders that have been encroaching on her turf.

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Hey, don’t laugh. Don’t you remember that scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail?”

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Written by johnwhays

February 22, 2016 at 7:00 am

Mysterious Shriek

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I was already on edge Wednesday night, after the close encounter with the traffic fatality earlier in the day, so the blood-curdling wail that arose in the darkness beyond the bedroom door to the deck easily startled me out of bed. It was around 10:30 p.m. and the mysterious cry that began surprisingly similar to the sound of our teapot on the stove actually had me questioning how the water could possibly be boiling at that hour.

The distressing shriek just kept going like a siren, causing both Cyndie and me to climb out of bed to investigate. I grabbed a powerful spotlight that I keep next to the bed for just such occasions, and scanned as far and wide as limitations of view allowed.

There was no sign of any activity, even as the suffering victim continued to scream. It was chilling. There was no pause for a breath. I was wishing the predator would just finish the job and end the misery. It lasted somewhere between one to two minutes long.

I strained to get a sense of the distance, or any other identifying impressions. The sound seemed to move away and then come closer. I wondered if it was airborne. Did an owl grab something? What would react to attack by emitting such a piercing cry?

I didn’t trust my senses enough to feel confident about the apparent movement. Maybe it was just resonating in a way that made it sound like it was flying around. Since it was carrying on for so long, I had time to step outside for a better vantage point.

Are you kidding!? I wasn’t about to expose myself to whatever savage beast was out there in conflict mode. Well, actually that’s exactly what would have happened, since I was “dressed” for bed at that hour. But what I mean is, I wasn’t going to put myself at increased risk by stepping outside into the darkness, not having a clue what was out there.

When the sound finally ceased, we climbed back under the covers and I pretended I could fall asleep, despite the rambling thoughts of what the heck just happened outside. Soon we were both wondering out loud about what animals, both the predator and the prey, were most likely responsible.IMG_iP3036eCH

I asked Cyndie to give the area out back an extra search in the morning to look for tracks or signs of a fight. She found no evidence whatsoever. George was over for dinner and cribbage last night and he suggested that the screaming was probably a rabbit, and the attacker could have been a coyote or fox. That I believe as easily possible, but if they were under our deck, I don’t know how they got there without leaving tracks somewhere.

The rabbits are plentiful around here and Cyndie did find a super-highway of their tracks in our woods. She took this picture for me to use.

We’ll have to watch that spot and see if there are one less sets of footprints showing up from now on.

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Written by johnwhays

February 12, 2016 at 7:00 am

Got Shade?

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We’ve got shade by the round pen now!

DSCN3693eDSCN3691eYesterday, Cyndie stepped outside with Delilah and the dog made a beeline for a spot where there was another rabbit’s nest. It is pretty obvious that they breed like rabbits, because Delilah keeps finding new nests filled with babies.

In this case, Cyndie tried to rescue a couple of them from becoming Delilah’s next meal, but I don’t think she had much success. She walked back into the house and said, “I guess that’s why they call them ‘dumb bunnies’.”

Apparently none of them were smart enough to evade the resident predator.

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Written by johnwhays

July 19, 2015 at 6:00 am