Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Most Mysterious Murder

March has not changed one bit...there are always murders of various victims on the farm during this month. Usually the devious deeds result from the 'resident serial murders' a.k.a. barn cats however this time I was most disturbed at what lied on the back porch after letting Sam in from his nightly 'bathroom break'.

Our evening was spent at the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science awards dinner in which a relative was the keynote speaker.  Lovely evening, despite the rain.  All seemed well. Upon our return, Nugget, Little Bear, and Coty were very wet but happy to see us.  After their dinner, Sam was let out as he does not wear a shock collar due to extreme fear of anything around his neck. Sammy is scared of many things including my camera however only in the past year has he began to accept the strange flash of light accompanied by weird clicking noises.  My beautiful black lab was only out in the dark night  for 10 minutes.  Something accompanied him upon his return, something most disturbing and distressful.  It was promptly dropped on the mat when Sam rushed into the kitchen.  No bones are allowed in this house and Sam knew the rules.
This bone is not of the bovine type whatsoever and certainly did not resemble the worn and hollowed stocking stuffers they received in December!  This bone had a flat portion and a tendril of flesh remained attached with a red spot on the tip signifying a fresh kill.  'What the ....?'  is all I could think.  Sam stays in while we are gone.  The other dogs cannot and do not dare get near the painful and shocking borders.  So many questions, so many visuals swirled in my poor brain and to make it worse, it was late at night, raining, and of course the huge flashlight wouldn't work so I had to wait until morning to look for the carcass.  I googled deer anatomy and found the type of bone immediately.  Shoulder area.

The good husband quickly told me it could be turkey or geese, but no way.  I asked him to remember what I do each November and December....cook a turkey and of all people, I would know what type of bones belong to fowl.  This bone was too big and flat.  Coyotes were my first thought but I am out at night and do not hear their howls. Besides, there would be no bones left and certainly Sammy wouldn't be able to access it.  Stray dogs?  Possibly but I would think no meat would be left if a hungry canine got a hold of a deer and it would stay and guard the kill which Sammy would not dare defy it.  The stray beagles were shot by a hunter in December and I have not heard or seen evidence of stray dogs for quite some time now.  Had a deer tempted our dogs and not have been quick enough to escape?  So far, they all have won at 'Tease the Dog' game.  Was it my poor 'Limp'?  Her front left leg just dangles but she still can run though she hobbles horribly at the walk and trot.  I haven't seen her for two days and this was my worse fear.  Could it be Bossy Boy or Patty Pat?  They currently hate eachother waging war against eachother's bodies. Now that Bossy's Boy lost his beautiful rack, Patty Pat attacks him all the more.  The 'hooving' is very hard and is it possible to shatter a spine during these ferocious fights?  My corn yard is rated R for violence!

I got up at dawn but began to dread the deed, so I procrastinated until after 10 am to walk the woods.  The rain was steady.  Sam does not go across the tracks, near the barn or up the lane.  He prefers the woods so I began fighting leafless briars and slippery mud to find the impossible.  Two hours passed.  I became quite discouraged, not understanding why there was no smell, and no remains.  As always I am blessed with good thoughts when I  become desperate.  Hmmm, who up there is helping this mere mortal today? Something told me to stay near the house and search the steep hill that was cleared but filled with weeds.  I found a gift!  I found Tanner's left antlers!  So cute for a such a young buck.  A baby four point and quite pretty for a 1.5 year old. (hmmm, now I am not sure those were Tanners as I post the pics...) I checked the well where I rescued Nub, it was still safely covered.  I climbed up the right side of the hill above the big Sycamore.  Sammy does not come home with burrs or weeds stuck on his coat so I thought he might take a wide deer path and decided to enter a steep one that lowered into a small creek. Thick underbrush slowed my steps as the path narrowed and the cardinals quietly darted around the branches wondering why I was invading their home.  This is impossible, I was thinking.  Still nothing and those painful thorns refused to stop grabbing at my knit hat causing me to utter obscenties at things that do not understand english! : ~)  I saw a worn spot on a tree and wondered if I could find any more antlers so I trekked up the steep hill a little ways. With absolutely no hesitation and no thought an automatic sound full of surprise and shock erupted from my vocal chords.  I found it...and it didn't really smell. 

A 'baby'...what I call a baby anyways.  Assuming it was born in June or July, the remains of an 8 month old deer lie sprawled in an abnormal position.  The brain and neck were cleaned however, flesh remained in the interior.  To me that was strange but with more thought I think I figured it out.  Sam.  The prettiest black lab with the sleek luxurious black coat and the cutest puppy like personality killed one of my deer.  I found the struggle spot a few feet away.  The brush and ground showed a lot of white hair.  He probably grabbed the neck to break it. 
Two or three days ago it was nice out.  Two or three days ago I remember the 'bad' husband forgot to get Sam back in allowing for our black varmint to stay out unattended for over an hour with him not being in the yard with the other dogs.  Two or three days ago one of my fawns lost its life because we were negligent.  It hurts.  But I deserve the pain.  Life is precious no matter who's life has been taken.  And the sad part is, I am not sure who's fawn it is.  Not Brownie's bunch.  I believe it belongs to one of the shy Long Tails.  That herd of does come and go and are so skittish it is difficult to study them.  Mystery solved but March's murderous ways are not over if the past dictates the future. And come to think of it, May wasn't much better.
p.s. This is a link to Camera Critters so my story could be seen by fellow animal lovers who love photography!  Check them out!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Honk, Quack, Chirp...Snort, All Sounds of Spring!

Spring is coming to the farm despite the cold weather and snow flurries! 
Instead of the usual pair that arrive each season, six geese visited the pond this morning.  They began to honk loudly as I walked Big Blue and Jess down the lane to the Cemetary Paddock. Several robins returned early last week then it snowed on them the following day, poor things.  Frozen ground means no worms, but the ground is now soft and squishy so lots of orange bellies are full of protein.  My mallards are swimmng around making plans for their version of cute fuzzy things to enter the world.  Hopefully those awful snapping turtles will leave them alone...the huge one mysteriously died last fall after making its way to the pond's 'beach'.  It looked to be in perfect condition. 

Our beautiful cardinals, nuthatches, tufted titmice, and assorted woodpeckers seem to be quite happy as all of the birds were singing melodious tunes while I cleaned the stalls.  I just had to stop and listen.  They sounded different today and all were very loud!

The Long Tails came running down the hill when they saw me.  Since they are the submissive group to Brownie and Bossy's 'brood' they have learned to watch and/or listen for me before the corn hogs appear before sunset.  Unfortunately, Patty Pat was with them and pushed them all aside (even a youngster!) despite the over abundance of corn piles.  Ringo sooned joined her for lunch.  And, my reticent turkeys even watched...but decided that it was too dangerous to share in the bounty and stayed up the hill.  They are finding leftovers as I see their prints close to the barn and even in the arena and under the bird feeder which is very close to the house. 
Little Snort is Thin Face's fawn.  She remains nervous like her mother but thankfully stands still for a photo.  I believe Thin Face is warning her not to trust that crazy farm lady with that black thing that looks like a miniature rifle (camera with my long lens).  I was surprised not to see Limp with the Long Tails.  Her poor knee may never heal.  She continues to hobble down the hill and trot around daily, looking for a bit of corn.  Patty Pat doesn't even give her a break!  Nature is tough to observe at times.  Patty Pat watched her mother get hooved constantly so I guess she is making up for past wrong doings!  I need to blog about her!

Finally, the ponies are getting more turnout time which makes for happy horses.  No crazy bucks today, just some silly crow hops.   Got to ride Blue yesterday and he was a very good boy! 
Yes, Spring is coming to the farm and happy times are ahead!