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Monday, January 17, 2011

Still Cold

The wind’s died down and the temperature has dropped to -15F. I got out at 9 a.m. and tended to all the animals. Pete took the dogs (Rainbow and Jenna) for a hike up the bench. And we later took the goats (Ranger, Rover, and Peaches) and the horses (Tinni and Siggi) and Jenna for a walk around the loop. We were joined on the walk by Annie. Annie is a non-descript hound/lab cross with a white front and a big mouth. She was originally owned by our neighbor Nancy, who passed her on to Tim and Jillian, who we say live in the sub hood. She sometimes comes over to our place and plays with Rainbow, who is her buddy.

I was, as we walked, struck by the fact that the animals around here (and this includes Annie) are all happy and healthy. It’s a lot of work, keeping them this way, but on days like this, it seems well worth the effort. There isn’t much traffic, but sometimes a motorist will have to stop and wait for me to get all the animals out of the way of their vehicle. Today, I again had to coax Peaches to the side of the road. She butts the dogs, and I suspect that if a car got too close, that she’d take it on.

We returned home, and I grabbed Raudi’s bridle. Jillian was up at Jim’s canning moose, so taking Annie home was a good excuse for another outing. Raudi, who had not been out in a few days, was high energy. We rounded the corner and were about to go up Jim’s driveway when I saw a moose on the bluff that fronts his place.

Because it was above us, it seemed larger than it may have been. Raudi chuffed, and I kept on walking. A moose encounter really is no big deal. We live in the Matanuska Valley Moose Range where these ungulates exist in large numbers. Some have appeared curious about the horses, but none have ever made any move to attack me or them.

Raudi soon quieted and became increasingly more responsive to my whoa and walk on commands. I recalled the time in which she got away from Pete and straddled Jim’s chain gate. She just stood there waiting for one of us to help her out. She’s only gotten away from me on one other occasion. It was earlier this winter—she’d been spooked by Jack, a neighbor dog who has an uncanny resemblance to Annie. She ran about a quarter mile down the road then turned around and raced back to me, doing a nice slider on the icy road.

I dropped Annie off at Kirby and Aubrey’s place, and when I got home, called Jim and told him to tell Jillian that Annie was over there. Jim said that there were three moose in his yard. I pictured Raudi and I going up into his yard and all hell breaking loose. It was just as well that she and I kept going.

These little adventures that we keep having are preparing us both for bigger adventures. Pete’s brother Pat may be our support person for the first two weeks of our upcoming trip. He has friends in Santa Fe, so we might stay there for a few days. I can hardly wait.