Monday, February 17, 2014
We’ve enjoyed a fairly quiet winter in western Wyoming, and are thrilled with the recent series of snowstorms and blizzards hitting our area. We’ve been in a drought so long it was somewhat a pleasure when I buried the feed truck in deep snow this morning. Even though I was sure that the snow would eventually melt and I could retrieve the truck at that time (can’t be more than a few weeks, right?), husband Jim gave it a few tugs with another truck and freed me.
We had high prices last fall during shipping, so we reduced our sheep numbers, and now learn that feeding a small flock within the one-mile pasture around the house is an easy winter chore.
Our winter guardians, in addition to three burros, are three female Akbash guardian dogs, all of the same lineage. After her battle with wolves last fall, Rena healed up nicely. We wondered, and feared, how she might react to predator challenges after such an aggressive fight in which she nearly lost her life. Rather than having fear or aversion, her reaction has been the opposite – she’s a terror on four paws, and seems to have a chip on her shoulder when it comes to the coyotes in the neighborhood.
Rena is joined in guardian duty by her nine-year old mother Luv’s Girl, and her four-month old half-sister Beyza. Following the Tajik tradition of selecting the pup with the bold carriage, I selected Beyza from her littermates because of her swagger – her tail is often held high, curled over her back, and she has aggressive guardian tendencies, even at this young age. She now goes charging out with mother and sister when a threat is perceived.
Our jackrabbit population continues to be depressed, with a corresponding decrease in the number of golden eagles wintering here. Many more bald eagles are concentrated on road-killed animals.
With Jim home taking care of the critters, in between traveling to speak at conferences, I’m spending as much time as possible working on books, with one adult nonfiction title set for release this fall, and a second recently completed nonfiction manuscript under consideration at a publishing house. I’m hopeful that by the end of the year I can get back to the world of books for young readers, but the publishing world continues to undergo upheaval and finding my place in it is like walking blindfolded.