Friday, February 25, 2011

Under Siege

 La Nina has given us our snowiest winter since we moved here five years ago.  There is about two feet of snow on the ground, and winter is showing no sign of letting up just yet.

For the most part, mornings here on Inman Road are quite routine.

In the mornings, I put the kettle on, let the dogs out, and feed the cat.  I make tea, let the dogs back in and give them breakfast.  I enjoy a big mug of tea, chat on the phone with Mike if he is away on the road, and then pull on a warm jacket, step into my boots, fill a jug with water, and head out to the chicken house.

The chickens are always happy to see me, and gather around my feet to peck the snow off my boots.  Their water gets replenished, I feed them, and I collect the eggs. (The chickens have heat lamps to keep them from getting too chilly in the cold weather, and a light on a timer that comes on at 3:30 a.m.  They need the artificial light to stimulate them to lay...with the light coming on that early, eggs are usually ready to pick up when I go out to feed them.)   Once the eggs are collected, I take them back to the house, and then go back outside to feed Buck and Rupert.

Equine breakfast consists of hay, and hay comes from the hay shed.  Buck gets three or four large flakes of hay, and Rupert gets about 1/3 of a flake.  On Wednesday morning, there was hay strewn around in the hayshed.  A bale had been torn open, and there was lots of loose hay on the ground.  A moose had found the hay. (This has been more or less inevitable, but we have managed to avoid being raided until now.)  I fed the boys, and pondered how best to deal with pillaging moose.

Being resourceful, and not wishing to share my $8 per bale hay with the local wildlife, I decided to block the open end of the hayshed with the tractor.  And so on Wednesday afternoon, I carefully positioned our trusty Kubota crosswise so even I couldn't easily get in. Problem solved.  No access to hayshed for moose, and therefore no further hay loss.

That was the plan, anyway.

Yesterday morning, Thursday, I went through my usual routine...kettle, dogs out, feed cat, make tea, dogs in, dog breakfast drink tea, talk with absent husband, wait till it was light enough to go outside to feed I was about to head out I spotted these two:

 Not just one, but two moose...a big cow and her calf.
 They loitered,
 Checked the birdhouses for occupants
And eventually wandered away...  

I did the chicken chores, then went to feed the boys.  One of the two moose had gained access to the hayshed by going through the tractor, breaking the steering wheel, smashing the glass of the instrument panel, bending the front end loader control and doing other damage.  The tractor is unusable now until it can be repaired.  

The moose were back last night, and this morning were loitering in Rupert's pen after helping themselves to another free meal.  Rupert is not happy about having company.  And neither am I.  I'm not sure how we're going to deal with these now not-so-welcome guests.