Rocky and I took off down the Apricot road, our paws kicking up little puffs of dust as we padded along. Houston went with us…’just as far as the apricot tree’. She thought she better stay with the girls to stake out the places. There are actually Two Places…their part of the farm and my house.
While we worked our way past the horse pasture, then the old orchard getting closer and closer to the apricot tree; Rocky, Houston and I brainstormed what to do.
Once at the tree we came to the conclusion that Houston was to go back; pick up Black Dog and head over to my house to make sure nothing happens to Min-Min cat, or Sammy (if Sammy was outside. Sammy is a.nc.i.e.n.t now…17 years old and really doesn’t like to go outside much anymore. Which suits Mom just fine. She would much rather have a Sammy, then not have a Sammy.)
Etta and Shiloh were to stay at my Oldest Sister part of the farm and guard Willow, Twisty and Bandit Cat, Romeo, the horse, and Red the Mule.
Then Rocky and I were to travel over to the Coyote Hill, on to the Back Forty, drop down onto the Flats (where the Coyotes Live), and if nothing there, then head up the Sage Brush Hill, come back down around the pond and go to the Upper End.
If we find where the mangy lot of stray dogs are staying we will stake out an observation point in the brush or rocks or old trees.
Once we get that figured out we will gather as much knowledge as we can.
Then we will slip away and come back to Rocky’s part of the farm and put our heads together for a solution.
We decided that Rocky and I just aren’t enough to fight off a pack of wild dogs.
We kept on keeping on padding our way around all the likely places the riff-raff pack of dogs might be…first stop Coyote Hill.
Nothing there…lots of Coyote Tracks, owl droppings, rabbit holes, Badger holes…I gave the Badger Holes a wide, wide berth…I never ever want to get mixed up with a Badger! Ever! Rocky said he had never even seen a badger; he got all excited sniffing the scent of one hole.
“Come away from there, Rocky!” I yelled at him. Those critters are dan….”
Just as I was about to say the word dangerous a LIVE Badger stuck his nose, then whole face out of the hole and gave a huge lunge at Rocky growling the whole time.
Rocky jumped backwards, a look of total surprise on his face, squealed as loud as the Badger was growling, and scrambled up the slope where I was standing.
“WHAT WAS THAT?” Rocky panted, drool and slobbers dripping off his muzzle.
“A Badger!” I replied. “The meanest animal on the place.”
Rocky shook his massive head sending drool flying every which way. “Let’s keep moving, that vicious little thing can keep his side of the hill.”
We took off for the Fire Break Road and wound our way down, down, down into the Flat Lands — were the coyotes live.
Rocky was walking merrily along, but my heart was pounding and flipping around in my stomach. Yes, my heart had slid right out of its very wonderful spot, where it was protected by my breast bone, right into my stomach giving me a tremendous stomach ache that reflected each heartbeat with each step of my paws.
It was getting along evening, by this time, I pushed myself into the lead—Rocky had never been up this far on the farm before and I had—“Shhh,” I whispered to Rocky. We stopped and perked up our ears. Sure enough it was COYOTES!
“Coyotes!” Rocky whined.
Yep, coyotes, somewhere over there in the yonder singing their evening dirge. I sat down. Rocky sat down by me listening to their mournful howls.
Giving Rocky a come on paw, we got up slunk down to our bellies and slowly made our way into the road leading to the corner of the Back Forty. I really wanted to make our way around this coyote world and start checking out the Sage Brush Hill. My thoughts are the wild dogs will NOT be where the coyotes are.
We slunk along in a decidedly undoglike fashion, made a mad dash down the four-wheeler road Mom and Dad had been using while fixing fence— keeping in cover of the tall grass, the rabbit brush, and occasional Sagebrush.
Finally we made it to Sagebrush Hill. I had just been up here the other day so I was very familiar with the place. Taking the lead again I worked our way around and around heading for the west side of the top where I knew an old coyote den was hidden in some fallen down trees.
My very sensitive beagle nose is telling me we are getting close…very close.