Animals, Ave Atque Vale, Farming, Rural Living

While I Was Sleeping: Death Comes to the Farm

Well, TBPH, I didn’t sleep through it.  I discovered, decades ago, that the reason I don’t get much sleep is not that I can’t get to sleep; it’s that I’m a very light sleeper, and everything wakes me up.

So last night, I was unsurprised to be awoken at 2:30AM by a pack of yelping coyotes, obviously down the bottom of my field, making the sort of bone-chilling, “We Have A Kill!” racket that takes me back to my nights as a small child in Nigeria lying in bed and listening to the “laughing hyenas” outside. It’s different from the “howl,” a pack sound that’s often driven by the Claysville VFD siren, to which they respond in a sort of movie sing-along manner. (“The hills are alive, a-woo-woo-woo-woo” etc.)  These are primal, gleeful, bloodcurdling, screams.

Of course, I was too late.  One of my black rams is dead.  There’s nothing left intact by now except his head; the vultures have been on the job since sunrise, and in another 24 hours, he’ll be picked clean.  At some point thereafter, I’ll roll over him with the tractor and the brush hog, render him into smithereens, and return him to fertilize the fields on which he’s lived, eaten, and played for the past eight years.  Anyone who finds that distasteful or odd probably hasn’t lived close to the land for a generation or two.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s the greatest show of respect I can offer.

The neighbors are organizing.  I’m not the only one who’s suffered such a loss in the past several days.

Pretty sure this will not stand and (in the ineffable words of Joe Biden), “they will pay.”

But in the meantime, my guys and gals will be locked in the barn at sundown.

That’s top-of-mind in my world at the moment.


RIP, Sweet Boy who never did, nor wished, anyone harm.


2 thoughts on “While I Was Sleeping: Death Comes to the Farm”

  1. Coyotes are tricky to hunt, but as nuisance animals (at least here in Ohio), it’s a 24/7/365 open season on them – basically no questions asked. We’ve had them in our neighborhood at times, and they go for small pets. My parents have had roving packs there too over the years – they have been given basically free rein in the state park across the street, and the area is now so built up that any gun-hunting is banned in the park (it once wasn’t so).

    Hope your neighbors are successful in finding and eliminating the pack.

    1. Thanks. I hope so too. They’ve been around for years, but this is the first time they’ve bothered me and mine. It’s pretty much catch as catch can where they are concerned here too.

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