Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nighttime Visitor

You know what they say about Indiana weather? If you stick around long enough it will change. I went to my favorite weather forecast website this evening and there was every kind of warning and advisory that you could imagine, except for a heat advisory. They had a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, Wind Advisory, Hail, Winter Weather Advisory and a Wind Chill Warning.

I dutifully shut down my computer and waited for the storm to hit, I didn't have a long wait. The thunder and lightning started, I went out without even a jacket on, it was so warm, a couple of minutes later it started pouring rain and hail. I mean it was coming down violently.

My husband had left me home alone, so I turned on my handy, dandy Police scanner and they were getting 911 calls for damage all over the county. Trees were down, two houses were flattened, power lines down and roads closed, trees down on houses and cars. But as they went door to door in hard hit areas they didn't find any injuries.

I called to check on my kids, then settled back with a good book (an instruction manual). All was quiet for awhile, the wind was still blowing but not as bad. Then my LGD, Angel the Great Pyrenees, started barking like she meant it. I figured that she was barking at the wind but then I heard the sound of something hitting the chain link fence on the dog kennel that holds Maude and Ethel.

I put my book aside just in time to hear Maude and Ethel start screaming bloody murder. I grabbed my handy, dandy Black and Decker Spotlight and ran out the door in just my night gown, only to discover that the temperature had dropped about 30ยบ and it was snowing.

I was yelling as I ran out the door to scare whatever it was away. When I got there I found a lot of chicken feathers in the doghouse and Maude and Ethel behind the doghouse. My new rooster and one of my banty hens were cowering in the opposite corner together.

Maude walked out of hiding when she seen me and most of her feathers on one side were gone and she had large puncture wounds on her back side. I looked around with my spotlight and didn't see anything. Then my handy, dandy Black and Decker Spotlight went out. So, don't rush out and buy one on my recommendation because they do not hold a charge worth anything and they don't give you a warning before they die.

It was a dark and stormy night and there was something out there....

I finally made it back to the house in the pitch darkness, but I was still wondering what had been in that pen and what could have made those big holes in her flesh.

I put on more appropriate clothing for the sub-zero weather that had just blown in. I went out and started the Blazer, turned it around to face the kennel, so that I would have lighting. That was when I noticed that there were no horses around the big bale feeders, anyone that knows horses knows that they are always around big bales.

Not only were they not around the feeders but they were down farther away in the pasture, in a big group, snorting and blowing, with there ears forward at attention, so again I wondered just who our visitor had been. I gathered up the hens and rooster, one at a time and took them through the ankle deep mud into the goat/chicken shed for Angel to watch over for the rest of the night. It was the first time that I had attempted to pick up Maude, she is one heavy bird.

I will look for tracks tomorrow morning. We have coyotes here all of the time, we have even walked up on them while they lay in the middle to the herd on a foggy night. I find it hard to believe that the horses would react the way they did tonight, if it had been a coyote.
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