September 10, 2018
Something big was in the forest.
Hayley barked loud and long into the darkness but whatever it was was not afraid of her and continued to creep through the trees. The prolonged barking awoke the sleeping Farmher and provoked the side of her that tends to growl in a fearsome tone. But despite Farmher’s unlady-like yells out the window, Hayley continued her booming barks.
By morning light Farmher came crashing out the door. Hair sticking out every which way and dark rings around her eyes, she stomped her way to the gate in the walk that Hayley knows means trouble. She flung open the gate and growled “go get it then!” and Hayley had no choice but to obey. She slinked down the back driveway, eyes darting this way and that. She moved slow, low to the ground, while her trusty (and still very young) side kick bounced along behind her, completely oblivious to the danger they were in.
But Farmher picked up on it. Farmher’s stance changed and instead of stomping in obvious annoyance she began to walk soft, eyeing up the cedar bush that ran on either side of them, watching for movement. Hayley’s jumpiness worried Farmher as Hayley had never reacted in such a manner before. Farmher had actually only ever seen behaviour like this once before; from Bowser, her trusted fearless beast of a dog. This was the behaviour he displayed when there was a bear in close proximity.
Slowly and quietly they made their way into the forest. Hayley and Farmher now working as a team to walk the perimeter of the fence and make sure nothing was amiss, while also both keeping a close eye on the little white bundle that had seemingly picked up on the vibe and was creeping stealthily through the long grass. Farmher had noted on her way out the door that the cows had moved to the goat’s fenced area instead of being out back grazing in the electric fence, as was their usual activity in the morning. This had struck Farmher as odd but now this made her somewhat afraid.
When they came across a massive pile of scat that could have been of K9 decent, Farmher decided they had had enough forest time and turned to head back to the clearing. Her neighbour’s warning about a wolf hanging around bouncing through her brain.
Oddly, as they made their way out of the forest, they came across a pile of vomit that seemed to contain chicken food and cucumbers. The vomit was still warm and this was about when Hayley and Farmher agreed collectively to get out of the forest faster. They darted through the trees at a good trot, Farmher making sure Mathias was next to her the whole time, all the while trying to figure out what had been provoking Hayley throughout the night and wee hours of the morning. She, herself, had seen signs of this wolf, and the scat on this particular morning was large enough. But a wolf eating chicken food and cucumbers? That seemed more like the activity of a bear. She was so concentrated on what could be lurking in the trees, and on not loosing Mathias, that she didn’t watch where she was going until it was too late.
She tripped over a fallen branch that had hands, gripping at her ankles and boots and making her tumble every which way in an attempt to keep herself upright. Hayley hearing the cracking and banging and whimpers coming from behind her, did what every self-respecting guardian would do upon hearing the evils of the forest attack her loved ones.
Self survival kicked in and she abandoned Farmher and Mathias in an effort to save her own skin. Farmher was aghast watching her protector tear through the trees like the devil himself was after her. Untangling her boots from the branch she made the final push to the clearing. Mathias never left her side.
She found Hayley sitting slumped next to the gate in what could only be described as a plea to go back to the fenced yard with electric fence on the outside. She looked downright pitiful as she gazed up at Farmher. This was about the time that man Farmer came sauntering out onto the deck, cigarette dangling from his mouth, and a gun slung over his shoulder. His view was of a cowering Hayley, Farmher with twigs and cedar in her messy hair, and a serious little pup who wore with pride the fact that he had been on a monster hunt.