My anniversary present from the dogs

by Katie on June 9, 2011

There we were, on the morning of our third anniversary:  Brandon loading a hay truck, me irrigating our pasture/yard and mowing down our overgrown yard before the water reached it. (I’m sure our mother-of-two-young-kids-with-one-on-the-way neighbor appreciated the fact I broke out the mower in our backyard at 7am.)

When I was just getting started in the front yard, Brandon ran in to grab a snack and check the computer before getting on the tractor for the day.

On my second pass, I found a pretty large dead bird in my way. I handle most dead animals perfectly fine. I don’t even mind being the killer. But live birds creep me clean out. No way am I touching the matted-up feathers of a dead one. Even with my left shoe. Another complication was that with the angle of the dead bird’s head, and size that was bigger-than-a-normal-bird, smaller-than-a-normal-chicken, I couldn’t tell what kind of bird we were dealing with here.

So, off I march to retrieve that handy husband of mine, celebrating the fact I’m married to him even more with this dead bird removal job ahead us.

I just hollered through the laundry room at him, “Hey, before you leave again, can you come figure out what kind of dead bird this is in our yard? Namely, if it’s one of the neighbors’ chickens? And then remove it? Please?”

He obliged. As if he really had any choice. And feathers don’t bother him.

And pretty soon, he fulfilled his man duty. After throwing it across the street into the irrigation ditch, (where it’s likely to end up back in the yard as soon as it lets out a scent for the dogs — but I’m not complaining) he shouted over the mower that it was an owl.

“Nice work, Dogs!” I shouted back. Because this made me happy. We’ve had a crazy outbreak of owls over the past couple of years. They have inhabited every barn on the farm, and dug burrows for their babies in nearly every ditch bank. For someone who doesn’t like birds in general, this has been a nightmare. Not only can owls do that crazy turn-their-head-around thing, but you also have to be concerned about getting dive-bombed. Not comforting when walking through the barn at night, when you can hear their screeching, but can’t see exactly where it’s coming from. So to hear my dogs had killed one of these things but a little skip in my day.

Momentarily.

Because Brandon just shook his head at my celebration and said, “No, they eat gophers.”

Which I may hate more than the owls. But it’s a really close call.

Owls are super creepy, but gophers are a huge nuisance. I’m kind of glad our dogs like to kill both of them.

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