Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Every animal has a purpose

Maggie - 'The Mouser"

Charlie and Kitty - "The Voice" and "The Hunter"

Our little homestead is coming together. Our original goal was to only acquire animals that were a benefit to us in more ways than just as companionship. We've tried to stick to it for the livestock (Sasafras provides milk, Buddy provides fiber - or he will eventually, chickens provide eggs and possibly meat, roosters provide more chickens - someday), but we didn't expect it to be a requirement for the pets (Maggie, Charlie and Kitty). So far, even the pets are pulling their own weight! Besides being really good at making sure that we have no leftover goats milk or nothing spilled on the kitchen floor, they are turning out to each have additional job responsibilities.

Kitty is helping rid us of pests. Not only is he a bug hunter in the house, he's a small rodent hunter on the outside. So far, he's brought us both a dead bat (not good) and a dead mole (very good!). He's also pretty good at keeping the neighbor cats out of our yard which I think is good for the safety of our chickens.

We discovered a few nights ago that Charlie has an unexpected purpose. Charlie is part hound (bassett, according to our previous vet). We are sure of this because he howls. He can carry a note (out of tune) like an opera singer! Most of the time, it's a fairly quiet howl and often multi-faceted in that it sounds like he's talking. The other evening when the windows were open, we hear the coyotes again. Before we'd even gotten out of bed, Charlie started to howl. This was a huge, loud, building howl that feels like it would pretty much wake the dead. It not only silenced the coyotes (temporarily) but it scared them off. Same thing happened again last night - his mighty howl chases away coyotes! And, as loud as it is, I'd much rather listen to that than to the creepy coyote sounds outside.

Maggie's purpose revealed itself yesterday evening. She's actually better than the cat at hunting bugs as she'll often snag a fly or a moth out of mid-air. Well, last night, she was hunting bigger prey. Last week, while we were in the living room, I saw a mouse dart out from under the front closet, out into the hall, and then back under the same closet. We opened the closet, but pretyt much immediately lost track of it. Maggie definitely picked up it's scent and for days was highly distracted by that closet. Last night, while we were watching TV, I saw the mouse across the living room udner a chair. We both jumped up and while my H watched it, I searched for something to trap it with. The mouse darted under the couch, and we surrounded it (us and the dogs). When H said he wanted to see what Maggie would do, I was skeptical. He lifted the couch off the mouse while Maggie was right there. She pounced on it and caught it! She carried it to the other side of the room where we ordered that she drop it. She did, H grabbed it by the tail and threw it out the front door. Maggie is a mouser! We had no idea! What was really funny was that for the rest of the night, she was frantically searching for additional mice. Very amusing!

So see...on the farm, everyone has a purpose and a job to do! :-)

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