As I sit in my little sewing room patching the knees of another pair of little boy’s jeans I glance out the window at our little farm. I notice that the farm dog, Tundra, is gathering up all the animals and driving them into their housing. Then he begins his alarm bark and runs to the far fence line. I put down my work and head outside to see what is going on.
I step just outside the back door. Tundra circles around toward me, acknowledging my presence from afar, then back to the fence line and his alarm bark turns into a low confrontational snarl. My eyes scan the neighbor’s land on the far side of the barnyard, searching for the trouble. It is a mix of rock outcroppings and tall, dead grass with a few Ponderosa Pine trees scattered throughout it. As I scan the dead brown stalks my eyes catch a slight difference in shape and color and I am able to focus and see it. A coyote, lurking in the tall grass, his eyes fixed on Tundra.
Tundra continues his menacing snarling and aggressive barking. I hold my breath, trying to decide if I should do anything to assist Tundra in scaring this predator away from our livestock. But no, the coyote decides that the hassle of the fence and Tundra outweighs the possible gain in the situation and turns to go. As its form disappears I see another movement to the right, and then another to the left. I stand and watch and count as 2…3…4…5 more coyotes appear and then disappear into the landscape, following their alpha. Tundra continues with his vicious display as they retreat.
I head back into my sewing room and settle back down with the pair of jeans needing mending. I look out the window and Tundra has resumed his post, laying on the highest spot in the barnyard watching over as the sheep and chickens cautiously make their way out of the barn and back into the barnyard sun. Good dog. I let out a contented sigh and look down at the pup by my feet, chewing on a squeaky toy. He has big paws to fill, and I send up a prayer that he will be just as good of a farm dog as our Tundra.