Most nights at dusk one of the dogs and I make the rounds.
Down to the Henhouse to lock up the little door to keep the foxes, raccoons, possums, and coyotes OUT. Everything wants to eat a chicken...day or night; Then over to the goat house and goat shed. The goats love nightly pans of split oats, goat chow and delicious hay. They are eagerly waiting as we go inside. The larger two are very greedy, so the smaller ones are fed separately in the shed. Fresh water from the well in added to the large tub in the paddock. The Paddock gate is closed for the night. This too, to keep predators out. Coyotes sing at night from the deep valley behind the barn. They have have a routine with predictable howls and yips around 7 pm and again at midnight. The pasture has a electric wire 6 inches out from the top and at the bottom to deter coyotes. So far it has worked and is worth the trouble of checking it a couple of times a week. The electric wire is to keep predators out, not to keep the goats in. A hard woven wire goat fence surrounds the 4 acre pasture. This has kept the goats in. The pasture is forest and pasture, and so far has kept them entertained...as goat bore easily and must LIKE their domain in order to be expected to stay. Then, we go on to feed the sweet barn cats who have claimed the art studio as their own for sleeping the day on the old chippendale sofa or in the loft. They are quite elegant as they lounge. At night however they come alive and earn their pay by fearlessly hunting for mice, rats and voles! Sometimes I find a tail as evidence of the hall rug! They are a integral part of the keeping grain safe from the wood mice that some how find a way to get into the tightly built barn.
Walking back up the hill the night's peace was palpable. The air was cold and crisp. There was a faint breeze making a distinct rustling sound in the tall, tall tree tops. Not another sound could be heard except our footsteps in the leaves. Suddenly as we crested the hill top I could hardly believe my eyes. The moon was so large, that I wondered if it was real. The luminance against a navy blue sky filled the western horizon just below the great tree branches. I stood still with eyes wide to take it all in.