Friday, February 1, 2008

Fear Nothing






We have been living out here in the country, well off the beaten path going on three years now. Until we had actually moved in, we had never spent a night here. We had met a couple of our neighbors, there aren't that many of them, really. We have just over four acres and two of those acres are in trees. Not the kind of trees you would sell to make a profit, just plain old trees. A nice mixture of oak, pine, sycamore some birch, nothing to write home about, but awfully pretty when in full leaf (or needle) and in the fall the colors are so vibrant you'd think the woods were afire. Our place sits with woods on nearly three sides, so we are pretty much enclosed in our space. The most wooded area lies directly behind the house. We have a night light out to the side provided (for a charge of course) by Lynches River Co-Op Electric. Like I said, we had never spent the night out here before, so naturally assumed the night light worked to expectations. Our neighbors had all told us about the coyote population in Jefferson, that there were quite a few of them and when they weren't hunting for food, they killed cats. I have always said that I pitied the poor coyote, who much like the Native American, had had his habitat completely wiped out from under his feet...or paws, what have you. It seemed unfair for us not to set aside land for the displaced, be they people or animals. I once saw a Disney movie about a coyote in a concrete jungle...do you remember that? Wasn't his name Charlie? So anyway, when we bought the place we hired a contractor to renovate the house inside and out and it took a few weeks before we could actually move in. Moving day was a busy one and our two sons and my older son's wife helped us move in. It was a two day job to just get our belongings in and one bed set up. Here we came with our blind Lab mix, Mindy and our three cats. We had to go back for the outdoor cats, who were not at all happy over being loaded in that cage and released in a strange place. I tried to explain to them that there was no highway of death here, where we had lost several of the siblings. Lots of trees to climb and woods to explore. Not convinced, at least two of them tried to make their way back to the old homeplace. They finally got tired of me running them down and bringing them back. The first thing I noticed after the move was that the night light we were paying to light up the yard at night, didn't work very well. The night I discovered it was the night that I found out there are things I am scared of. It's the things you can't see while you stand at the edge of a dark wood when the night light goes out. As I have mentioned before, Mindy (who has been blind since puppyhood) has a fanclub of cats. They all love her. Even the cats who already lived here when we moved here, love her. They follow her around the yard and to the woods and rub on her and call to her. We've decided they're her seeing eye cats, because if she gets lost down in the wood line, the cats go get her. Very weird. I understand about HER cats, she raised them...they are hers...but the cats who were abandoned here also love her. So this one night about a week after we had moved in, I walked with Mindy and her mob of cats down to the woods. Suddenly, the night light went out. Everyone came to a stand still, I began working my way back to the front porch where there was light. I still had a pronounced limp and had to use a cane to get about (from the neck fracture) so I wanted to be able to yell for Mac if I needed help. I was watching Mindy and the Mob when they all suddenly stopped still. They were looking towards the woods. It was almost as if one of the cats yelled "RUN!". They all turned as one and began running towards the house...now when a blind dog and six cats can beat you back to the porch while you're still standing staring at the woods for whatever might be coming out, you're in trouble. I hadn't moved that fast since...well, I can't remember how long it had been since I had moved that fast...and when I say fast, picture a turtle. My heart was pounding and my voice was gone. I was put in mind of a film John Candy was in, The Great Outdoors. He ran back to the cabin and stood at the opened door screaming in this small tight little out of breath voice "bear" hhhhh "big bear" hhhhhh "big bear chase me" hhhh....that was about the condition I was in when Mac appeared miraculously at my side. We never did see what had so alarmed the furbies, but the howl of something I'd never heard before was still ringing in my ears. And it didn't sound like a Disney character. Oh, I take Mindy out for a romp at night, but I stand at the end of the porch with a flashlight in one hand and a gun in the other. And Lynches River Co-Op and I have a deal...I change the light bulbs on the inside, they change the ones in the nightlight.

26 comments:

For Love of Home said...

Even though I would be afraid with that much darkness, it sound like heaven. It's nice that all of your babies have plenty of space to roam about.

LivingTheLife said...

Your place sounds a lot like where we are about to build...we have a little over 3 acres...and most all the trees are out back and down the sides...we will build in a clearing out front...so I can enoy those trees...each day. Think I'm going to have to invest in a good night lite myself...and a really accurate 22 with a scope...we have coyotes here where we presently live on 2 acres...and sadly they have bothered some of the neighbors cats and small dogs...I just try really hard to be outside with my girls at all times...but I think if my clan had skee-daddled just as yours did...You would have heard me screaming from here...and running...and girl THAT is not a pretty site!

Blessings....
Teresa

kind of got a kick out of your description of the trees out back...did you say some of a birch...or some birch...hmmmm sounds vaquely familiar.

Mima said...

What an amazing place to live, totally surrounded by nature, and I love that all your animals are so fond of each other, I should imagine that it is an amazing sight to see them all out doing stuff.

If everyone had taken off like that I would have been terrified as well, but I think I would have carried on being terrified during the day - I think I am a bit of a scardy cat at heart. But you obviously embrace the nature around you.

Thanks for your comment, with some types of MS you can get remissions, but not once it is progressive, then things just get gradually worse, which is what is now happening with me, so getting better from the physical stuff is not on the cards. I also have ME, and it seems to be this that fluctuates more, although they both play havoc whenever I pick up an infection or do too much! I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that things won't get better, but there are times when I struggle.

What worries me most about giving up is that I can't use the distraction techniques or anything like that as I struggle with things to do as it is, and it would be hopeless to try until I pick up a bit as I can't cope with the pain and no cigarettes! Should only be a couple more months though.

Mary said...

I hope I never meet you with a torch in one habd and a gun in the other!!! Love th seeing eye cats!

Merisi said...

You will get used to the "noises everywhere"! Back home in the D.C. area, our house abutted to old growth woods, with parkland right behind. We got to recognize the noises they made, from the various birds chirping themselves to sleep at night, to the foxes' bone-chilling calls in the middle of a moonlit night, right at our doorsteps. I miss them now, in the city.
I wish you to get to know and love your animal neighbors, and may they become your friends.

smilnsigh said...

Wow, that's one scary story!

How interesting that living almost in a woods, can sound lovely and all. But, not at night...

Great to learn you can use a gun. Wow, I wish I could. One of my unfulfilled dreams. -sigh-

Mari-Nanci

smilnsigh said...

Lets see, what else can I forget about you? That you were a Military Family and lived many places... {The UK trains} That you can shoot... {Former Law Enforcement Officer}

I am hopeless.

But ya' loves me anyway, hu? -giggles-

Mari-Nanci

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Hahahahaha...that was so funny! I'm sure that it wasn't one bit funny at the time, but you have a way with a story, Sandi. Would you really shoot a coyote?

So Mindy's dealing with the papacatzzi, eh? Sorry, just couldn't resist. I must think I'm in a naming contest at Pioneer Woman. ;>

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Sandi, now that sounds scary! And what a sweet story about your blind doggie and those cats taking care of her. I love that! Pets are so comforting and wonderful to have around. Sounds like you have just the right place for all of them to enjoy & run around without traffic to worry about. That's the best place for outdoor cats, in the country.

Thanks for being so great about coming by to see me. It sure does get difficult trying to keep up with all the girls I want to keep up with. Just about impossible! I'll just have to do the best I can.

And yes, still enjoying not having a 9-5 job. Even though it was fun, now I can concentrate on what I really want to do, which will be even more fun & rewarding hopefully!

Hugs,
RHoda

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Hi Sweet Sandi, I am fine. Thank you for caring. I was posting when your comment came thru so if you have a minute come back over. I'll fix you some sweet tea and home baked cookies. :) LOL. Boy can I relate to your story. I bet what you heard howling was a bobcat. We live on large acreage out in the country too surrounded by the woods. And we have one of those night lites too. We have lived here for almost 9 years and last week the light burned out for the first time. The co-op was out the next day with a cherry picker to replace the bulb. Wish I could find some bulbs for the house lamps that lasted that long. Couple of weeks ago my husband saw a coyote running thru the backyard. I enjoy walking to the mailbox for the exercise because it's a mile there and back but to tell you the truth the part where I have to walk thru the woods can be scary even in the daytime. I always hear something rustling in the woods and a couple of times I have startled the deer and they ran right past me scaring the heck out of me. Okay..I rambled enough.

Theresa said...

Wow what a beautiful place to live, but at night I can see how it turns scary.

I loved the detail you put into your story-since I am an animal lover.

We live near mountains, so animals come down to visit alot, I guess not so much to visit but looking for snacks especially kitty-cats. We only allow ours out when we are home and nearby.

Enjoy your new home- as I said it sounds wonderful!

Tammy said...

I don't know why in the world I thought you were in Texas...because Kari is? I don't know...but all I could think of is I don't remember that many trees in TX...LOL!

I loved that John Candy scene...I will just laugh my fool head off every time I see it.
I could just imagine your panic...oh me!!

San said...

Your experience does sound scary. Wonder who/what the howl was coming from.

Your place must be so peaceful and beautiful. Those quiet woods (except for the occasional ear-piercing howl). That magnificent big starlit sky.

Speaking of coyotes, we have them in our yard fairly often in the winter. They seem to travel in twos and threes. No, we don't keep small pets.

Sandi McBride said...

You know, it is pretty peaceful out here and the porches are gated so the furbies are protected...could I shoot a coyote? Probably not as I am the biggest bunny hugger you have ever seen...probably go in and fry them up some beans and weiners...give them names...and then they'd be mine...that's my usual standard!

Andi said...

Oh my gosh...again!!! Sandi...take a big flashlight with you when you go outside!!!

I do love how your pets care for each other.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Funny!
Do you think it was the boogie man? I would have run too!

bj said...

You must have a fabulous place to live!
hugs, bj

Jodie Adams said...

Scary!! Did you ever hear it again? Did anything ever get your cats? I would have been scared to death, but then again I am a bit of a whimp when it comes to things in the dark. :)

Lee said...

Wow! Sandi that story scared me too. You're one heck of an effective writer. What impresses me about it is 1)the empathy of the animals and their care for one another and 2)your continuing to live in a place that can be that scary and doing what you need to do to feel safe.

Yesterday, I added you to my technorati favorites and would like to add you to my blog roll if you don't mind.

Peace!

Sandy said...

I'm such a fready cat - I would have probably beaten you and all those animals back!hehehe

You are so entertaining and I love to read your stories!

Blessings,
Sandy :)

PAT said...

Hi Sandi...We lived in the back pasture of the farm for 20 years. We didn't have a light. Many times we thought we should have had one, just never got around to having it put in. It was like the doctor treating himself or something...the Lineman I live with never got around to installing a light. The howl of the Coyote is indeed an eery and desparate sound.

Thank you so much for your powerful smoking post. My 15th anniversary is June 2008. I didn't get sick, but J did. That was the date of his first angio plasty. He's had several since then and has one stent. He has not had a full blown heart attack, but his Dad died of a massive heart attack at age 51. J's first angio plasty was my catalyst for quitting.

I, like so many other recovering smokers, cannot be in a room where someone is smoking. We can stop for gas and J will come from paying, with the smell of smoke on his clothes and it makes me ill. I've heard this from others who once smoked. The smell is so strong for us, it is overpowering. Even more than it is for those who never smoked.

Pat

Brenda said...

Love the place you live. You have beautiful cats also.

Mary Isabella said...

I recieved my beautiful gift. Thank-you so much. I really like it...Mary

Terri and Bob said...

Heavens to Betsy! I can hear that sound even as you describe it! I would love a treed lot but I don't think it is in the cards for me. I have found the perfect acreage but Bob's not willing!

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Yikes!! My heart is beating a little too fast after that story. It's funny, I am not afraid of much, can face almost anything. But turn my back on something, and I am sure I am going to get dragged into the gates of hell-lol....
Hugs,
Penny

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