Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

These days I don’t get to spend the dawn sipping coffee on the back porch or watching the sunrise through the living room windows. The introduction of two, middle aged, rescue Beagles has given a certain sense of urgency to my mornings, especially the 3 days I have to be out of the house early for a full day of work.

Originally I started with two walks. A leisurely prowl around the yard, and then a shorter walk after my coffee and when I am dressed and ready to go. The problem with that was that the Mama Beagle didn’t get her business done. I tried slowing down thinking that the younger Beagle was setting a too hectic pace for her to settle down to the job – no luck.

Now I get up, grab my pants and we head off to the fields for a decidedly quick paced tromp through the long grass of the fields above my neighbor’s house, hoping that nothing will set the fellow’s baying instinct off too much – success!

I have to remind myself to look up. I am most often focused on the dogs, trying to keep their leashes untangled, and watching for unsuspecting wildlife that might send the dogs on a sudden dash that would pull the leashes out of my hands or swoop me off my feet.

But when I remind myself to look up……

There is a beauty that I have not until now availed myself of. There are two fields, one small with a path mown around the outside, and a much larger one where we can meander around an old hay barn or between two copses of trees.

The hedge rows are filled with a variety of giant tree species that I have as yet been unable to identify. There are tall White Birch, slender and lovely. Oaks with leaves that will stay brown on their limbs long into the fall. Maples of many variety, particularly a heavily seeded and multi trunked variety that I believe is called a Box Elder. I have not definitively discovered which are the Poplars, I think because they are a different variety from the hedgerows back at the farm where they were often used as windbreaks.

My neighbor’s property has many full figured Spruce trees while mine are dying off. I am wondering if they are susceptible to the juglone given off by the Black Locust trees which fill my back yard.

This morning was quite cool and damp. Much more like mid-September than the first week of August, which is usually hot and dry. The mist lifted just above the grass and hovered amidst the tree line. It was still and quiet except for the rapid snuffling of the two dogs.

Our cat tends to walk a few hundred feet behind us. He will hide in a tall patch of grass and then dart to another one as we approach. He seems amused at the dogs attempts to sniff him out, and their rapid retreat when they find him.

The crickets fling themselves from one spot to another, and in the dry of the afternoon we can see butterflies sunning themselves. Or I can. The dogs are all nose and very seldom lift their heads to observe their surroundings visually.

My mornings now are undoubtedly healthier. Exercise, and less time for multiple cups of coffee. The whole process is repeated again after work. These days I earn my coffee breaks.

It has been good weather to introduce these two to my home. We have not yet had to do our morning dance in the rain. My first try at an outdoor fenced area failed when the fence openings were too big to hold the young male. It did turn out useful for the turkeys though. The back porch has been secured and they enjoy relaxing at my feet while I rock and watch the bird feeders.

We are becoming good friends.

By AFarmer

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