I'm not talking about the snakes. Even though there is this one water snake that lives along the road that is easily as big around as your arm. I'm totally not exaggerating.
OK, I am totally exaggerating. It's not that big. It just seemed that big when it scooted off the culvert top and splashed into the creek with a mighty splash that sent a tidal wave of water up the creek and flooded our lower pasture. Twice.
OK, that never really happened. There was a snake, and a mighty splash but no actual flooding anywhere after it dropped into the water.
Hyperbole is a story teller's BFF.
Other scary things around here include some ginormous spiders, some ginormous cows and a really scary monster.
Which turns out to be me.
No kidding. According to all the dogs that live around here except mine, I am The Scariest Thing in the World. They all stay out of my way. Please note: I have never hurt one. In fact, I don't even have to touch them. I am scary out of pure intimidation. [I know some people who think so, too. You know who you are.]
We get a lot of strays out here. Seriously many. Six so far this summer. It's like there's some website somewhere with a map of Where To Dump Your Unwanted Dogs and it has a big arrow pointing to our road.
A couple of days ago, I chased a stray dog away from where it had been sleeping on my flowers and eating Tibby's dogfood. It wouldn't leave us alone or go away so I decided to take it with us on our daily walk and then leave it a mile up the road at the blacktop where it could go find someone else's flowers to sleep on.
It worked like a charm. That poor dog followed every rule of Pack Etiquette, never getting ahead of me [Pack Leader] or my kids. It knew its place. We got to the blacktop and I went into my Big Scary Person Whom A Dog Does NOT Want To Follow Home.
This involves me baring my teeth, growling and stomping around at them with my arms outstretched like Michael Gambon in that scene from Wives and Daughters where he's playing with his little grandson flapping around like a giant bird. Really.
I am very good at it. By doing this, I am able to scare the pee [literally] out of dogs, who cower on the ground in front of me. All the neighborhood dogs that have tried to hang out here are terrified of me. It's freaking hilarious.
On this day, after we got to the blacktop, I went into my Big Scary Monster act and I was insisting that the stray stay up the road and around a corner. This means that I scare it where I want it, then turn my back and walk away. If it follows, I do it again. And again. Usually it takes no more than a half dozen times and sometimes much fewer. You have to be firm and willing to do it as many times as possible. When that dog sees you on another day, all you have to do is bare your teeth and look mean and it'll stay away. Works like a charm.
This stray was persistent. Doggone dog wouldn't stay gone. I picked up a couple of big sticks to hold in each hand and wave around to make me look bigger. Finally, that dog stayed put. I turned around and headed back down the road where my girls and our dog were waiting for me just around a curve out of sight.
And then a bunch of coyotes in the thicket right next to me started howling and yipping. Loudly. Coming toward me. And it sounded like lots of them. Coyotes in full voice are one of the creepiest, most blood-chilling sounds out here.
It scared the living tar out of me. I pitched the sticks and took off back toward the girls, calling them but they couldn't hear me over the coyotes and the loud pounding of their hearts and feet as they ran the other way. All I could think was that I'd make a pretty good target for the coyotes who were no doubt in hot pursuit. I kept looking back. And then saw that the stray followed me again, too. Apparently, coyotes are even scarier than me.
I got the girls to stop, and I picked up some more sticks with which to wave like Monster Arms to scare that stray. About that time a man came walking around the curve with an even bigger stick in one hand and a pistol in his other. I wondered if I ought to stomp around and try to scare the pee out of him.
I don't see well at distances and it wasn't until he called out to ask if that was my dog that I realized it was a neighbor, whom I like a lot, but didn't expect to see walking on the road amidst all the howling, carrying a stick and gun. The stray saw the two of us and hid in the brush at the side of the road. So, Ben and I watched it and swapped stray dog and coyote stories. He'd seen me stomping away the stray up and down his hill a few times [I can just imagine him howling with laughter at that sight!] and then heard the coyotes and came out with the gun to make sure we were OK. God bless him.
About that time, Eric drove up, home from work, and stopped and talked with the truck right where that poor stray was hiding and we all chatted for a while. Then I started home with the girls and Eric talked to Ben about guns and the stray didn't follow us home. And neither did the coyotes.
The stray was so traumatized by the Robin Monster and the coyotes and the neighbor and the truck, that it has stayed away. The next day, when we went for a walk, it was hanging out with another dog at a house near the road. It thought about coming over to say Hi, but when I glared at it, it turned around and went back to its buddy.
By the way, this pic up there has nothing to do with this post. I just thought it was pretty how the sun hit the grass just right.