This morning RJ and I went to the barn as usual. When I opened the back doors, he alerted on something and took off to the far edge of the farm. Way in the distance I could see a groundhog running along the property line. It is quite a distance and I was amazed that RJ could see or smell it.
Have you seen a groundhog in the wild? They are nothing like the one in the movie, Groundhog. He is a fat domesticated guy. Ours are sleek and beautiful, kind of like an otter. On the other hand they dig massive holes and are a danger to horses and can destroy a landscape. So I don't want any here, but I can't seem to shoot the wee beasties!
When RJ took off after the groundhog I was glad. I wanted RJ to scare it off so he would take his excavating skills elsewhere. I went about the business of feeding and scooping and didn't notice that RJ had not returned. I did notice that a train was coming.
There is a train track that runs alongside our property line. They run many times a day hauling coal and crushed rock and any number of other things. I have only seen a passenger train once. Usually they are long freight trains. Long, heavy unable to stop freight trains. And we have a happy-go-lucky, goofy kind of dog.
When I heard the train approaching I realized that RJ was down by the tracks and probably distracted by his newly sworn enemy. I instantly called for RJ to come. Then I was sorry. If he had chased the interloper across the tracks, he may turn and come back to me and cross at the wrong moment. He runs in front of the Mule all the time and trusts us to avoid him. Trains are bad at avoiding things on the tracks.
I had a few moments of intense worry. Then RJ came loping up to me just as the train passed below us. I don't know where he was when I called him, but he was safe now and there was no sign of a groundhog. A good morning.
RJ is a goofy kind of guy, but he is hell on wheels to any wee beastie on "his" farm. He has killed a number of small creatures. Today I saw a dead fox on one of the hills.
I have no idea what got to him. It could have been RJ. He certainly chases any animal he sees. On the other hand, we do have some rabies here in Botetourt County. He was rather badly decomposed so I can't try to play CSI and figure things out. I hope some other predator did do it, because I don't like the idea of a rabid animal running loose here. We have two city cats after all.
This is their idea of an exciting adventure outside. They need their big "brother" to keep all wild animals far from the house. That is his job.
Maybe if the word gets out to the wildlife around here I will be allowed to harvest our fruit crop this year. I object to having it stolen while I sleep. Get 'em RJ.