Little Lady Lili babysitting Kira puppy in the upper home field. They are both daughters of Kia. The puppies were being especially cute this morning – as if there were a time they aren’t. They are ten weeks old now and starting to wander from the den so Holly and I setup some poultry netting around their area to keep them out of harms way. While their mother Kia went out to do chores with me Lili hopped in for a visit. The older dogs often babysit while Kia is off and about.
Lili, named for the song Lili Marlana by Hans Leip, is one of the smallest of our guardian obedience dogs at only 35 pounds but she is still growing. It is quite something to watch her move around the sheep and 500 pound sows. She is very gentle and dainty as opposed to the more rough housing nature of some of the bigger dogs. Yet she still lets the livestock know who’s boss. Lili is the spitting image of her grandmother Tika who topped out at only about 65 lbs. Sometimes I call her Little Leaping Lili as she’ll bounce right up into my arms like her mother Kia does. Her grandmother Tika was also quite a leaper, one one who could clear an 8′ tall fence in a single bound. Just caller her super dog!
In addition to herding and protecting the livestock and children Lili’s small size and high intelligence has put her in position for training as one of our car dogs. All of the dogs get cross training for field, house and car but realistically it is rather rough taking the bigger dogs on car trips. For example, Hagrid would sit on the back seat of the van with his nose on the dashboard, making shifting rather difficult. Kita isn’t quite as long but still challenging and Saturn is worse so he tends to stick to the field work.
Kira puppy, who is sitting pretty next to Lili, is one of the tri-color morphs in our dogs. All of our dogs have the same body form, ears, eyes, tail, paws and double fur coat but there are several different color morphs. There are the gold and white ones like Coy, Cinnamon and Saturn, the white ones like Tika, Lili, Hagrid and many others and then the tri-colors like Kita, Kia, Katrina, Kavi and Kira. You might notice a bit of a pattern there with the naming. Kira is one of the darker morphs.
By the by, the fencing is working. This morning the pigs moseyed over to the far end of the south field. They went to the spot where the logging road enters through the stone wall but stopped there at the fence. Last I saw them they were all snuggled down for their mid-day nap, most of the 37 of them around the boar in one big happy pig pile.
You can see Holly with some white step-in posts off to the right along with Kita and Kia. I’m not sure if the pigs may have ended up down at this end by following us along the fence as we worked. I saw them along the way several times but most of the way the brambles were too thick to see through. (Click on the image for a larger view.)
Today we saw seven woodcocks who took flight almost next to us in the brush as well as a piliated woodpecker and a bluejay. I like bluejays despite the bad reputation they have – but then I don’t feed the birds so their mobbing the feeder isn’t an issue to me. Around here bird feeders are a synonym for bear feeder. I don’t like having the bear right in my backyard. Fortunately he and the dogs have a mutual understanding. Our neighbors up the other side of the valley had a lot of bird feeders out on their raised up porch. The gentleman tells the story of waking up in the dark of the a.m. to the sound of someone moving around out on the porch. He slipped into a bathrobe and opened the screen door to find himself face to face with a good sized black bear. He chased it off and only later realized just what he did! I prefer not to feed the bears.
A funny thing happened to me just now as I was on my way to Google. I searched on “piliated woodpecker vermont” and what should pop up at the top of the list but “Piers Anthony’s Newsletter”. Intrigued I clicked. He is one of my favorite writers and at this very moment I happen to be in the middle of reading his book “Hasan”. What chance! So I read his latest missive and wrote him a brief note. The internet is so amazing.
Night low: 43째F, Day high: 57째F, Overcast