The #[email protected]% thing took a #$%& run at me!”
My husband was okay, just a little shaken up.
All that barking
Our dog had been barking at night — all night — for about two weeks. Loudly. On and on. Just outside our bedroom window. We’d get up, go to the window, look outside. Nothing there.
I was beginning to think the dog was kind of a jerk.
But finally we found the problem. There was a moose living in the yard.
It wasn’t a huge surprise. Quite a few moose live permanently in the slough about half a mile behind the yard. We all get along quite nicely under a “we won’t bother you if you don’t bother us” agreement. We kind of like having them out there. We even went so far as to post some “hunting with permission only signs” to give the ungainly lunks a fair chance of making it through each fall.
But this young moose didn’t seem to know about our agreement. He’d been living rent-free just north of the trees for a couple of weeks before we figured him out.
Even then, we didn’t really mind having him around. Once we got used to the extra barking, it made us feel extra Canadian.
We might have given the guy a free pass for a longer stay, if he hadn’t decided to relocate a bit to the south, right into the middle of the yard.
Dogs aren’t wild about moose. The young dog almost blew a lung barking. The old dog tried to help out too, but he’s not barking that well these days, and it came out as more of a huff.
Pretty soon the commotion got of out hand.
Brad was out in the tractor blowing snow that afternoon. He had to shut down the snowblower and hop out of the tractor to find out what was going on. By this time, the dogs had the moose pretty worked up.
Here’s a tip: if you have two frenzied dogs and an over-excited moose, don’t add an angry farmer. The moose got his hackles up (you can see them in the photo). Brad glared at the moose. The moose glared back. Brad (who is exceptionally brave) stopped to take a photo.
The moose charged.
Brad managed to hang onto the camera on the wild race to the cab.
“Good thing I wasn’t far from the tractor,” he said, after he drove the tractor 50 yards to the house and parked as close to the door as he could.
Come see this
This is Canada. Most farmers have had a moose in their yard at one time or another. But it’s still a bit of a novelty.
My friend “Liz” was cleaning up her kitchen one evening when her husband “Keith” called to her from the bedroom. “Come in here and see this!”
“Forget it!” she shouted back, still drying dishes. “We’ve been married 15 years. Whatever you’ve got in there — I’ve already seen it.”
But Keith kept shouting, so finally she put down the dishtowel and trudged down the hall to see what he wanted. He’d turned all the lights out. “Look at this!”
Then he pointed to the window. There was a moose right outside, chewing on their apple tree.
Go home already
Back in our yard, we’d finished taking photos of the moose, and we realized that sharing the yard with him was going to get old, fast. We’d need to go outside to do things like cross country ski, play in the snow, walk out to the shop and put gas in the car. But was it safe?
There’s no doubt moose are dangerous on the roads, but will they hurt people?
They look pretty harmless, but, yes, they can lose their tempers and cause trouble. (The U.S. National Parks Service says, in Alaska, more people are injured every year by moose than by bears.) Moose aren’t naturally aggressive, but if they feel threatened, they’ll do what they can. (And really, an animal weighing in at more than 600 pounds can do whatever it wants.)
I don’t like my six-year old’s odds against a moose. Especially when he’s wearing his skis. (The boy. Not the moose. Obviously.)
Moose are nice to look at, but not ideal yard-mates. But how do you evict one?
When I texted Liz for tips, she got back to me right away.
“In the middle of the night,” she said, “Keith got up, turned on the living room lights, stood in the big window and yelled, made faces and jumped up and down. The moose has not been seen since. Other methods may include just waiting until it’s done eating all your fruit trees and goes away on its own.”
Since the moose couldn’t see into our living room from his spot in the trees, we went with the second option.
We waited. And waited. Then we mixed it up with a little yelling, and the dog helped out with his irritating bark. And since the fruit tree selection is pretty limited in our yard, pretty soon the moose headed out. We haven’t seen him at all in the past 10 days.
We enjoyed a couple of bark-free nights. Now we need to get rid of the herd of deer that have moved in to take the moose’s place.
Farmers love to talk about the weather. Or read about the weather, watch the weather forecasts on TV, or check the current weather on their phones using the Grainews mobile app.
Shirley Byers is a Saskatchewan freelance writer who knows all about this. In fact, she’s written a whole book about weather.
In Shirley’s book, “Never Sell Your Hen on a Rainy Day,” she takes a quick look at more than 100 weather rhymes and sayings. Starting in this issue, you’ll find an except from Shirley’s book on page 3 of every issue of Grainews. I hope you find these sayings and their meanings as interesting as I do.
Enjoy this issue.