Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Hi, I'm Dave! Katie is letting me post so that I can write about our very exciting weekend.

On Thursday, the day before we left for our exciting weekend, it finally snowed. We'd been waiting with our new, unused snowshoes all through January and February, and finally March comes through! Of course it promptly warmed up and mostly melted everything, so we didn't even bother bringing them on our exciting weekend.

We left for our exciting weekend on Friday. We were going to our friends' house in Vermont, and along the way we stopped for a quick hike in Acton. This was good because Jonah was very noisy in the car, and the hike helped him settle down. It's amazing how many small patches of conservation land there are all around here. Anyway, we got there, had a great dinner, and watched a big loud James Bond movie. Jonah didn't like the movie, but he was nervous being in a new house, so he was afraid to leave the couch.

After pancakes the next morning, we headed out for a hike. Vermont had gotten more snow and it hadn't melted, but it did have a thin crust that made it hard for everyone (Jonah included) to walk in. Nevertheless, we headed out along a clearing for power lines until we got to a little trail leading into the woods. Forests in Vermont in the winter are among my favorite places ever. There's snow! Trees! Ridges! Hills! A creek! Ice! Ridges with a creek at the bottom! Jonah was grinning and running a lot and then I realized, hey, yeah, that looks like fun. So then we both started running up and down the ridges. He is a very adept climber. He just scurries up and down steep, snowy slopes with no problem. I tried to make up for clumsiness with enthusiasm, and I think I mostly exceeded.

Anyway, the trail we were on went along the edge of a ridge, which had presumably been carved out over many years by the creek down at the bottom. Eventually, the creek turned into a small waterfall, so we climbed down from the trail so we could see it up close. It looked like it might be a worthy goal to climb up the ridge on the other side of the creek so that we could see the water from a different vantage point, so we did that. But then we needed to climb back down, and I figured it would be much better if we climbed down the steepest part we could find. So after a little bit of slipping and catching ourselves on tree branches, we made it. Jonah actually hesitated at a few points on this descent. Well, it wasn't really hesitation. It was more that he could tell that the humans were going down the stupid route, so he just picked a wiser path.

Once we were down at the bottom, we still had to make our way along the edge of the creek to a point we could cross. And there wasn't really a bank - the slope just kept sloping straight down to the water. So as we were inching along, Katie stepped on some ice which didn't support her and soaked a pant leg. Whoops! I felt a tiny bit bad for leading us down this silly route, but mostly I was just having lots of fun (Katie was now having slightly less fun, but at least it was warm enough that she wasn't going to get hypothermia). We don't often have the chance to be anything more than suburban explorers, so this was great. 

We finally all made it across the creek. Katie and Ian went to look at the waterfall, and I climbed back up to the trail. Jonah was all over the place during this. He followed me up to the trail, but then he went back down to check on everybody else, then came back up again. Then he went off after some sniffs. And then he met a border collie! Yep, there was a black and white border collie, about Jonah's size, with a unique spotted pattern on his leg. He didn't appear to have come with a person, though we assumed one must've been down the trail somewhere. The two of them said hello, ran around a little bit, and then Jonah got very excited and did his hi-everyone-look-at-me-I-am-sprinting-in-circles-I-am-so-fast-hooray thing. The border collie went into the classic border collie crouch and just watched Jonah run himself silly. Then there was a whistle, and he immediately disappeared back down the trail. We met the person a minute or so later, and that was far less interesting than what Jonah met next...

We hiked some more, but eventually had to turn around so we could make it back in time for brunch. We cut directly through the woods, and Jonah was out in front somewhere. After a few minutes of this he launched into chase mode, and after a few seconds I saw a biggish non-Jonah shape. None of us thought anything of this at first, figuring he was just going to spook some animal and then come cheerfully bouncing back. But after a few seconds, I realized that he was after a turkey, and that the turkey wasn't very far ahead of him. I started sprinting after him, not knowing what we would do if we ended up with a half dead turkey, and Ian started sprinting after me, and then Katie did too. Apparently, she hadn't seen who was chasing whom, and afterwards said she was more worried that the turkey was going to hurt the dog.

Running through the snow turned out to be very fun. We didn't have to worry about tripping on any protruding rocks or roots, because of the cushion of snow around everything. But it was slower. And there was the very real potential of dead turkey. It kept trying to fly, but didn't have enough runway before Jonah would start nipping at it. As Ian and I closed in, Jonah finally got a good grip on it. At first, I thought he had it by the neck, but that was happening as we finally got close enough to distract him. After a little bit more skirmishing, we persuaded Jonah to let the turkey limp off. We didn't see any blood, but there were a lot of feathers. It looked like he may have gotten all of its tail feathers. 

I have no idea how turkeys survive in the wild. There are coyotes in this same area - how have they not hunted all the turkeys to extinction? 

After that we had brunch and then we drove home and that was our exciting weekend. I suppose if we ever end up with a farm and a forest in Vermont (which would be awesome) will probably have to get used to our dog killing more things. I felt so suburban as all this was happening.

Oh, yeah, and today we set up the agility equipment in the backyard. I ran Jonah up the A-Frame a few times. Don't tell Katie, but I had fun doing that!

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