Monday, November 16, 2009

A Sunday in the field

With everything here flooded, and all of the kids soccer stuff canceled, I headed out of town and up to Maryland to meet up with Patrick.

We met up a local mom and pop store and headed off to one of the many nearby farms that had enlisted the Terrierman to get rid of their groundhogs. The problem is that the whistle pigs will break down the river banks and undermine the soil so that the farm equipment will get bogged down trying to do their work. They want to get rid of these pests.

We gamboled along the river bank looking for the tell tale holes, Mountain ranging ahead and Gordon and pearl close by. It was the perfect day. The sky was clear and the air was cool and calm. A thick dew covered the grass and deer grazed nearby on the hillside. Red tailed hawks flew overhead, and a cooper's hawk made a quick appearance.

The dogs were reveling in being out and about, tearing this way and that until Mountain finally pinged on the first groundhog.

He was intent on getting into a hole along the edge of a riverbank. There was definitely something in there. Mountain seemed to be caught up so we decided to dig a hole into the pipe. We figured out that some large rocks were blocking the dogs progress into the hogs den, and then Patrick started excavating himself, breaking through a wall and into the chamber where the groundhog was hiding. The dogs dug the rest of the way in.

While all this was going on, Gordon made the first kill of the day. He'd sniffed out a mouse nest in a tube around a sapling that the farmer had planted. The mice were frantic, moving up and down the tube as the dog tore at it with his teeth, until all three of them popped out of the top and scrambled into the grass.

Meanwhile, Mountain was traded off with Pear who finished up this little groundhog. Patrick was able to tail it out and dispatch it. Gordon played with it a bit to get familiar with the smell, and then we moved on.

We crossed the stream again and tried a spot earlier the dogs had been interested in earlier. They investigated, hole after hole, popping in and out like one of those smack the mole games. then Mountain opened up under ground.

We dropped in one hole, and Mountain moved through it, so we had to drop another. The groundhog was between one hole and the next with the dog growling and barking. I tried to tail this one out, but it was strong and wasn't having any of it. Eventually, it pulled out of my grasp and Patrick went in with his pole snare. He snagged it on one end, and Mountain was pushing from the other.

He finally pulled it free for our # 2 for the day.

It was a good day for the dogs and the people who followed them.

Thanks Patrick.

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