Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Wow! It has been over a month since my last post; much has happened! We took Ellie and Buck on our church trailride and had a wonderful time! Ellie is such a blast to ride! She thinks everybody is there to be her friend. Her gaits are so comfy! The pictures were taken on the day of the trailride; none of me because I was taking them. And I finally got Kevin to try her out and he agreed she's as pleasing under saddle as she is from the ground. Buck has been lording it over her, but then you have to cut him slack since this is probably the first time in his whole life when he's had a horse buddy he could push around! He's loving it! I'm hoping that as the weather gets colder he'll want to cuddle more and bully less. I could go on quite a while about our latest hay hassles and horse adventures and recent rainfall, but I actually was motivated to post by a recent experience that is a first for me!
A few nights ago (Saturday to be exact) while Kevin was off at choir practice, I came out of the barn (where we have our washer and dryer) into the deep dark of a cloudy night and less than 30 feet away from me a sound erupted which was by far the most blood-curdling, heart-stopping, gut-wrenching noise I've ever heard! I stood still, totally paralyzed, attempting to determine what on earth (or not on earth) could have emitted the cry. I was so shaken that I couldn't even replay it in my mind; I had never ever experienced anything like it; not in my worst nightmares. A few seconds later, an owl hooted in a tree above the spot the sound had come from. I was immensely relieved. I told the owl, "you just scared the s--t out of me!" I couldn't imagine how an owl, even a large one (we have barred owls on our place), could make a sound like that, but I decided he must have been projecting his voice to make it seem to come from the ground. The dogs, too, apparently were fooled. They ran barking to the spot where the cry had come from . Thinking they were wrong I called them back. I fussed at the owl for a few minutes and actually hoped he'd repeat the performance to confirm my conclusion. But, he spoke not another word and the silence was broken only by the panting dogs and my pounding heart. I went on about my evening chores making a mental note to look on the internet to see if there were other people who had been privy to an up close, personal, terrorist owl encounter.
I told Kevin when he got home about it. Then, yesterday morning I started searching on the web and listened to a variety of owl cackles, screams, hisses, clicks, hoots, ...but there was nothing remotely close to what I had heard. I spoke to a bird expert and he said that he didn't believe any owl made a noise such as I described (not that I was able to describe it very well). I said that it was VERY loud, about 2 or 3 seconds in duration, and it was unearthly. Like a banshee? He suggested a possum. I looked that up and no, not long or loud enough (although fighting coons sound like cats fighting). I know what coyotes sound like (and they can be pretty weird, too) and I am familiar with wolf howls, pig screams (we do have wild pigs around), various night birds like night hawks...but this just wasn't anything like those. I began to just try searchwords like: banshee... and up came a youtube with Eerie Fox scream. I played it and that was it! A FOX! Right up by our tackhouse, near the horse pen, only yards from our house. Hard to believe but the sound was unmistakable. I played about four more youtube clips of foxes and found in the comments left that many other people had had similar encounters with them and had come away as terrified as I. It was a huge relief to finally know what was out there. I was very grateful to the owl who had temporarily accepted the blame. His comment on the fox's scream was a blessing since I was able to just go on with my evening instead of hiding in the house waiting for Kevin to come home to cope with I knew not what! Nothing he could have done about it, either.
Go on youtube and put in Fox Screaming Eerie and after listening to that one, try Screaming Fox? On the second one, the person posting it wasn't sure what he'd recorded, but many commenters identified it for him as a fox. The part of that sound clip past the middle is exactly what I heard, only MUCH louder and closer. For those who live in the country, DO listen to this so you'll not have a heart attack if it happens to you! I have no photos to show of this; somethings just aren't visual!