Monday, November 22, 2010

Sharing Space (Hedgewyck)

My husband took this photo of an armadillo next to our trailer.
They are considered pests....
We saw a small bobcat at Hedgewyck yesterday.  He ran past, nearly silent, while we were standing outside talking to a visitor.  This sighting accounts for the grey tufts of rabbit fur I have seen along the road, swirling in the morning breeze .  Bobcats are skilled predators and it seems that humanity's rote way of dealing with such is to exterminate them.  After all, this bobcat might eat our chickens, baby goats, or cat.  There is something limiting about the arrogant expectation that we have such complete dominion over our little piece of forest that we can determine what species are allowed to exist upon it.  There is little support for those who want to share.
We believe it is our job to keep our domestic animals in such a way as to prevent temptation.  We will secure the chickens at night, keep the baby goats in the barn until they are big enough to be fairly safe, and keep the cat near us.  Of course this is only practical for small homesteads with just a few animals such as ours. After all, it is much easier for a large operation to kill the predator than protect so many animals.  Perhaps that is the root of our modern attitude.  As agriculture gets bigger, it demands a larger share of everything.  Huge monocultures and feedlots leave no room for untamed nature.
We are aware that our precautions may not always work.  We may lose an odd chicken or goat.  But we think that a small price for the thrill of seeing the white flash of a bobcat's tail moving ghostlike through the brush.

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