There used to be a couple of deer that would slink through and eat with Mucky. Now, herds of elk just plow on in and help themselves. Two or three in the wee hours, who cares, but when they rolled through in a posse nine deep, we noticed.
Now in the middle of the day we come back from the post office to find them crowded into Mucky’s feeding area, bold as brass. In the middle of the day! Clearly it was the same herd as the night raid, because the little one was along. They look considerably less elegant in daylight, with their pale rumps and scruffy, tattered coats, ribs showing through.
They scattered slowly when we came back, slipping through the wire fence, too pell-mell to count them, while the little one got distracted staring at us.
Now we make sure to tromp around outside, open the door and talk, bang on the windows in the evening. This won’t bother the horse but the elk will run off, and the point is to give the horse enough time to get most of the hay into HIM. We don’t need to support the wild ruminants.
Last night, though, they moved in quick. I stuck my head out to chat with the horse, not a quarter hour after the last time, and when I hollered, there was a brief pause, and then an apocalyptic rumble of pounding hooves burst out, thundering like a cavalry charge in all directions at once.
One thing for sure, that wasn’t just nine of them.