Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My

Rug Goat

This was my friend Sue's angora buck, from whom I have received mohair for my rug yarns. The goat was about the size of a large dog, except for the horns (!), and was a nice old guy. Smelly, but oh! the hair. This is before shearing last winter, and he was sheared twice a year.

Sue lives just up the road from me, we can see each other's house if we flash a light at night (this is what passes for being a neighbor here, and a sight line is unusual in these hills and ridges).

Anyway, I use this mohair blended with wool in my knotted pile and pickup bands, here is an example of both:

quiver back2

I dyed some of this yarn the other day:

red mohair yarn2

Perhaps you can see the sheen and glow of the mohair: it makes the dyed yarn sparkle. [See Claudia? still working on that red inspiration :)] Mohair also adds strength to the yarn, a good thing in warps and rugs.

But, this big goat is no more. Sue lost 5 or 6 goats, and a sheep or two to a mountain lion attack the other night. Even her 4 dogs didn't hear this attack: he came silently in the night, and killed each goat with a bite to the back of the head. The remaining animals were terrified, bunched up with eyes wide open, when Sue found them in the morning.

We live in the woods. There are other inhabitants of the woods who occasionally assert themselves.

The state trapper was worried about this particular attack though, because it was so vicious. The lion did not just kill to eat, he killed on a spree. And it was one lion, not a mother, teaching her cubs to kill. The trapper brought out his striker dogs and his scent dogs, but the trail was lost amidst the houses and fences that dot the ridge.

The lion has not come back, he's probably well away now. He may have just been passing through: the trapper indicated that there is not enough habitat for the current lion population, and some are left to roam and fend for themselves, without specific territory.

Lions and bears are always with us here, usually more in the background. Attacks like this are rare, and senseless killing sprees are more often done by packs of dogs, more a worry here than the occasional lion. Lions more characteristically take one animal, for food, and move on. Not this time.

There's no happy ending here, no moral, unless it's lock up your pets at night:

mojo sitting

If sheep and goats were the main course, Mojo would just be a snack.


Blogger Deanna said...

Yikes - how horrible! And very very scary. We have to keep pets in at night here, too, but that's because of coyotes, not lion's with a recreational killing streak. Freaky.

And what an incredible shame, cause that shiny red yarn is just gorgeous.

8:22 AM  
Blogger claudia said...

Yet Igor still tries to escape. There are coyotes out in back of the house that would love a wee snack.

How sad for your friend.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Spindlers2 said...

Poor Sue! Tell her I'm sorry.

And, thank you for the Mojo picture, there hasn't been one for ages....and he is so photogenic.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

Oh, how horrible! It must be even harder to accept when it was a vicious attack rather than one for feeding.

10:47 AM  
Blogger margene said...

A horrible story of nature awry. Animals without territories are so stressed they have no idea what they're doing. Sounds like some people, too. The red yarn is beautiful!

12:51 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

I always hate to hear about things like that. After our mink attack, I've had plenty here of my own worries; I can only imagine what Sue's been dealing with. Sad that she had to lose so many at once.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

How sad to lose so many overnight - what a shock to discover. My friend lost a penned flock of geese/ducks to a cougar one year - could be the animals panicked which set off the killing spree. It takes a long time to recover emotionally from this sort of thing.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Tracy Ross, before she moved her angora goat herd to Texas, told me that you either have mountain lions or coyotes, but not both. I don't know if that's true, but we have lots and lots of coyotes. I never thought that I'd say I'm glad, but I am.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...


2:47 PM  
Blogger judy said...

That's a terrible story. I am so sorry, poor friend Sue. I am always outside making noise to scare away the predators. It's amazing that the dogs didn't pick up on it.

Mojo looks a bit bigger than a snack. Looks like his winter has been restful.

Do you use your beautiful bags? So wonderful.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Charleen said...

I'm so sorry about Sue's animals. I wouldn't worry about Mojo though - it doesn't look like he's leaving the couch!

6:47 PM  
Blogger Maus said...

Tell Sue how sorry I am about her animals, that's just not something anyone should wake up to in the morning :( Sort of glad he was just passing through. We have a lioness living in our area for years already, she has cubs every spring, people see their paw marks on their porches! But as far as I know she only keeps the deer population in check, I've met the bloody evidence on my outings with the dogs. Never bothered any domestic stock as far as I know, she has a lot of space to roam and hunt. We're in the woods too and I love it, animals and all.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Marcy said...

Poor Sue, and poor Sue's critters. That's so hard. If Oley'd been there, he would have kept that cat away. :(

5:43 AM  
Blogger Kate Robertson said...

Tell Sue how sorry I was to hear of her loss. I have been fortunate that my sheep, Shetlands have never had any problems with dogs or coyotes or lions for that matter. That was one beautiful goat, I bet his fleece was a joy to work with.

9:10 AM  

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