How in the world did I forget to highlight one of THE most exciting moments of this past week?


Having somewhat of a diverse agricultural background, I have worked with both cows and horses, some oh which can get quite large. When I went to Ireland in the summer of 2008 to study horse racing (I have no idea why I did this, looking back: I can't ride horses for nilch), I worked with some of the largest horses I have ever laid eyes on. Having a degree from NC State University, I have also worked with lots of cows. However, nothing can really mentally prepare you for the image of  hoof stock large enough to walk over fallen trees! In my three weeks of work I have heard one moose tear off into the trees and another walking over fallen trees that were four feet off the ground. Bobbie and I were driving up the mountain this week when, on the side of the road, was my moose! I had begun to think these creatures were imaginary, although I've seen enough tracks and stepped over enough moose piles to support a healthy population. My moose was a yearling bull and probably the most adorable thing I've ever seen. He ran off the road and into the saplings a short bit, but turned and stared at us for a good thirty seconds. He had little buds, so no huge rack of antlers. Standing at just taller than a large cow, he was extremely dark brown, almost black. he was in the awkward teenager stage and not as magnificent as he will be when he grows to his full 1500 lb potential. Bobbie's daughters call them "swamp donkeys" because of their oversized ears... and it's true! His ears and long muzzle reminded me of a donkey, but much, much bigger. His legs alone were close to my total height, so the legs contributed to at least five feet of his height! He was much rounder than any horse I'd ever seen. When I think of horses, I think of open pastures. When I think of moose, I think of strange cow/horse hybrids that walk over trees and run as fast as deer and will stomp your head in like a watermelon. True, these guys can be pretty dangerous. I'm pleased to have seen my first one in the truck instead of around the next corner. Typical defense strategies include luck and climbing the nearest tree, or the use of bear spray if needed. I can't wait to see my first adult male moose (with antlers), or a mama and baby (from a safe distance)! We didn't get any pictures of this moose, but I came up with a pretty darn good idea for a children's book with a moose as the main star (no, not a cop-out of the one you're thinking about!). Here is a photo I found online that resembles what we saw (the one we saw was a little bigger, fuller, and much darker):

I can't wait to see more! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get to see a mountain lion soon... but not too close.