When we first lived in the hollow there would be at night on the southern hillside a loud shrieking sound. It could also be described as a high-pitched scream. We talked to various people trying to determine what could be making this unworldly sound. There were different opinions on the subject. Some said it might be a bobcat, or a fox, or even a mountain lion. We also thought it might be a strange shrieking bird or even a deranged human, walking through our woods at night. Our dogs at the time would bark at it, but not investigate. This indicated to me that they didn’t consider it much of a threat. Whether this was because of the distance or because of what it was, I do not know. Or could it have been something they feared? If so, it would have been the first thing our big Anatolian Shepherd feared in his life. He was a guarding machine. So, all these years later we still have not determined what it was.


In the past nine years, we had never seen a robin in the hollow. Hard to believe, I know, considering everything else we have viewed. Now in the middle of winter, we have had several move in and it seems they have always been here.


Today is a beautiful, sunny winter’s day. While taking a short hike, I spied the shiny shell of an armadillo in the upper part of the blackberry field. I walked up that way to observe it, when unluckily for the armadillo our little spaniel-looking dog, Lewie (for CS Lewis), saw it also. As soon as the armadillo heard the bark, it ran zig-zag towards the woods. The bark also alerted our bullmastiff, Chandler (for Raymond Chandler), who ran at an impressive rate of speed up the field and grabbed it by the tail. It dangled for a long moment, its claws reaching for purchase. Either Chandler got scratched or he was trying for a better grip, I couldn’t tell which, when the armadillo fell to the ground on the edge of the woods. Immediately, it went down a hole in the ground.  It must have been trying for home when it was caught.