There was a dark foreboding about the weather outside. Although it was 10 degrees warmer than it had been yesterday morning, I felt colder. I would dress according to how I felt and not the temperature. Six degrees above zero was still plenty cold. Unlike the last few mornings, when the skies were clear and you felt like you could touch the moon and the stars as they hung high in the sky, the stars were invisible and the moon looked like a faint light smudge surrounded by high dark clouds. Except for the light from my headlamp there was no other light source as it struggled to overcome the darkness.
The dogs were in a festive mood and wanted to be petted as I watered and scooped the yard. I was a little uneasy being out so early in this thick darkness. What if a Brownie (Grizzly) or a mountain lion were to attack me. I knew that the dogs might keep the less aggressive ones away and they would warn me if anything approached. I felt secure. Deer were all over the place and would come within 50-100 feet in the summer to lay down on the dog pile in order to escape the black flies and mosquitoes. As I finished scooping the back of the yard the dogs went crazy, running around and barking. I looked to see what was going on in the area where they were looking. A dark shadow was moving in my direction. It was not a deer! It was Hoover, one of the house dogs, coming up to explore. He is a large black Lab that Doug says is the best bird dog he has ever seen. Hoover likes to chase the stick and is constantly bringing one to you to throw. He is quite intelligent and loves to watch TV. One night I saw him get up, walk over and look behind the TV to see where the dog was that he had just seen on the TV.