How Far Removed – Predator and Prey

Out here we have a healthy balance between predator and prey. Squirrels crowd the treetops, mice are at home in sheds and even in our house if we aren’t diligent. Snakes lurk everywhere.

snake eating squirrel

Predator and Prey

Coyotes are plentiful. The dogs break into a discordant chorus when they hear their wild cousins yapping on the outskirts of the “safe” zone the dogs have established. Last year a wiley bobcat ate more than his fair share of our chickens in spite of Badger’s diligent guard. And we eat a fair share of the game that abounds in our hills.

For the time being, we have a balance, a harmony. While we do enforce a boundary around the small space we’ve carved out to call our own, we don’t seek out to kill animals like snakes, coyotes and bobcats, as many people I know do, because we acknowledge that these mountains are just as much theirs as this safe zone around the house is ours. When I ramble around on the mountain, usually camera in hand and down on all fours (or even belly) to get close to the plants, I’m in the wildlife’s home and I’m respectful of that. It doesn’t mean I’ll submit to becoming prey, but it does mean I won’t kill just because our paths cross. I’ve never encountered a situation that required more of me than patience.

The following is from my old blog. This post was originally posted on July, 2010:

Youngest is outside right now, whittling on the mechanism of his newly cut frog gig. It’s made from a 6′ sapling section, about 2″ diameter. He needed to cut it a few feet longer, but this is his first effort and I’m not about to discourage him now. When he gets to putting it through trials, he’ll find out if his barbs were sturdy enough or the shaft long enough and make adjustments accordingly on his next attempt.

At first thought, to many, what he is doing sounds barbaric and cruel.

How far removed we, as a society, have become from our origins as nomads and hunter/gatherers. Nowadays, most of us never think twice about the food we put into our mouths, not to consider whether it was once a living thing nor about the idea that it died so that we might eat.

We live each day in a world of predator and prey relationships, and yet rarely notice. The project my son has embarked upon is unabashedly ‘predator’ in nature. And I guess what gives me that sense of satisfaction I am feeling, is that he knows it.

The same kid holds a kitten with a tender smile on his face and cheers for chicks hatching from eggs in the incubator.

No Qualms, my latest short story available at Amazon and at our online shop, is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my novel that I’m currently trying to find an agent for, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (these are slowly being transferred from the old blog) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live.


♥ If any of you read No Qualms, please leave a review. You’ll have my deep appreciation for it! ♥

 

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About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


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2 Replies to “How Far Removed – Predator and Prey”

  1. I feel much as you do, though I admit to, at times, being a bit loath to carry out the deed even for our dinner table. We are aiming for a more self sufficient life. That lifestyle means a sacrifice of ethics for me to put dinner on the table.

    You can’t have it both ways. If you live in the wilder spaces then you must count on critters that will be hungry just as you are. However, to know this is to be forewarned and will mean due diligence when building your livestock’s abode, and the realization that here will always be losses, but hey, the wild things gotta eat too. 😉

    1. Hi Lynda, I’m afraid if it were up to me to carry out the deed for our table, we’d become vegetarians, lol. I only kill things that pose an imminent threat and even then I hate doing it. If I were the only one living here, I’d probably never kill anything except in true self-defense. But I feel a responsibility to remove rattlesnakes from the frequently used paths my people and animals take… and that’s about the only thing I’ve killed lately. Oh, another snake that had just eaten all of the chicks and nearly hatched eggs (and technically, I didn’t do the deed on this one, but turned it over to my husband). Otherwise, I think I could go around and avoid the dangers. A few years ago I did kill several roosters because we had so many and I couldn’t give them away and they were abusing the hens. So, I guess I’ll kill what I feel needs killing, but I’d sure rather not when I can.

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