I have decided that when it is dark, animals of all species enjoy order and routine more than at any other time. Well before dawn, as Chris is just thinking of getting out of bed, the house animals slumber and rest. On the kitchen sofa, Mabel will have her head jammed tightly behind her own green pillow as she snores like a train and in the living room William is stretched out on his own sofa, gently woofing in his sleep. Between us in bed, lies Meg who couldn't quite cope with not being in the direct epicentre of the house pack and at the foot of the bed is George, who is content with being just close enough to Chris--- but happy, in that inimitable Scottish Terrier, "I am ever so slightly aloof" kind of way
Only Albert and I are awake.
He remains on sentry duty at the bedroom window, and is scanning the field and lane for interesting nocturnal activity. I know that something is around because he is still and alert and is obviously watching something moving around in the frost. I suspect it is a fox or perhaps a badger because the Guinea fowl are muttering to themselves like worried pensioners. The threat however remains at the field borders at present, I can always tell that if their grumbling is subdued.
I get up and get the sleepy dogs walked, we will all go back to bed for a short while when we return. But before we do, I take my trusty wind up torch and went to check on the coops, just in case a predator was about.
Hearing me crunch in the severe frost the geese "chunner" their own kind of warning. There is a small window in the goose house and I can just make out a couple of heads popping up to see what is going on........ the "chunners" subside as they recognise me. A similar low chatter comes from the duck house, but it is more a squabble about best positions rather than one of anxiety and from the nearest hen house, one of the usually silent hens allows herself a brief and rather musical little "cluck" of concern before going back to sleep.
When it is dark, hens for the most part are truly useless creatures.
It was badgers that Albert had seen from the bedroom window, In the moon light I can just make out a large dark grey arse by the pond, shuffling homewards before first light, They won't be a threat again tonight
Even in the dark, everything has an order and a pace of it's own.