We were awakened at 4:30 yesterday morning by the sound of Hopi growling from the foot of Starflower's bed, which she has claimed as her sleeping spot. Her growls turned to barks; prior to this I didn't think she even knew how to bark. Sally, usually the more vigilant watchdog, who sleeps at the foot of our bed, often on top of my legs, gave a slight growl but must have been satisfied that Hopi did an adequate job of alarm barking, because she fell asleep again.
The Hermit turned on the back light to reveal a herd of cattle, probably seven of them, meandering around the back yard, licking grease from the bottom of the grill, looking for any other sources of food. He went outside and chased them away; eventually they ended up back at the neighbors' on their own.
Our neighbors across the road keep a small herd of cattle on their too-small pasture, and their fences are notoriously unreliable. One day a few years ago we found a newborn calf abandoned in the woods near our house. We get cows coming over to our place a few times a year, sometimes eating our animal feed and leaving piles of free fertilizer everywhere. The neighbors are always apologetic, but they just don't get it. Part of being a good neighbor around here is keeping your animals where they belong. Although these folks can be hard workers at times, they just don't have the reasoning ability and common sense it takes to be good farmers and neighbors. They also don't have enough income from their disability checks to invest in some fencing, and their sister who lives up the road, who owns the cattle, won't even bother to give one of them a ride to the doctor's in Duluth.
We put up with it; they could be worse, at least they're not running a meth lab or anything. And their place is close enough to the road, and the sight of a grown man riding a bicycle in circles in the driveway likely makes anyone think twice about intruding into our place.
On the wild side, the kids and I saw a pair of fishers, an uncommon sight, running across the road just south of our place. Fishers are probably the porcupine's only natural predator.