Hounds met on an absolutely colorful and delightful Sunday afternoon at the picturesque Forer home on the Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend.  It was ‘almost warm’ but not too balmy to make scenting a challenge.

Jack and Jessica gathered alongside the famous heart-shaped pond and made the introductions.  We had enjoyed a delightful Saturday excursion about a week before at the Forer home when Cody took the helm and routed out a hard running cottontail that brought us on an exhausting uphill/downhill sprint.

Jack, who headed the merry band on this day, had his fingers crossed that our prior puss (cottontail) was lying in wait for another challenging drive, but our quarry was wise to our presence and was nowhere to be found as we drew the straight uphill to the summit of the Forer property.

Although our first draw may have been a disappointment the view made up for all! Varying shades of amber and sharp shots of red punctuated the panoramic landscape and we forgave Jack for our shortness of breath from the steep climb.  Either that or we were desperately gasping and too dizzy to scold him…

So we trekked straight down the semi-cleared fields below and although hounds feathered and tried to commit to a faded line which spanned from a pop-up cover to a ruined stone wall, they could not offer more than a few skeptical peeps.

Jack wisely determined that our foray into the upper fields was at conclusion and began his descent back toward the main house. Hounds worked diligently along the scrub of the heart pond and parallel gully but were unable to find.

So we marched toward an ancient collection of satellite dishes which spanned back to the days of Rupert. And as logic would dictate-this range of ‘rabbit-ear’ relics should produce the desired quarry, right?  Absolutely!

Hounds hit an expedient and determined side-winding cottontail which led us north to a rocky hedge and back again.  They struggled a bit on the reverse but made a keen turn-about and finally applied a bit of pressure only to struggle again in the scruff which bordered the satellite field.

But perhaps they were simply warming up…

After a trying first foray they settled a bit and headed toward the deep, thicketed gully wherein they proved an able pack by pressing one solid cottontail (whilst 2 more random rabbit sprang forth).  Our chosen quarry ran several clever routes which hounds successfully pursued through several dizzying twists.  For a grand finale, the rabbit made quite the spectacle when he ran through the pool yard and and then to the patio and finally to the walled formal garden where he ducked for cover amidst the fading hydrangeas.  Jack realized our game was inescapably cornered and respectfully asked the whipper-ins to ‘call off the dogs’ and give our clever cottontail the day.

Conveniently, we were only yards from the Tea (indeed refills from the bar were already underway) as Jack blew a short ‘going home’.

There was plenty of help loading hounds as the juniors insisted upon petting, scratching, snuggling and hugging our hard-working warriors before bidding adieu to the merry beagles.

A noble afternoon of hound work was rewarded with a glorious spread of culinary magic including a beef bourguignon provided by our hosts which was beyond brilliant!  The covered dish offerings were plentiful and not fat-free…but we earned our stripes after a day of hill-climbing-so bring on the calories!

We are grateful to our hosts the Forers, our staff and the dozens of covered dishes which graced the main table.