Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Coyote Confrontations

It's been foggy for the past couple weeks. Foggy doesn't quite describe it; it's more like we've been living in a cloud bank, with the clouds billowing, rising and falling a few thousand feet at most. Last night I was preparing myself for the dense patch I'd driven into the night before as the road rose into thicker cloud, when I drove into starry blackness. It took a moment to get over the shock of such a long sight distance.

I wasn't alone in my delight. As I was feeding the sheep what sounded like a dozen coyotes started squabbling just beyond the fences. I straightened up to look that direction and a white blur flashed past me. A white blur with a very deep bark. Charlie pushed through the gate to the far pasture, and the coyotes silenced, but another group howled further away and to the south. I heard Ursa, my 11 year old Caucasian Ovtcharka, take up the verbal battle on that side of the farm.

The sheep ate peaceably, but my hackles were up. The closest coyotes yipped on and off, just to let us know they hadn't given up. I made a mental plan to drive back down there to see if I could frighten them off with the car lights - but by the time I finished my chores they had moved on. I could hear Charlie working his way up the hill.

The coyotes serenaded most of the night, but from a distance. Charlie and Ursa barked their boundary in reply: this far and no further. Jesse the Samoyed protected the back yard while Berna the Anatolian protected him. The herding dogs and I curled up in the warm house and slept, knowing the sheep, birds, and house were safe.

This morning the sky is clear and blue, the sun is bright, the ground white with frost. And the dogs are prancing delightedly, having spent a night hard at work.

No comments: