Friday, December 10, 2010

The Better Half of Snow

C'mon, you knew there had to be one. It can't be ALL bad..only almost....I am not a winter fan, less so after taking a crashing fall while taking sand in so the cows had better footing (guess I should have sanded where I walk first). However, despite the bruises and bumps, there is an upside to this white stuff all over the ground.

Tracking, reading the unfolding story of what happened in the night, out in the yard while we were sleeping. There the crook-legged hen left a garbled trail over to the porch to steal cat food. Here the rooster scratched for sun flower seeds under the feeder. It is like gossip written in blue and grey against the white....every one's secrets revealed.

This morning's tabloid offered a probable explanation of where Triton went. Triton was a lovely cat Alan brought home not long ago. I really liked her....what a hunter.

Then one morning she was just....gone....we never saw her again.

This morning a set of large, like German shepherd-large, canine tracks, led from the bank of the creek right across the heifer road and all the way to the house and beyond. Right next to the cars and the back porch where Triton lived.

Canis Latrans. Bold as brass, right up to the house, right up to the hen coop, right past the pony barn. Although we have three dogs, they are all confined in warm places for the winter. None of them left the tracks. I knew there were coyotes around; you can't miss hearing them, but I had some idea that they stayed out in the field....waiting for the cats to come to them.

Hah! I swear if the door was open they would probably walk right in the living room looking for Elvis and Simon.

There are also bunny tracks out there, but very, very few compared to most winters. I guess that is the better half of having a coyote in your back yard. Besides cats, he apparently eats rabbits too.



June said...

We've had coyotes howling (Husband swears) not 200' from the house lately. The perimeter is shrinking...

Dani said...

We've been having trouble with coyotes here in the city...they adapt so well.

Cathy said...

Waaait a minute. You really took a tumble?

Oh girl. I live in dread of falls.

It's harder to get up every year and that's just from a squatting position to get to the bottom shelf in the grocery store ;-D

OK. That pix is intriguing.

Who? What?

Woodswalker said...

Be careful out there. I mean on the ice. The older we get, the easier we break. As for coyotes, well, all god's chillen gotta eat. Sorry you lost your good kitty, though.

Linda said...

Hope you get healed up fast. We had a fresh dusting this morning and I noticed all kinds of different tracks on my tour this today.

CTG Ponies said...

Seeing the tracks is cool but I think a coyote that close to the house would be unnerving. Hope you are feeling better from your fall.

DayPhoto said...

The perimeter is shrinking and I do NOT like it one bit. Too many people in thier places, now they are not afraid so what we have is theirs to take.



Anonymous said...

German-shepherd-sized paws? That's a pretty big coyote. A few years ago, I swore I saw a BIG wolf a few miles south of you. Everybody told me I was crazy. Well, I am, but I still swear.

Hope you heal fast. These old bodies don't appreciate rude falls. Remember when we were kids and would just bounce right back up? Those were the days.

And I bite, too. What is that photo?

threecollie said...

June, I couldn't believe how close this guy came.

Dani, they do indeed, opportunists for sure.

Cathy, oh, yeah, black and blue in several interesting spots. The pic is a cropping of a lousy photo of Nick running to me through the brush...being a coyote for me.

WW, they do indeed, but it wouldn't break my heart if he confined himself to the other 319 of our land and a wild menu.

Linda, thanks, getting better quickly.

CTG, thanks, improving quickly. I don't like him coming in so close. Most of the animals are safely confined, but I hate it when they eat up our cats. The cats perform a useful service...when they live long enough to do so.

Linda, here in the Northeast they can't even claim that they were here first. They moved in when I was in my twenties to fill the niche emptied by wolves. Ours are often quite recent crosses with dogs so they are different than the small western beasts. There was a plague of shaggy, very large black ones a few years back that even attacked a pony in broad day light.

AKA, we have some HUGE ones! I have photos! Some dog in there I guess. So nice to hear from you...I check your blog now and then just to see if you happen to post. Thanks for your kind words. The photo is just Nick running to me through the brush. If you look closely you can see his shiny, black nose.

Woodswalker said...

Regarding our eastern coyotes, I have read that as the western coyote made its way east, it came through Canada, where it interbred with Red Wolves and achieved a much greater size and weight, as well as the kind of pack behavior associated with wolves, the cooperative hunting and shared rearing of pups. Many biologists believe it is highly unlikely that our local coyotes share genes with dogs, but DNA analysis does show that they do share genes with wolves.

threecollie said...

WW, I do not dispute that theory at all. However, the local population of wild whatchamallems look assorted and very doggy. We have the plain old brown and grey, tall, regular coyotes. Then we have blond ones...really big blond ones...and long-haired black ones. I won't argue with the scientists, but they are not all of a piece so to speak.
They frequent the hill behind the house, btw, so I do get to personally see the different sorts. Other places I have lived we didn't see the variation, so perhaps we have some enterprising coyotes or lonely dogs just around here.
As to the scientific end of this, with all these canids able and willing to freely interbreed, I wonder wherein lies the correct species breakdown between the coyote, the wolf, and the domestic dog. Are perhaps races of the same animal?

Ericka said...

sorry about the loss of your cat.

i was reading an article the other day about how many coyotes were in chicago. this is another one:

i saw one next to a grocery store and thought i was losing my mind. coyote? in strip mall? really? as it happens, yes. but anything that cuts down on the population of canadian geese is okay with me.