The big yellow coyote that I call Too Bold reappeared Friday afternoon. I was mowing on the knoll behind the barn when the geese began honking and flying toward me. At first I was not concerned. The geese often get so excited bathing in their water troughs in front of the barn that in an overflow of silly exuberance they fly off in all directions. However this time I saw the big coyote racing right behind them down the driveway.
(I was very lucky he chased them toward me, rather than away, as I never would have heard the commotion over the roar of the mower.)
I have a very loud voice and immediately began screaming, “Hey! Hey!” I threw the mower into 5th gear and bumped over the grass toward the geese. The coyote, galloping after them, barely glanced up at me.
“Hey!” (I am not at my most articulate in a panic.) I reached the fence, jumped off the mower, and began running at the coyote, still yelling. “Hey! Heeeeeeey!”
At this he sloped off at an angle to canter into the stand of trees by the cabin. I ran at him again, yelling. For the moment, he melted away.
My young geese John and Abigail (I’m reading the Adams correspondence) seemed stunned with fright. Their necks were stretched high, their eyes round. Normally they are skittish around me; now I thought I might have to pick them up to get them back to the barn. Eventually, glancing repeatedly over my shoulder, I was able to herd them back up the driveway. My old goose Kay was at the barn door, worried. I locked them all inside.
I need to spend hours weedwhacking all my fences and the driftway to get a hot charge. The south pasture has had no charge at all since the excavator snapped the electric line in the fall of 2016. (My sheep are inside portable netting with a battery charger.) Last summer there was no time, and this summer I hadn’t made it a priority. Now it is.
My neighbor, Mike, who is a skilled hunter, heard my shouting from his house and guessed what was going on. He had hoped the coyote had moved on from the neighborhood. Though I had not seen it yet, I thought probably not, after two summers of good eating and no consequences. In both 2016 and 2017, it was late July when the coyote first appeared at my barn, and for the past few weeks I’d been reminding myself to get ready. However, with my bad knee, scrambling over rocks around the back of the driftway and along the far fence lines to weedwhack is so taxing that I’d allowed it to slip down the list.
In the meantime on Saturday morning I spent several hours hauling out the old wire panels I’d stored behind the bunk house and setting them up around the front of the barn. These are the panels I’d taken off the broken sheep shelters. They are tired and bent.
The effect certainly adds to the Poverty Hollow-ish look of the barn.
I have a gift certificate to a local lumberyard and had planned to repaint the barn and paint the addition this summer … it’s still on the list … along with a dozen other projects.
The fence makes mucking the barn trickier, complicates bringing in grain bags, and will have to be taken down for hay deliveries. I also need to line the bottom foot of the panels with remnants of galvanized wire because the chickens can spurt through the holes. So it’s ugly, it will get uglier, and it’s a pain in the neck.
However my hope is that it keeps my animals safe.
* * *
On Saturday night, after an hour on the phone, I was able to snag for DH the very last seat on a plane to California. Airlines have dropped their compassionate fares and it looked as if getting him to Brian’s wake was going to drain our bank account. However, a kind person at American allowed me to use frequent flyer miles and we only paid the $75 fine for not buying 21 days ahead. Since he would be boarding in less than ten hours, I thought this was fair. After two long days of board meetings, DH greeted camp parents for visitors weekend from breakfast through dinner Saturday, received the wake details that evening, and got up yesterday at 3 AM to drive the 2.5 hours to the airport. Last night he was with Brian’s family and friends.