Saturday, March 18, 2017

Coyotes

The coyotes were sad last night.  I have lived here twenty years, with goats on the back acre for ten.  Usually once or twice during the winter, the coyotes will come to the back line.  This year, the pack was to the left, the right, and outback, all times of night and evening.  What was going on?

I found out that coyote hunters  had put three bait dumps within 1000 feet of my goats, encircling my pasture.  The bait consisted of slaughterhouse offal, and yes, it included goat and sheep bits.  Because when I confronted the hunter-actually, he stopped to talk to me on the road-he was suprised that I had never had a trouble with my goats, since coyotes picked the goat bits out of the piles first.  Nice.

Then he went on to say that he had taken 7 coyotes out from behind me.  Groups of pickups speeding up and down the gravel road everyday, hunting dogs showing up in my back yard....

Yesterday I went out the long way just because I didn't want to pass the hunters, and I'll be damed but four trucks where down the road and I had to pass them anyhow.  Later Peko and I walked down the road after they had left and followed their trail into the woods.

I have permission from the landowner to be on that property...do they?  Who knows, since my neighbor told me she had found a bait pile on her property and the hunter, a retired game warden, had told her he could put it there because she didn't have her name on her posted signs!

The property they had gone on is also posted, but the name is faded.  The owner lives out of state, but you can be sure the next time he comes up I am going to ask him if they have permission.

Part of this same gang was caught by my other neighbor on her land last fall herding deer!  And she posted her land for the first time in twenty five years because of them.  The whole road is lterally posted-but, as the retired game warden told me "Dogs can't read posted signs"

So they put their dogs in there and stand on the gravel road and wait for the dogs to drive the coyote into the road where they shoot it.  The dogs have gps collars so you typically see these guys lined up with handheld screens tracking the dogs progress through the (posted) woods.  That's why they speed up and down the road trying to keep ahead of the coyote.

If the dogs go to bay in the woods, they go in after the dogs-having the right to trespass to retrieve the dog.  You'd have to catch them and tell them not to shoot the coyote so good luck with that.

Anyhow, we followed the trail and ended up finding blood-whether from a coyote, injured dog, or the dead deer one of the yahoos had in the back of their truck yesterday morning that looked like coyote bait to me (the deer didn't have a mark on it, but orange tape around it's leg.  I think it had been hit by a car).

I was sure they must have shot the last coyote-but last night I stepped on the deck and heard one out back-there may have been two.  The call was so sad, not the usual happy one.  I cupped my hands to my mouth and mimicked the call.  Then I shouted, "I'm sorry,. they're assholes"

I have done a bunch of research on coyotes the last week.  Don't believe the hunters.  You're more likely to lose a cat to a fox than a coyote.  They will go after sheep, but good fencing, guard dogs, llamas, or burros will protect them.

All those years the big goat farm never lost one to coyotes.  AND she had found a bait dump 20 feet from her back fence as well.  It's like the hunters WANT them to go after your livestock so they can justify tearing through posted land with dogs during the season everything is pregnant.

Damn, don't get me going....




Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday, December 2, 2016

Happy December

I hope everyone is well, and I want to apologize for being so slack in blogging!

As my regular readers know, I have been writing a column for a local paper once a week, and that seems to fill my writing urges.  Plus, it involves meeting a deadline and proofreading! LOL

Talk about taking the fun out of writing! :P

I don't know if anyone other than my editor actually reads my column.  Well, that's not exactly true.  I did one on a local garage that did work on my car, and the next time I visited the owner said didn't see it.  Then he pointed to his wall, where he had cut out the column and hung it up.

Then I wrote another one on a local bully, and their neighbor put a note on my mailbox the next day wanting to talk. LOL.

I recently mentioned a local lady who then sent me a lovely Christmas card and informed me she has been clipping my columns and saving them!  Talk about pressure.

I  had a severe anxiety attack when I started; figuring the locals would come down the road with torches and drive me out of town.  So I have to actually think before I type and more than once after I have hit the send button I think I ought to grab the editor for a retraction.

The last time that happened, I was too busy to get online the next day and obseessed about it all day.  When I checked my email the next day, I had two from my editor (who usually never acknowledges receipt of the column) and I was like, "oh crap!"

Then I discovered he had actually been through something quite similar and more or less concurred with me. I figured I would get some hate mail on that one, but so far so good.  Not even a nasty letter to the editor, but I am hoping my editor would give me a head's up if that was the case.  He is also fearless in not printing letters to the editor that are aggressive.

I have been really slack with my photography.  Both my cameras crapped out and I have to borrow the Willow's , which I don't like.  I did take a pic of my wreath mess (yes, it's that time of year again) but forgot to bring the camera upstairs to download it and resize it and then upload the photo.  Time is just going too fast for this old lady.

So I better wish everyone a happy holidays NOW while I am typing, becasue by the time I get upstairs and logged into blogger again it might be time for spring.

                                              

Friday, September 2, 2016

Happy September

Tree

Monday, May 16, 2016

Summer(?) Break

Welcome Home to the Firebird!  I picked him up from campus Friday.  His last final was Thursday afternoon.  The Firebird will be home for a week or two, and then plans to return to work on some engineering projects on campus.  One of them is associated with NASA, so we are both excited about that!

The Firebird is majoring in Mechanical Engineering.  He took four years of Russian in high school, so he is an good position to eventually get employment in the Air and Space industry.

The Willow has another month of high school.  I think she is pretty envious of her brother being out of classes!  His current priority is catching up on sleep!  On one hand I am glad he is so comfy at home that he can sleep the entire morning away, but another part of me wants to spend as much time with him as I can while he is here!

I pulled one of the Firebirds windows a few days before he came home to air out his room. I kept asking him last night if he wanted me to pin a blanket over the screen to reduce the wind tunnel effect, but he insisited he was fine.  The temps dropped into the 40's last night, so I guess the cold air doesn't bother him too much!  I am crouched by the woodstove as I type this, sitting on the ottoman with the laptop on the coffeetable.  The waterfall is still running over the dam, and we all like to have the windows open this tinme of year to hear the rushing water.  And all the spring bird song and frogs peeping in the vernal pools.

Today the main audio is the windchimes tinkling in the gusty wind-and the sound of the trees blowing in the wind. I swear I saw a few bits of sleet while doing morning chores. Brrr!  I can't wait for summer!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Moose berries

The Willow and I took a walk a couple of weeks ago and found this in the path:

Moose manure!

That's a full sized bic lighter next to the pile for size comparison.  Yes, now I have Moose cooties!

I was relieved to see that the pile wasn't exactly fresh.  I have seen moose on the loose and they are very very large animals!  They can be quite a hazard on the roads, because they are dark so if it's night you don't see them until it is too late.  And they are so tall that a car will go right under them and the body goes through the windshield crushing the driver.

The advice is to try and aim to the front or back or get down under the dashboard in that split second before impact.

If it's daytime, stop your car well away from the moose until they go on their way.  Don't honk at them, I have seen videos of moose battering cars during the rut, thinking the honking car was a challenge!  If I was not in a car and came upon one, I would look for the nearest tree to climb or hide behind!

We do have a moose in the area-a summer or two ago I thought an animal had dug a hole in my lettuce bed, and then realized it was a moose track!  The tracks are very far apart because they have such long legs.  The moose had come right up my driveway, cut through the garden, and crossed the lawn in front of the house.

I had white tailed deer track in the driveway two days ago.  And we have a red fox that I caught trying to have goose for breakfast!  This morning I heard a red tailed hawk call in the trees.  They like nice juicy robin nestlings for breakfast.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring 2016

Spring seems slow coming despite our relatively mild winter.

This time last year I think we still had snow on the ground, so I am not sure why I am complaining!

The Phoebes came back around their usual time, the beginning of April.  Apparently they did not find things to their liking, because they moved up the neighborhood until the last week or so.  Now they are back, nest building under the eaves.

The first summer I started building the house, they went right through the framing and built a nest on the top plate under the second floor joist!  They have returned every year since.  I know spring is finally here when I hear the pee-wee, or kiss-it, call of the phoebe.  I miss them when they move on.

We planted peas. I bought a pound of peas seed, and we have planted peas everywhere we can think of, and it does'nt look like we put a dent in that pound of seed!  Guess I got a bit carried away.  I paid $4.99 PLUS tax for that pound of seed.  I couldn't believe they tax food seed now.  This state is just getting too much.  We pay tax on newspapers now as well.

I have seen daffodils blooming here and there, but ours haven't opened yet.  The red maples are just starting to bloom, and the alders have put out their catkins.

We have had a big red fox harassing the geese.  He's made two grabs for them.  I have a pen to lock them in during the day, but when I let them out in the morning I let them splash in their big puddle and nibble some grass while I am tending the goats.  A couple Saturdays ago I let them out and then went back in the house to hang on the internet for awhile, and then I heard their distress call and the dog lept off the couch barking.  I looked out the window to see Mr. Fox running across the lawn, so I grabbed the cam and snuck out hoping to get a pic of him.

He skirted the treeline, unaware of me, circled around across the drive when I took a chance to creep closer with the Blazer between us blocking his line of sight-then he made another dash for the geese on the other side of the blazer!  I jumped out and he fled through the woods out back, so no pic but the geese are ok!

I say he when referring to the fox, it may be a she, but I suspect it's a big dog fox.  They both hunt for the kits, and it is possible there are hungry baby foxes nearby.  The foxes come yipping around the house at night-I step out and holler at them to move on, but they are not as skittish as the coyotes.  The neighbors must think I am nuts.  Still, I know I can be scary because if the cat is up to no good and I yell, "HEY!!!"  I scare the pants off the Willow on occasion.  LOL

We had a light rain last night and the sun is just coming out.  Things had been very dry with extremely high fire danger because things have not greened up much yet.  6 acres of Marsh burned down in Old Orchard beach last week.  The old grasses are very dry, and we had big winds to go along with it.

I think I will head outside for the rest of the afternoon  The biting insects will be out any day, and that makes playing in the garden a lot less fun.  In fact, it is a frequent sight in Maine spring to see folks in their gardens high stepping and waving fist fulls of seed around their heads.  It's called, "Doing the Black Fly."