an Adirondack coyote experience for Neville
Friday, June 9 2023
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
I was awake before 6:00am, so I walked down to the lake in hopes of seeing unusual morning wildlife. I didn't see anything in that department, but the thin scrim of fog over the lake was something I haven't seen before, except possibly in winter.
Today was a workday, though, to the extent I did it at all, I did it from the cabin in amongst activities that were more typical of a Saturday. I made myself coffee and a bagel (from the Honest Weight Food Co-op) with a spread of vegan cream cheese containing chives. Then Gretchen and I spent some time collaborating on the solving of the day's New York Times Spelling Bee. I was also very interested in the latest developments in the indictment of Donald Trump for his gross mishandling of classified documents. It's looking like that fucker may actually end up in prison. Gretchen wondered what it would be like for the Secret Service to gaurd him in such an environment. I told her they would work normal eight hour shifts just like they probably do now, except they'd have to go into a prison to do them, much like she did when she worked for Bard Prison Initiative (and other subsequent prison teaching jobs).
Gretchen had bought more plants than we had pots to put them in, so she and I decided we just start a proper garden, the kind that puts plants in the ground instead of in pots. This would place them at risk of being eaten by deer, but the population density of deer tends to be low in heavily forested places like this one, and it's lower still in the Adirondacks. Furthermore, the deer tend to only browse on the edges of our building site, the only places I've seen nibbled-off sweet clover. I also think that all that sweet clover is at least as attractive to them as any vegetable we'd plant in a garden. Finally, we decided to site our garden directly in front of the cabin, where it is surrounded by a picnic table and two different sets of steps. Deer don't like to enter into partially-surrounded areas, especially places that stink of dog and human piss. We cleared the area where the tiny garden would go, and as part of that Gretchen wanted to process some uncut firewood that has been in an unsightly jumble in front of our cabin in various forms for nearly two years. She wanted to actually cut it up herself, so I gave her a crash course in using the little Ryobi 18 volt chainsaw. It's pretty weak in comparison to most chainsaws (I derided it as being a "toy"), but it's a lot better than a bow saw, which was how I processed wood when I was a kid. Gretchen soon got the hang of the saw and how to position wood so as to avoid pinching or sawing into the soil (which would be bad, since around the cabin it is highly abrasive sand).
After Gretchen quit cutting the stuff in front of the house, I went out and cut up most of the white ash that nearly fell on our propane tank back in the Fall. That took some time with the Ryobi chainsaw. After that, I split it all with a maul, a process that only took a few minutes. This produced so much wood that it more than filled our indoor wood rack, depleted though it's been by a series of chilly springtime weekends. So I suggested we begin piling the rest in front of the propane tank as a way to eventually conceal it. That ended up working pretty well, which was what I expected but came as pleasant surprise to Gretchen.
This evening while I was drinking my enormous abbey ale, I head a coyote howl-barking near the house. The dogs heard it too and went running out through the cabin's pet door. Gretchen and I followed behind them out around to the north of the cabin, and Neville ran down to where the coyote's last noises had come from. I think he or she could hear us and went silent at that point, but Neville continued barking. Later, I heard the coyote howl-barking west of the cabin, so I went out in the twilight with Ramona and stood at the top of the Lookout Rocks (they get their name from a Guided by Voices song, though once the leaves come out there's not much to see). I could hear the coyote and Neville down the hill about 150 feet away. The coyote's howl-barking was very loud, whereas Neville's barking was fairly muted (since it's quiet to begin with). Interestingly, Neville and coyote barked at each other for a long time without moving much. It was as if the coyote had called Neville out to play and he was too nervous to engage. Eventually, though, they moved down the hill westward away from the cabin. I followed for a time and then eventually called for Neville, since I was worried the coyote might be exhausting him by lingering just within chasing range. But by then the twilight had dwindled away to such murkiness that I needed to head back to cabin to avoid doing so in complete darkness. Ramona, who had been whimpering with excitement the whole time, came with me.
Eventually Neville returned to somewhere southwest of the cabin, where he continued barking for a long time (we no longer heard anything from the coyote). But eventually he gave up and came back into the cabin. Gretchen noted that he seemed sore from all the exercise the coyote had forced him to do.
The dock and lake at around 6:00am this morning. Note the mist over the water.
Click to enlarge.
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