Our romantic winter tranquility was shattered most grotesquely today.
Let me back up a little. Since arriving here at our little place next to the pond, occasionally we’ve seen deer coming down to drink in our creek or the pond. It’s become almost a game to see if we can catch them in the headlights when we come back from town in the evenings.
We’ve been fairly cold since the polar vortex. Of course, after -30, everything is relative. But we’ve had probably less than 5 days where the high has been above freezing in the last month. Combine that with about 4 inches of snow, and we’ve had a lovely white, nearly completely solid pond for about a week. There is one small corner that has refused to give in the temptation to solidify, and as such, we’ve had the cutest deer tracks across the pond to get to that corner to get a drink. It made me smile to see the zig zagging of tracks across the powdery snow.
It seems I wasn’t alone.
The first inkling that there was something amiss in the woods behind the house came one night last week when Alex had gone out to load more wood into the stove. He came back in, and told me there had been something following him on the other side of the fence. He was sure that it wasn’t the horse that sometimes hangs out on the hill, as there were none of the telltale equestrian noises. I told him it was probably the chupacabra, but he wasn’t able to laugh it off, it had truly made him feel uneasy.
A couple nights later, while we were in the garage loading wood (you’ll notice a theme to my life now), I heard what I thought sounded like howling/yipping, but when I opened the garage door, I couldn’t hear it. I thought maybe it had just been a sound from the stove and continued with business. Then last night, whilst I was in the throes of an Ambien induced trance (hooray for Zolpidem! I had been out, and suffering for it too), Alex said that he was sure there were coyotes were throwing a party outside the house (however, this was not information I learned until later).
I’m sure you can see where this is headed.
Today was the first warm day we’ve had in some time. We got to nearly 60, and so we let Wiley out to play. After running around the property, she wouldn’t come in from near the creek. So I walked over to corral her back in. As I get closer to her, I see a couple of tufts of hair on the ground. That’s odd, I thought. I got to her and she was standing over a small strip of deer hide (more like preparing to roll in it). And that’s when I saw it. The hind legs of one of our little deer laying unmoving in the rushing water of the creek. I moved my vantage point, expecting to see the rest of the deer, and THERE WAS NO REST. It was only the back end of the deer, up to the rib cage, which was partially exposed. My heart just bled for that poor little deer.
But now we have to figure out just how big a coyote problem we have. Could just one have taken down a deer? Are they pack hunting? Does this mean forever that we’ll have to take the dog out on a leash at night (of course the real issue)? How much crow do I need to eat after having dinner at Coyote Kitchen, and I, with all the western superiority I could muster, smugly wondered aloud if they’d ever even seen coyotes?
After such a trauma, what on earth could make you feel better? Hmmmmm, maybe a trip to Mast was in order:
So after an afternoon of real American (imported from Mexico) bottled Coca-Cola, some mighty fine picking and singing, and an examination of local canned goods, I was feeling somewhat better. Until we pulled into the driveway, and there were the two remaining deer, also looking for the rest of that poor little animal.
I’ve always avoided watching nature shows because they are always so cruel. One thing I didn’t think about in moving to a rural area is that we would be living in one. Ah well, I’ll do my best to tuck my heart ache away, and get on with life. I have to, the stove needs wood.
One last thing: GO CATS!!!!!