John Cawley
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Dedicated to My Wife & Times - A Site for Sore Eyes

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Frames of Time...

092_04 - The Old Toll Pack.
This is a photo of Anubis, one of the old toll pack.

Living in the mountains, our neighbors tend to be a bit wild. Over the years we have been graced with a variety of coyote families. We supplement their hunts with handouts. Luckily we have a patio deck that allows us to drop food far from the house so they never need to get very close to us or our kids. Occasionally, one will get a bit bolder. Anubis is one of the bold.

Though we see regulars, the actual populations change as the years go by. We have seen the pregnant bitches. We have heard their pups in nearby dens. We have seen the young grow and challenge other adults. We have seen familiar faces and actions disappear. Some shifting is due to environment. When we had the fires, a family that had been with us for several years left. Similarly, when loggers began removing the dead trees, the familiar faces were gone.

Those who hang around long enough, become smarter. Knowing that we feed morning and evening, we will sometimes note them beginning to gather at dawn and dusk. Some will actually find a spot on the hillside that allows them to look into the kitchen window to see if we are preparing food. Some recognize our voices and will begin to assemble below the deck in hopes of getting the 'best stuff'.

One became so familiar (friendly?) that he would shadow me as I walked up and down the stairs loading or unloading. He would would walk around ten feet behind me, and ten feet to the side of the railing. His pace would match mine exactly. If he was there when the unloading was groceries, I might toss a hot dog to him. When I would leave in the morning, he would shadow me up the stairs and watch me go to my vehicle. If I got in and started the engine, he simply turned and walked back down towards the house. Some, like Anubis, became 'used' to us. We could sit on the steps and they would come quite close to us. Their eyes are full of desire, curiousity and fear.

Perhaps because we aid in their diet with fat and meats they have beautiful coats. People who visit and are lucky enough to see them always comment about the variety of shadings and the shine of the coats. They truly do not look like the stereotyped ratty looking coyote.

In payment for our kindness, the coyotes will serenade us in the evenings. Sometimes for very long periods. These operas can be pleasant, haunting and, at times, long and loud, disrupting a night's sleep. Oh, and as Rachel reminds me, the sight of coyotes means we do not have any bears around. We've had bears... and prefer coyotes.

So I gladly put up with the occasional night of disturbed sleep. The old toll pack is wonderful to see. Their company brings a warmth and closeness to nature. If only all neighbors were so pleasant.

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