tenaya: (varmits)
[personal profile] tenaya
First off, let me say everybody is okay. Oh wait! That's a real life 'fic warning!'

A week ago, life was really active in the courtyard. Momma coon was by, and then some other adult coons were by (possibly a previous year's litter since she cussed at them but didn't chase them off. She just wanted them to maintain their distance.) It was pretty funny to see two adult raccoons eating hurriedly from the kibble trays while keeping a nervous eye on the other raccoon...all the while these tiny skunks were at each of the trays stomping with great imperiousness trying to drive off creatures 30 times their size. The coons totally ignored them even though they were just inches away.

And then I heard a screaming skunk. They are like very noisy parrots when they get going, and they scream at each other over the least little thing, like who has the bigger kibble bowl. So, this skunk is yelling then suddenly it got just that little more piercing that made me look up. There's a sizable rosemary bush on the berm and it was shaking back and forth. Then my eyes made out that there was a coyote standing right at it looking down at the ruckus very consideringly. I jumped up and grabbed my new flashlight I got at the computer fair. It's a mag lite, heavy and shaped like a half sized baseball bat and very bright. I was going to just get a baseball bat, but this seemed like an even better idea. Anyway, skunks were fleeing in every direction but the one at the coyote's feet was frantically trying to get through the bush but it was too dense. The coyote saw me and fled. What is really strange is that none of the skunks spray, and if there was ever a time to spray, that was it. I guess he was too scared. I would have thought that it was automatic, but there you go.

The next day I took a look at the back fence and saw a place where the coyote had dug underneath it and I blocked it off with rocks and wood. Visitors were light the next night, but eventually everyone has come back.

Then, last night, between three and four, I looked up and saw a coyote running past the window kind of looking over his shoulder as he hustled off. Again, I grabbed the light and ran outside. There were about four or five big skunks in the courtyard all fuzzed up and stomping away at me, at each other. I had to walk slowly amongst them to give them time to disperse because while they'd usually run up the hillside, no one wanted to go that way this time and I don't blame them. We carefully passed each other and I climbed up the berm. I could hear the coyote running through the brush, then the clanging of the fence. I also notice a moderate skunk smell that dispersed fairly quickly. I really hope that means that the coyote got a good face full of spray this time. Maybe that will make him pass us up.

I also took a look at the fence and discovered no new holes. I think he is vaulting from the neighbors block wall and over our fence. The block wall is about four foot high and then he has about another four feet of chain link fence on top of that but on the inside of the wall, then another two feet of flimsy decorative garden fence. Our wrought iron fence is about six feet tall. I think it's an easy jump into the yard, and when he leaves, he leaps up grabbing the top of the wrought iron fence with his front paws and sticks his hind feet through the fence to get purchase on the block wall, then over he goes. I'm going to Lowe's tomorrow to buy fencing and wire.

Tonight, Momma coon has been by, as have a couple of other adult coons, and a whole truckload of skunks. No coyotes as yet. I don't think he's gotten anybody. I know they'd go for a raccoon but I'm not sure about a skunk. I do remember hearing owls will catch skunks because they don't have a sense of smell.

In other news Buddy is getting bolder with us, walking past us to go into the house, or meowing at us to get him some food. Still won't let us get within touching distance though. Tonight, I was pruning back some plants near the front porch, but had brought out a plate of food for him. He walked up on to the porch and was an inch away from the plate when a movement in the garden caught his eye. In a flash he was on it and had a lizard in his mouth. Then he ran off under to a bush to finish his meal. Brindle kinda frowned and took a good look where the prey had been caught, like he was looking for his lizard, the one he was entitled to. Obviously Buddy prefers a fast food meal to the canned stuff.

And the reason I was up last night at 3am was to see what I could see of the Vandenburg launch of a Minuteman missile. Right on schedule I saw a point of light about as bright as Venus when it's close. It was definitely flame colored and rose into the sky for a minute or two before it just blinked out. I understand they were aiming at an island that is part of the Marshall Island group, and it had three dummy warheads in it.
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March 2013

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