Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wildlife Stories



This is the view I have when I look out my kitchen or bedroom window, looking almost directly north. We get some pretty spectacular cloud formations where I live, and storms rush down the valley which winds its way at the bottom of those hills. The farm you see is perched on top of a huge hill that has many sandstone outcroppings. In amongst those stones is the den of a family of coyotes. During winter they are much easier to spot - they show up against the snow, but during this time of year, they are much easier to hear. Every night around 10:00, they yelp and howl, and set all the dogs in the area also howling. It is fun to listen to coyotes in the late spring as they teach their pups to sing the coyote songs. The pups' voices are much higher and they can't howl as long at a time as the adults. There have been many nights when it sounds like they are in the trees right behind our house!

A couple of nights ago, as I was about to go out for a walk, our neighbor called. In that valley at the bottom of those hills is a creek, and sometimes creatures find their way from the mountains into that valley. She called to tell us that she had to put her horses in the barn and dogs in the kennel as they were all going crazy. Now, dogs will go crazy over coyotes, but not horses. Horses ignore coyotes as they pose no threat to them. What will put a horse into a frenzy is a cougar. Over the 12 years we have been here, we know of at least twice where cougars have found their way down from the mountains and into that valley. So, I decided to stay inside, and we put our dogs in their kennel as well. 

Sometimes being close to wildlife is REALLY exciting! :-)

13 comments:

Kim said...

Oh wow. I wish I could be there for that excitement. No, wait, maybe not. I just had some "wildlife" (read spider)in my living room, and that was lots for me. I love the cloud picture. Alberta has some of the biggest, most blue, most beautiful skies. Sigh. I love the prairies. I get so lost in their vastness and quiet curiosities...

Joanne said...

Hi Kim,

You are very quick - I had hardly finished this post before your comment came! :-) I saw your blog picture of the Wolf Spider - they are HUGE!!!! and SCARY!!!! and very hairy!!!! and 4 eyes... who would ever have thought that a spider would need 4 eyes?

Yes - the prairies are beautiful. There is so much diversity and here in the Calgary area, the weather is such an adventure - changing in minutes! The 30 degrees you are "suffering" in Mexico sounds so good to me - my walk today was in 5 degrees. It is cool, but spring is on its way.

With the possibility of a large cat in the area, I was concerned about Farley and his ladies, but he was at the feeder today, so he is okay. Haven't seen his hens, but I am hoping they too are safe.

Kim said...

I'm your most loving and loyal fan...

Jelaine Faunce said...

Wow. What an incredible and inspiring view.

Joanne said...

Thanks for your visit, Jelaine. Yes - I am so blessed with the area I live in. Every window of my house has a view, I can walk on a hiking trail that goes around our area, or on the road - all in the country. I have 3 different cities within 15 - 25 minutes, And then the mountains are just a short 45 minute drive away. Inspiration all around me, and a husband who supports my attempts at creativity! What more could an artist ask for???

Frank Gardner said...

Wow! Wow again. That is a great view. And a great story to go with it.
Thanks

Joanne said...

Hi Frank,
I LOVE your reaction to the view I have... but of course, you have a different kind of beauty where you are, and the warm weather! What kind of wildlife do you have to endure where you are? Do you need to check shoes for spiders or other stinging creatures before you put them on in the in the mornings? Thanks for coming by, Frank. I appreciate your visits!

Frank Gardner said...

Joanne, I used to see a LOT of scorpions, but we have been in this house for 12 years and have only seen one. I used to see a few every night in my bedroom. Kind of got a sixth sense about it and knew when one was around.
There are a lot of black widows and I have heard of brown recluse to be around, but never seen one. You want to see them, that way avoid them.
Snakes, like rattlers and a few others, but in all my years running around, I have never come across anything deadly.
Then there are other critters like coyote. They get sheep once in a while.
Not the kind of thing that would want to chase me down and eat me.
I guess everything else is pretty peaceful.
and it has been warm. High 80's lately. very nice.

Joanne said...

Frank,
Snakes, black widows, brown recluse spiders, scorpions - they can all get in your HOUSE! I suppose one gets used to them after a while, but I am not sure if I would... As for the cougar, if I stay inside at night, there's no problem. (at least for me!) They leave the area pretty quickly too. I think they are just traveling through, looking for food. The gophers are out, and as you can imagine, that valley has lots of gophers to offer. The valley is a combination of ranch land and farming - mice, gophers, rabbits are pretty easy pickings. I am sure as soon as the cougar had a good meal, it moved on. They don't like civilization and people - they are actually very shy cats. Anyway, all is calm now - dogs and horses are relaxed, so we know all is well. It's been great talking with you. See you again soon!

Don Gray said...

Lovely photo of your beautiful part of the world. We are enjoying the peacefulness of being back in rural Oregon, but sometimes miss being closer to cities. Sounds like you have the best of both worlds.

Joanne said...

Hi Don,
Oregon is one of my most favorite parts of the U.S. We had a couple of fabulous holidays where we drove to Portland, and then out to the coast - Eugene, Florence, Haceta Lighthouse, the sand dunes... all such wonderful memories. As we drove there, we passed through rural Oregon, and I thought of how easy it would be to live there. You are indeed blessed. But I do know what you mean by missing the closeness to cities - there is a convenience in being close, especially when it comes to acquiring art supplies or technology. I do believe that I have been so spoiled with the best of both worlds. However, we wonder how much longer we will enjoy this, as the city of Calgary is getting close enough to soon swallow up our area in annexation. Guess it will be time to re-think life at that point. :-) Thanks for your visit.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Wow on the cloud formation and the cougars threatening the horses.

Joanne said...

Hi Mary,
Some of the cloud formations here are spectacular. Part of the reason is that we have so few trees (compared to other parts of Canada) that we see wide open expanses of sky, and can actually view the clouds in their entirety. It is a wonderful place to live, and truly not often dangerous. We have no threat from earthquakes, hurricanes, only the occasional tornado, and most wildlife is benign. Thanks for your visit!