Blue Moon

I’m either getting smarter, braver, or completely hopeless.

The local coyotes have been partying in the full moon, in the back pasture. We’re on about day 4 of the yipping and howling, and most of the animals are ignoring them now. Then, last night, everybody went nuts!

The alpacas were alerting, the dogs started barking, the ducks and chickens were rioting. Learning from past experience, I put my shoes on and grabbed Charlie’s big Maglite before heading out to check on things. Peanut took off toward the howling while I investigated the animal yard. With the arrival of backup (me and Peanut) the animals had calmed down, and there was nothing there that didn’t belong.

I could hear Peanut, in the distance, chasing off the coyotes, and it sounded like they were running off. Then I realized I was hearing Peanut off in the distance, but I was hearing rustling to the right, in the pasture. I scanned with the flashlight, but didn’t see anything, so I had to trek around the fence to get closer to the pasture. Oh, great! Eyes.

I call to Peanut, and the eyes don’t move. She’s still off chasing the coyotes. As I move the flashlight, it picks up several sets of eyes. I make some loud noises, but the eyes stay put.

Coyotes here are pretty skittish. If you get close, they run off. I’ve had midnight run-ins with deer, but these eyes were much closer to the ground. There have been local reports of bears and mountain lions, so I can’t just go back inside and hope for the best.

My only choice is to head down the back path. During the day, this is a nice shady path, winding through trees and fern. In the middle of the night it turns into something from Sleepy Hollow. Especially knowing there are going to be eyes at the end of the path. Lots of eyes.

I debate heading back to the house and getting Charlie and his gun, but I have the big flashlight. I’m good. No headless horsemen jump out at me. Now I just have to find out what these eyes belong to.

I scan over the fence with the flashlight and pick up the eyes again. I also pick up a large black shape. Uh oh. Maybe I should have gotten Charlie. The grass is rustling, and I can hear Peanut’s tags clinking in the distance. Now I’m worried that she’s going to head back and take on this big bear. I continue to scan the pasture to make sure Peanut is safe and I come across another set of eyes. These eyes are attached to a large brown shape.

OK, this doesn’t make sense. I’ve never head of brown bears and black bears hanging out together. I move in a little closer and realize there are a dozen sets of eyes looking back at me.

Really? The neighbor’s cows have been moved into the back pasture! This happens for about 2 weeks each summer, as their main pastures regrow grass. The noises I’ve been hearing are these darn cows, laying around under the tree, chewing their cud.

I know the coyotes are no real threat to Peanut, and the cows are no threat to anybody.  I can pack it in and go back to bed. We have just a few more nights of the full moon. Then we can all sleep through the night again.