Saturday, September 25, 2010

Snotty Coyotes

Coyotes, the Beastie Boys of the neighborhood, have an in-your-face way of letting you know you're on their turf and don't forget it.  They leave scat in the middle of a well-worn pathway so you can't miss it, or in the driveway close to the house just to reinforce the fact that they own the night.  I can hear Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, "Listen to the singing of the Children of the Night!," as the pack runs the hills under the full moon.  The grapes must be close to harvest time, as the scat is full of grape seeds and skins now.  It makes me smile to think of these killers daintily selecting grapes from the vines...along the lines of "real men don't eat quiche."  I wonder if they're selective about varietals and vintages.  The vintners use all sorts of sophisticated equipment to tell when the grapes are at their peak...all they really need to do is look at the ground.  Down in the south pasture, there is an outcropping of granite rocks (hence Gray Rock Road), and one has a depression that speaks of long-gone generations of probably Miwok Indians who used it as a grinding stone for acorns.  The coyotes have an unerring ability to hit that mark to leave a calling card.  Back in the day when Steve and I would hike in the mountains, I would find scat on high rocks in unlikely places.  In addition to marking their territory, they evidently like a potty with a view.

The full moon rises behind the hill to the east, silhouetting the pines on the crest.  The sight stops me in my tracks every time.  One can literally read a newspaper by the light of the moon, and should I open my eyes at three, it's easy to think I've slept late and it's already dawn.  The vulture migration always comes around the week of the nineteenth of September...I'll have to go back to old calendars to see if that correlates with the full moon.  Since the buzzards gather in the late afternoon, do they travel by night?


Kathryn said... brother, Duncan, who runs Fallbrook Winery (and used to work for Shenandoah in Plymouth) stopped by this morn on his way to work because local growers pick on the weekends and he has to go "accept" their now-ripe grapes. My dad said, "I learned how you can tell if the grapes are ready to harvest," and he proceeded to tell him about coyote scat, and Duncan said that the birds will also tell them about 2 weeks before harvest time. Now, mind you, I had not read the blog, and when I started to read I thought, "Gosh, what a coincidence - Bo and my dad know the same.....well I'll be damned - DAD is QUOTING BO to another grape expert!!" Just struck me as funny because I had JUST heard about the wino-coyotes and here I was reading about them in the blog. Reminds me of the gal on Jeopardy the other night. She said that when she was a kid, her dad would ask people over to watch Jeopardy and he would impress them with this knowledge. What they didn't know was that at their house they could see it on 2 different channels - one at 7 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m. Obviously they were invited to the later showing...just as I was the second string to read the blog this morn! Nice twist!

Bo said...

I am roaring with laughter as I read your comment, Kathryn. That is just too, too funny! I am honored to be quoted, but wouldn't you know it would be about poop! I hope Duncan was suitably impressed by Dad's erudite opinion on the subject. Prophecy by bird poop is old hat! (With apologies to Duncan.)