Friday, January 18, 2013

Winterberry Farm Wanderings

Kodi and I are visiting my parents for a few days at their Winterberry Farm in western Massachusetts. There is less snow here, but still enough to see a few animal tracks. The big coyote--based on the track patterns--still patrols the edge of the woods. Kodi notes its presence (as he has on previous visits). Each time we step out for a walk in the back forty, he goes a little farther down the hill or deeper into the woods. Yet, he is tentative. Here he is following the coyote track into the woods. He stops, sniffs the air, ears back, tail tucked way down, right paw a few inches off the ground. This is his "I'm not too keen on coyotes" posture.
We went no farther. The coyote track continued on downslope through the woods. Kodi turned, tail up,  and ran back toward the house to check for fallen suet under the bird feeders. Much safer territory. Later in the day he managed to follow the coyote track another 100 feet or so, but soon turned again, and trotted back toward the house. While Kodi was sniffing the coyote track, I peeled a small twig from one of several spicebushes in the woods and inhaled the spicy scent.

The snow has melted away from the small drainages in these woods, exposing a skunk cabbage here and there. The flower is still closed up tight against the cold, just waiting for the earliest days of spring to open its "hood."
The temperature hovered around 20 degrees Fahrenheit all day. Not too cold for a small, dark spider to crawl on top of the snow.
Tomorrow we'll set out again to wander the back woods and fields. Kodi wants to be outside here, even if it is just to check on overnight animal movements in the yard and mark the boundary where the coyote patrols. Kodi wants to be brave, but it's not his strong suit.

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