Replanting Starts and Coyote II

This morning before breakfast, I coiled up an old battered hose from the yard, gathered the heavy-duty rake,  and headed for the burn scar to find the first place to start the replanting with the ten pounds of lovely, wonderful seed from Native American Seed Co.   that arrived yesterday while I was in the city.   We’d scouted the area yesterday evening and I thought we could use the old holey, kinked, and otherwise worn out hoses to mark out small “easy to do in less than an hour” planting plots.  I hung the coiled hose on one shoulder (at first–crossbody worked better) balanced the rake on the same shoulder (not for long) and set off.  Also had a light daypack on with my good camera my Leatherman in it, as jeans pockets were otherwise occupied.  Made it up there, chose an area with fewer green sprouts than the rest and no dicot sprouts, and laid the hose out, left the rake on the nearby pile of unused but still worthwhile fence posts, and went on from there.  Later, Richard went out with a cup of the seed in an old sherbet container and a second hose to mark another plot, planning to rake up the soil inside the first hose, scatter the seed, and then rake it crosswise and stamp on it some to firm it a little.  Then go on the perimeter walk.

In the meanwhile though, he was back at the home place picking up manure, then putting some of it in a cart to haul up to the burn scar and scatter, and then on the way back pick up some rocks from a rock pile to put on the causeway (outlet of the eastern drainage system from our land at the south fence.)  In the meantime for me, I walked the north trail, then down to Fox Pavilion, refilled that wildlife waterer, back to the north fence, down it, then south along the creek woods edge to the entrance meadow, by which time it was much warmer and I sat down in the shade on a low branch of  juniper for a few minutes.  The breeze was blowing toward me from outside

I was getting ready to leave when I heard a scuffling noise in the bushes just outside the entrance meadow, and then saw a moving shadow out there, and then…on the trail into the meadow came a coyote, smaller than the previous one, seen on the North Fence Trail.  It was quite calm trotting confidently along,  not looking around, just where it was going…which was toward me.   I sat very still as it came around the end of the branch I was sitting on and aimed itself at (clearly) going on the clear ground under the next branch over.   As it came toward me on a near-tangent path, I realized it was going to scent me: it had been upwind of me, when outside, but it was going to pass me downwind.  Sure enough, a moment or two later, it put on an excellent “I’m not here, you don’t see me, maybe you’re asleep I hope and if I just keep going….”  So it kept going (it was close enough I could see the initial stiffening, the control of the panic reaction, and the slightly faster tempo of the trot as it passed and then went on out of sight as it entered the creek woods proper, northwest of me.

What a privilege to see a coyote that close, apparently completely unaware until it scented me!   By the time I realized what it was, I knew if I moved to swing the camera around and try to take a picture it would be too late; by being still, I got to watch it longer and more closely.

When I was sure it was well out of range, I got up and moved on to the inside trail down through the woods.  No monarchs in the frostweed yet, but the voices of winter birds here and there.  Then back by the south trail, where–as I came to the causeway–I met R with the rocks.  A good *long* walk around with a good wildlife story as well.  We spotted some monarchs in a patch of Maximilian Sunflower but as soon as I picked up the camera, the wind picked up and they were gone.


6 thoughts on “Replanting Starts and Coyote II

  1. Something I didn’t mention yesterday (feelings, etc) was that yesterday was the 31st anniversary of my mother’s death, October 5, 1990. And seeing the coyote was like a gift. She is the person who sparked my interest in nature, and though she didn’t live to see us have the chance to buy the 80 acres, she would’ve been delighted. She drove me out in the brush country on little back roads; we’d stop to look at rocks or plants or critters (once had an inquisitive roadrunner come sit on the car and peer at us through the windshield. Every spring we drove 70+ miles up to see the Heart’s Delight (a specific wildflower endemic to the sand hills blown in from the Gulf beaches) and other wildflowers. Every summer at least once we’d drive up to the Hill Country west of San Antonio, to the clear springs and rock-bottom rivers she’d been brought to as a child when she had malaria. She is not the only influence on my love of land, landscapes, weather, and all natural things, but she is the one who started me on that road.

    That coyote, the one I saw yesterday, felt linked to her in some way that the other one, the one loping up the trail toward me, didn’t. Smaller, a little leaner but not scrawny, in good coat, there was the sense of “you don’t see me, but I know you’re there.” Undoubtedly awareness of the day affected my feeling for that coyote.

  2. And today, Wednesday, I planted some seeds, after laying out another old hose outline to work in. Then some more under the burnt undergrowth. For the space inside the hose (an irregular sort of oblong) I raked “empty” patches one way, lightly dropped some seed on them, and then raked them across the previous “furrows” and then, when I’d done all, walked on them to provide soil contact for the seeds.

    Meanwhile–and NOT there the previous day because we were looking for them–I saw the first bluebonnet cotyledons. Not many, but some. Some of the hottest burn was in the dry woods/east grass corner, which had–since we moved here–consistently produced a good cover of bluebonnets even in dryer years.

    Another recovery sign: on at least one oak we looked at closely yesterday, the brown leaves were depressing…but the end twigs from which leaves had already fallen had tiny swollen buds along them. “Aten’t dead yet!!!” said that tree. Another had green, damp under the bark (that one was a hackberry, and yet another was a soapberry.)

    We could use more rain, the constant comment on weather in Texas since I was a kid.

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