Emily-the-wolf’s family reunion

August 25, 2012

My mother walked out the lane to the flower beds this afternoon only to discover Emily*-the-wolf asleep on the deck halfway between the house and the road. Mom thought it was our dog Cagney and walked up to her and said hello. Emily woke up, stretched, yawned mightily, stepped off the deck and wandered across the field. I guess she appreciates shade and breeze as well as anyone else. Emily’s getting pretty tame in her old age and expects us to make way for her. She likes pears and visits the orchard regularly at this time of year.

In return she catches vast quantities of rodents and leaves the cat alone, so we tolerate her eccentricities.

* I just looked back at earlier posts about Emily and discovered that another creature had the same name: the first Emily was a grotesque cross between some Lupus strain and what was likely a bull terrier. She was no beauty, early Emily. She faded from the scene when the current Emily and her family moved onto the farm. New Emily had a very large, even tempered mate and they raised three pups in the 20 acre field below the house. One of these was Erin, the boldest/tamest who played games with my head all that fall.

BTW: I call this critter a wolf because she has a relatively short nose, white face, and large body. I bought a book on the eastern coyote and realized she looks nothing at all like the photos in that book. She’s the height of a medium-sized Labrador retriever, though she’s quite short in the body and wouldn’t weigh that much. Her mate two summers ago when she had a litter looked very much like a German shepherd, but both had (have) tails which hang down like a wolf’s. She has had the farm to herself for the last year, but that changed suddenly this week when her “pack” arrived.

Next morning a pair of “coyotes” came to the pear trees as soon as I came in with the dog from her morning walk. I’d seen the one with the black spot on his/her tail one time earlier; the black-tailed one was new to me. They look young and extremely light in body weight compared to Emily. Hyper-alert, they move in, grab a pear and retreat out of sight in the orchard, taking turns in the danger zone. In cross section their faces and limbs are thin like those of a deer, and they seem barely to touch the ground when they move. The black-tipped one spotted a mouse while selecting a pear from the ground and in a blinding series of motions the mouse was a meal which concluded with the “coyote” sitting down while he/she chewed. This creature makes small movements so quickly I can’t follow them. It’s just a blur.

Another update:

This morning Bet and I watched a wolf who might be Erin, the pup from two years ago which played catch with me in the orchard (I threw apples at her from the lawn mower and she caught them), relax in the field with a smaller “coyote” with her. Maybe the small ones are her pups. Haven’t seen her in over a year, but she seems to have come back for the pears.

A bit about the orchard: There are a dozen trees in three rows on the gentle slope away from the south side of the house. The first row is about thirty feet from the elevated rear deck. At the centre are two pear trees, bearing the only fruit this year during the drought. The wild apple crop has failed this year as well, so there’s a good chance we’ll get to meet all of the local wolves and coyotes over the next couple of weeks until they have the fruit picked up.

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