Monday, March 8, 2010

Coyotes, Thorns, and Geese

When we watched the flock of geese circling overhead we knew they were looking for a place to rest for the night. They chose the field across the tree line from our camp sight, and I quickly forgot about them after they disappeared out of sight. Near midnight, shortly after I bedded down for the night, the coyotes came out. I had forgotten about the coyotes that live around that camp sight, a section of farm west of Leavenworth, Kansas, that is being converted into a Boy Scout reserve. The coyotes never come into camp, so they are not a worry. It’s really too bad that the geese couldn’t say the same thing. The braying and howling that signals the arrival of the coyotes was joined by the squawking and flapping of startled geese and the death cries of the few that didn’t make it to safety. It was an odd sound by which to fall asleep.

This particular farm is home to a flock of chickens, chickens that rarely succumb to the coyotes because of Duke. Duke is a very friendly and quite protective Chow that lives on the farm and understands that a large crowd of Boy Scouts means good eating. Not the boys, but their food that they willingly share. When Duke isn’t dismantling the outside of the farmer’s house in order to get inside on a cold winter’s night, he’s visiting all of the camp sites for a sampling of vittles. He’s eaten through things that are normally only digested by sharks and alligators. Duke does an admirable job of keeping the coyotes at bay. This means that the rooster that leads the flock of chickens is free to announce his presence all day. All damn day long. I had forgotten how much I hate roosters until I had to listen to that cock all day yesterday and most of this morning. It occurred to me that roosters really are some stupid birds. They make so much racket announcing their presence I’m surprised that the pack of coyotes hasn’t dispatched ol’ Duke just to get to the birds. Roughly translated, that rooster was saying,

“FREEEEEEEESH Chicken! Get your fresh chicken he-yah! Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh chicken! We got your freeeesh chicken hey-yah! Got some eggs for you smaller critters, too! Get ya fresh chicken he-yah!”

You’d think that a bird as defenseless as a chicken is would learn to keep its yap shut, but I guess that isn’t so.

The only other significant event for our campout this past weekend was my opportunity to make personal acquaintance with the thorns of a Honey Locust Tree. The Honey Locust makes great firewood. Unfortunately, in order to burn it you have to get past these,

some rather large and painful thorns that grow on the trunk and lower branches. The spines are quite sturdy, and can be used to make fishing hooks, sewing needles, etc. They really hurt when they are imbedded underneath the skin on your finger.


The new Boy Scouts who crossed over from their Cub Scout Webelos den last Tuesday night had a great time on their first Boy Scout camp-out.  Every one enjoyed themselves. 
Except the geese.


Teacher Mommy said...

You? Funny. Thank you. Me? Tired. And I can't even blame a rooster.

Michelle said...

Those thorns look awful!! I probably would have them stuck outta my arm or something like that!

I have to agree with the rooster thing. That would drive me crazy.

We have coyotes here on base too. I was really surprised to see one so close to our house, I'd thought that they steered away from us-of course, it may have been passing through town, y'know?

Khourt said...

Im anxiously awaiting the time until I can have some cub scouts of my own! Sounds like such fun :)

Papa Bear said...

Another well-told story. I feel like I was there. Makes me think about starting a series of occasional posts, "Real Stories of the Civil Air Patrol."

TheRextras said...

Chuckling here but not loud enough to draw wild dogs. Yes. A very good story, Arby. I lived in Leavenworth once; quite a while back.


Holly said...

This post made me laugh-the comment about the pack of cub scouts being good eating & the talk about roosters. We have a rooster, so I totally agree with you on how "absent of brain" they are. Holly