Shake Your Tail Feathers

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For the past few months I have been following the advice of the diabetic dietitian I formally was insured to see which is to walk at least one hour a day covering at least one mile in distance.. I don’t go to a gym, nor do I visit any circular monotonous track, because I have plenty of room to walk on my property. Hell, the walk from my front door to the main street where my mailbox is located is just shy of 1/4 mile, so I have plenty of places to walk. In preparation I did cut a pathway for myself through a section of my wooded area because it was going to be easier to go through it than around it. While on the topic of taking advice, I was told I needed to write more on my blog to get back into the swing of things by a good southern doctor friend of mine, she knows who she is and that’s what counts here. In the end, I do walk for over 1 1/2 hours each evening and now write more on my blog, if this can be called actual writing to y’all. I enjoy my walks because it is very peaceful, very relaxing, and doctors say it benifits my health. Bonus.

Over the last few weeks I have noticed that the water fowl down on the pond and surrounding it have been acting differently which means that they are either spooked or they have just moved on. I am pretty lucky because this pond always attracts some spectacular wildlife to observe. When I looked a bit closer at the overgrown side of the pond I found 2 different places that a predator had made a meal of a few of the young ducks. This didn’t surprise me as my property backs up to the woods, a creek, and a few thousand acres of absolute nothingness. There have been some small paw prints in the mud around the area so I know there are dogs running around. I never minded them because they stay well out of sight and down in the bottoms of my property. I have seen one out of what I expect to be 3 or 4 of these “wild” dogs. I have had to pop that one in the ass with a pellet gun twice because it was getting closer with curiosity and I don’t need that in my actual yard around my house or other buildings. So, we tolerate each others presence so to say.

Later in the afternoon yesterday I had company on my walk, my 17 y/o daughter wanted to talk to me alone. Without getting to much into the talk right here so we don’t get sidetracked let me just say it was about her boyfriend and some problems he is having financially. In the end I was asked if he could move in. When I am done here I will get into that father daughter talk. That being said, the company was a pleasant change to my normal routine. As she gets older she seems to need daddy less and less each day. So, we walked, talked, and enjoyed the peaceful trek. About 45 minutes into our walk we noticed an odd smell, the distinct smell of something dead. This is a smell, for those of the all who don’t know, that is unmistakable, and as we got closer to the source it became much stronger in the air. She tried to guess what it could be that had perished in the woods and then she began to worry me a bit because she asked “what if it is a dead body?” Where in the hell did that come from? However, one never knows what one will stumble across in the woods while on a walk. Putting on my best daddy face I assured her it was not a dead human body we were smelling and this I know for a fact. There is a distinctly different smell between a rotting circus of an animal and that of a human being. What can I say, I have been around the block once or twice. Just imagine learning some of life’s lessons which can not be taught by another person rather they must be learned by experiencing them. Enough said about that, we have a dead animal to find now. Why? Because if we don’t then other predators will come to investigate the smell of death and then I might have a problem I don’t really want on my hands. The plan was to find it, remove it, and get it in the burn pile before it sparks too much interest with the other wildlife.

We walked ahead maybe 20 yards or so and we found the source. I was actually surprised because I was non this part of the trail Sunday evening and this was not here. There was actually more surprise in my mind than just the fact that it was laid there dead. In all the years I have lived here, pushing 10 years now, I have only seen one other coyote and she was on the other side of the creek heading away from the backside of my property. In fact, that was right about 7 years ago so its not like it is a common sight. Oh sure, we hear them in the dead of the night in the far off distance but never see them or any of their activities. But here we have a dead juvenile coyote. I flipped it over looking for obvious injuries and see nothing. I actually expected to see a bullet wound which would mean it just wandered up here and died from its injuries. But there is no clear sign. I called a friend of mine who works with the state of Texas wildlife department to find out what I needed or could do. He told me to just wait and he would come check it out. After he arrived and checked it out it was determined to be a natural death. We loaded the coyote into the bed of his personal truck, said our goodbyes, and that was that. I was in a hurry now to get up to my shop because I had a bag of lye  which I wanted to spread out where the coyote had been to get rid of the smell. Once that was done I had to go shower to get cleaned up for the night. Something my daughter had already done.

I see now that I will have to keep an eye on my land down by the bottoms because I do not need the predator threat around here. I may need to start walking with more than just my stick from now on for sure. Later last night my daughter was on the phone with her boyfriend where I heard her tell him that we had talked and about how our walk turned into a gruesome discovery. I giggled to myself as I walked by because I thought it was it was great, personally, walking and talking with the daughter who seems to have outgrown her daddy.

Seeing What Isn’t There

I went out yesterday afternoon to the back of my property to get the memory cards out of my two trail cams that are back there. It was also a time for me to replace the batteries since they were going on being a month old. I usually grab the memory cards about once a week, but then it just depends on how much activity is going on back there. I have them set on on my path facing each other about 50 yards apart. There is one set just before the drop off to go down to the creek which faces the house and the other is up the path facing down towards the creek itself. The picture above is from the camera facing back up the trail towards my house. The light is actually on the corner of my shop. Now, as mentioned, I download all the pictures about once a week and then review what has been captured on film. I do this for two specific reasons in case you were wondering.

The first reason is because my property backs up to a creek and there is no fence back there. The easiest path up the bank and onto my property is to use the trail I cut through the trees. Since there is no fence I just like to know if people or coming up onto the property and perhaps find out why. Since it is about 3 1/2 acres of wooded land I get plenty of wildlife traveling through my property. Which is the second reason for the trail cams because I like to know what is moving and what is stalking what. I had an issue with a small group of wild hogs when I first built my house here. These days pretty much all I see is all the big deer and small critters moving around. Yes I am a hunter. No I don’t bait them in. I don’t hunt on my property. I could during bow season since I live out in the county but I never wanted to because I like having all the deer around. We like to watch them basically all year long. So, that is the background of why I have the cameras out. Usually I don’t get anything to special, usually I don’t find anything real alarming. But this picture was different, there is just something not right, and I needed to find out what it was. My son spotted it immediately, my daughter doesn’t see anything, my wife isn’t sure what she is seeing, which is exactly where I stand. I see it, but I can’t explain it.

 
Now, you are probably wondering what I am talking about so I will try to guide and explain it to you as best as I can. If you focus at pretty much dead center of the photo you will see the base of a tree. Still with me? Now look to the immediate left of that tree and what you see is blackness. In reality you I should be looking at the lights in the distance that run the circumference of my deck. But, what we can see in just the blackness of whatever is blocking that opening. Are y’all asking what could be blocking that opening yet? Me too. Where I live there are not too many options. So, let us explore that short list. It could be a tree limb. But when I went out the next day in the light there was nothing there. It could have been an extremely large deer, but there were no signs of a deer. It’s leaf litter on top of the grass so I didn’t see any tracks of any kind. There were no droppings of any kind either. The rest of the critters or animals around here are relatively small in their mass, animals like rabbits, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, and such. A wild pig would have been bigger, but still not big enough to fill in that void which is about four foot wide and seven foot tall, give or take some but not much.

As y’all can see, it really has me puzzled. I’m a firm believer that everything has an explanation and I think this is going to bug me before I can dismiss it. Plus, I don’t scare real easy but in the recent days I have made sure to have a flash light with me when I go down to the back. I think the most bizarre thing about this picture is what is missing. Usually, and by that I mean, there are usually many things visible in the pictures. In almost every image I have from back by the creek there are always things like eye glow from the critters or bugs flying that get caught in time by the flash. Neither are visible in this image. Where are all the critters and night life? Were they scared off by something? It’s really hard to understand. Hopefully I get an answer real soon because this will absolutely drive me nuts. In the mean time I have planted three more cross angle trail cams, so each trail cam has another trail cam focused on the same area just at a different angle. I’m not paranoid, I just want a secondary confirmation if anything like this happens again. Maybe it won’t happen again since this is the first time in over four years. If any of y’all figure it out or have a reasonable idea please don’t hesitate to pass that on to me. I won’t hold my breath tho, I know my property, along withs it’s ebb and flow, so I think this will all just be called a play in the lighting from the actual flash. But, since the trail cam is motion activated it still leaves me wondering what tripped it off into taking a picture.