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Coyote call

Lead Summary

HCP columnist

We had gathered the last of the garden crops and I had envelopes of seeds stashed safely away waiting for next spring.

Greg hitched the discs up to the old grey Ford and ran across the soft garden ground several times. The ground broke easily, as the remaining stalks and vines were cut into small pieces.

Then he poured the last of our winter wheat seeds into the old seed drill. It seemed to take him less time to run the drill across the garden than it did to hook it up to the tractor, but he did not complain and I was proud of the tidy furrows of wheat seed that ran from the creek side of the garden to the woods.

I felt content. The garden was put to bed for the winter.

The evening was cool and it was good to get back up to the cabin. We wondered if we should light a fire in the wood stove. This is that between time of year, when we feel the fall weather's chill but hesitate to light a fire for fear of roasting ourselves out of the loft as we sleep at night.

We decided to hold off on the fire and I put on a flannel shirt instead. The aroma of my cedar stored shirt surrounded me as I lit a few candles. I knew that the candles' simple heat, combined with the warmth of cooking chicken tortilla soup for dinner, would soon have the cabin feeling quite comfortable. No doubt, the warmth from my habanera peppered soup would help as well.

I actually began to feel hot and I took off my flannel shirt before I washed the dinner dishes. The temperature inside the cabin was by then a toasty 72 degrees. Outside, it was dropping well into the 40s.

Dishes done, I went outside to lock up the chickens. Greg settled into his rocking chair to read. I did not plan to linger outside, and so I did not put my flannel shirt back on. One of the dogs, my dog, came with me. The other dog, Greg's dog, stayed by his chair in the cabin.

I locked the chickens safely inside their coop and returned across the yard to the cabin. There was not a star in the sky. As I climbed the front steps, my dog by my side, I heard the bay of coyotes far down the creek.

We turned in unison, my dog and I, and sat down on the top step. My dog leaned into me. I felt her warmth through my thin shirt. We simply sat and listened, as the coyote calls grew steadily closer.

It sounded as though there must have been 50 or more coyotes making their way up the creek, though I know that there were most likely only a few.

As I watched the darkening sky, I noticed that the evening trees had turned from bushy silhouettes into craggily branched fingers that etched their mark across the night. I realized, too, that many leaves must have fallen during the day.

We sat and listened as the coyote calls grew closer and then passed by just below the cabin. Their howling yelps echoed between the hillsides as I felt the chill evening begin to creep into my bones.

The warmth of the cabin at my back invited me inside. I stood up and called my dog to follow. I usually leave her outside to sit on the porch and watch the night sky until we go to bed, but this fall night I thought it best to bring her safely inside the cabin's warmth.

She hesitated as I called her in, but I think she understood. The coyotes were by now way up the creek, but the brightly lit cabin offered a welcome contrast to their lonely coyote call.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at

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