Miki and Race are with Debbie in Arizona, getting ready to compete today. So this morning I just had Mo'i and Lea to walk. When I went into our living room to get ready to take them out, I noticed that our outside patio light, which has a motion sensor on it, was already turned on. It takes a fairly large animal (dog sized) to make it turn on, so of course that got me to wondering what was out there.
Mo'i and Lea are our two oldest dogs, the least able to defend themselves. So I walked out first by myself, with a flashlight, to see if anything was still hanging about the yard. I shined the flashlight all around, and didn't see a thing. Whatever it was that tripped the light seemed to have hightailed out of there.
So I went back inside, leashed Mo'i and Lea, and we went for our usual morning walk. But when we got to the bottom of our driveway, I heard a couple of preliminary noises and then ... the unmistakable sound of a pack of coyotes howling. And these were close!
I had the flashlight with me, but wasn't using it. I fumbled for a moment and turned it on, aiming it at where the sound appeared to be coming from. Just to the left of the beam, three pairs of glowing eyes – a kind of greenish orange color, moving up-and-down as they howled. The three were about 150 feet (50 meters) away, alongside and outside the fence around our yard. They didn't act aggressively in any way – but neither were they shy.
We turned back toward the house, and the coyotes stopped howling. Mo'i and Lea seemed completely oblivious to all of this, acting just as they normally do, and paying no attention whatsoever to the racket the coyotes were making. What does this mean? I'm guessing it means that having coyotes about is no news to them, as they smell them all the time. But that's just a guess.
I hustled them both back inside, as I didn't hear the coyotes any more, and the glowing eyes had disappeared. Most likely they were headed away, but just to be on the safe side, I got the oblivious dogs back inside.
We see coyotes around our neighborhood on nearly a daily basis, so it's not particularly surprising that we saw them this morning. The bits that are unusual is to see them quite so close to our house, and to hear them howling from so close by – and most especially, to actually see them howling. We have a self-filling waterer in our back yard, and we have all sorts of wildlife that comes to it for water (especially at night), so my guess is that we have guest coyotes in our yard quite frequently, though we don't see them...
Friday, January 21, 2011
Through both work and play, I've dabbled in several kinds of engineering: software, electrical, mechanical, thermal, concrete, and audio. Probably a few more I'm forgetting at the moment, too. One thread (of many) that runs through all of them: one of the best (and most enjoyable) ways to learn about something is to play with it. By which I mean: to experiment, and actually try different approaches. In other words, to just fiddle around with it.