Thursday, 5 a.m.
The BEW Line is sounding the alarm like we're being attacked by ground based flying monkeys armed with sausages.
I figure it had to be sausages or else the dogs would never have woken up at that time of morning. They usually go off and wake the dead around 2 a.m. and have been back asleep well before 5. As it is, the Beastie Early Warning system wants everybody in the gorge to know that they, intrepid watch dogs that they are, have something cornered and will gladly bark at it until some one else gets there to deal with it.
I crawled up the sleep well to semi-consciousness and stepped out onto the loft bedroom deck and tried to make sense of the racket. I could hear the dogs clearly had something interesting in the water of Lake Steve...Lake Steve being maybe 20 feet across and three feet deep. As I listened, the rasping growl of a rather irritated racoon answered the dogs.
I tried to call them but they were having way too much fun to pay any attention to me, and after a groggy minute or two, I gave up and stumbled my shivering self back into the house and dove under the comforters before anything froze and fell off. The dogs kept the serenade at full volume.
Suddenly things changed. The barking rose an octave or two as did the decibel level and then there was a lot of splashing and yapping and then it stopped.
I sat up, listening...then heard a dog squeal and then nothing. I wonder if I had better get down there to see if the coon is drowning my dogs, but just as I'm about to leap, I hear them splash around and then take off through the woods, but I only hear one of them, so I lie there and worry a few seconds until I hear the other one, the little one, yap once and quit.
Then it's all quiet.
I can hear the dogs come slowly throught the woods back up the hill to the house and so I drift off to sleep.
In the morning, when I step outside for the first time, no dog bounces up to greet me. I call and call again. Then finally, the little white dog slowly walks up to me. He's covered with wet mud and bleeding from his head and ears. I don't think he feels like the victor. The other dog finally shows up and is about as ragged looking. They look at me, decide I don't have any treats and flop down right where they stood, a couple of whipped dogs who don't seem to have figured out how a raccoon that usually runs away in terror on dry land, managed to deliver a near death experience to them in 30 inches of water.
Lake Steve was green yesterday, as the first toads and salamanders entertained their girlfriends and carried on in the amphibian's equivalent of a singles bar. Today, it's a well whipped muddy mess.
But all was quiet the last few nights and the overconsumption of cat food seems to have ceased...For a little while, at least. On my hike this afternoon, I notice that the coyotes have marked their territory just a few yards away from the driveway. My firece protectors seem to be taking a break from guarding the estate.