New neighbor??

Last night, around 9:30, I heard the beginning of a coyote howl. I only heard the beginning because the dogs, who had been sleeping inside, immediately blew a gasket barking their heads off. Then both kitties shot through the cat door like reverse torpedos.

Normally coyotes aren’t too big of a deal here. We have woods on one side and a 10 acre mixed pasture/woodlot/orchard/stead on another. And most of our little housing “development” is surrounded by berry farms and woods, with the river not far away. So we hear coyotes often.

But this coyote sounded like it was literally at the back gate, in the neighbor’s orchard! Just one, so maybe it was a “teenager” looking for it’s own turf. It howled again, from the same area, a couple hours later. This time the dogs got let out to run around like idiots, and hopefully establish that coyotes are not on the VIP list. Some of our neighbors, the old-timers, talk about bounties for killing coyotes not too long ago. And people trapped, shot and/or poisoned them as a matter of course, because they raid anything edible – coops, gardens, pet food, even small pets.

I enjoy having some of the original inhabitants around, but this visit definitely put us on notice that we’ve been lucky so far with predatory varmints. In Eastern WA, most of them were not so shy about helping themselves to a hen or three. I think the abundant cottontail rabbits, moles, voles, and other snack-sized wild critters, keeps the pressure off, but we’re still part of the food chain. Or at least the cats & chickies are….

In other news –

–It’s week #2 of the Library2.0 event at work. I added a news feed to the blog. It’s from Energy Bulletin, a great hub for information about peak oil, climate change, sustainable living and more. I also did some research into news aggregates like Bloglines which take all the news feeds, blog updates, and even some Yahoo groups and put them together on one page. It’s like having a customized online news site. Here’s the one I put together today – Seven Trees News I won’t add it to the blog, since it would take up a lot of space, but it’s a really cool service if you’re a news junkie.

–Stella & Bob have cooled things off a bit. Still pals, but no more romance until around the 20th. Bob has a very hearty appetite for a guy who lounges around most of his shift!

–The garden is going gangbusters! I dehydrated a pile of kale & beet greens and they came out like little crispy flakes. I found a recipe that called for sprinkling the fresh leaves with herbed oil before drying them. They are supposed to make tasty snacks that wy. Based on how good they taste just plain, I think it’s worth a try.

–We’ve booked a train trip to the decadent southlands of Seattle. Amtrak can get us there & back the same day, with plenty of time to play tourist in our former hometown. Elysian Brewery, here we come!

Which leads us to the brew corner –

We just started another 5 gallon batch of extra pale ale, a wonderfully hoppy version from Northern Brewer. It should be drinkable in about a month.

And here is our cream ale “A light, clean fermenting ale modeled after the “cream lagers” of the northeast United States. Low in gravity, long on flavor, this beer is a pale thirst-quencher, great for brewing and enjoying in the summertime. Dingemans Biscuit Malt gives our Cream Ale a warm, toasty flavor that complements the light hopping.”

And the experimental “Oatmilk Stout” a sweet stout recipe with added oats. The sweetness comes from milk sugar (lactose), and the oats add a silky smooth body. It came out a tad more bitter than I thought, but that may be due to operator error. We’ll have to keep experimenting!

And a gratuitous critter shot. Stew and his corgi, looking like wet noodles.

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