Thursday, February 22, 2007

Change to the Schedule

There has been a change to the schedule. Eo just had her kids, a pair of little bucklings who look like bunny rabbits with buckskin jackets and big stetson ears. Unlike most little goat boys, they got right with the program: hit the ground, shake it off, stand up, head for the milk bar, fill stomach, go to sleep. All in the space of about ten minutes, which is longer than it takes most of the little boys to just shake it off.

Downstream from Devil's Head

We are not really downstream from Devil's Head, we are upstream. But sometimes you can be downstream without being downstream. And even without any stream.

Devil's Head is at the very southern tip of our little Key Peninsula, which is gradually growing less and less rural. The Key Peninsula is a very beautiful and largely unknown peninsula, full of little bays and coves, and until recently very heavily wooded.

Take for example Devil's Head, which was pristine forest and timberland until the real estate prices soared and developers started moving in. The zoning around here is very whimsical - one set of zoning laws for the regular people, and another set for the rich people.

Devil's Head was always zoned timberland, until a developer bought it and lobbied for the zoning to be changed. The developer had a lot of money, as you might imagine. And the zoning changed, very quickly and very quietly. Imagine the county's secret delight: instead of hundreds of acres of trees, taxed at a rate equal to be about 10% of the rate of the regular residential rate, they soon will have dozens of tax-paying waterfront estates, each valued, no doubt, at a million dollars or more.

With that stroke of the pen, logging crews moved in and clearcut 400 acres for the future waterfront homes of the future soon-to-be-moving-here rich people.

Well, you can cry about that all you want, but I guess it is the way of the world. What can one goat really do. Rich people have to live somewhere.

But so do coyotes. And when they clearcut that 400 acres of Douglas fir forest, one of the last big chunks of woodland around here, all those coyotes had to go somewhere. And where do you think they went?

Downstream. Which, in this case, is upstream.

At night we used to occasionally hear two or three coyotes howling, four or five if it was a big night. And many nights we heard nothing.

Now we hear dozens, and not just at night. They are creeping ever closer to the back pasture: during the big freeze they trotted boldly about during the day, drinking from the creek at the back of our fenceline. Yesterday our neighbor ran outside in the middle of the afternoon, getting two shots off at a pair of coyotes in the back pasture.

We don't like killing wild animals. But we don't like them killing us, either. And it's too bad we have to do it.

After all they used to have a nice waterfront home.

But that's life, downstream from the rich people.