Columnists — 19 April 2012

By Jerry Wilson

A few weeks ago I phoned Cecily from work to tell her to bring Sam in at dark and put a chair in front of the doggie door because the wolves had been in the gravel pit the night before. She thought he’d been barking at deer the evening before when I brought him in. I was surprised that she didn’t know the difference between a deer bark and his frantic barking at wolves while standing at the gate to the pit.

Wolf woofs go something like this: “Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, I know you guys are there!”

“Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, I poop on this side of the driveway, this is as far as you’re allowed to come.”

“Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, I know that you know I’m scared, but I’m not moving!”

“Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, remember the man has a shotgun.”

“Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, there he is now. BANG!

“Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, run you grey devils, you’re lucky you didn’t come here where I could get you.”

The wolf woof is different from his other barks because it’s incessant and you can hear a tremble of fear in his voice. He always chases foxes and bears and chases deer except when he’s chased his quota for the day. Soon he’ll get like Dewey was after five years here and won’t chase deer unless they’re nearly on the porch. He never chases wolves but gets off the porch and holds his ground at the entrance to the gravel pit.

Years ago one of our girls was the smartest kid in grade 4. Dewey came up the driveway with a moose leg he had gotten from one of the neighbours. My daughter said in a sad voice: ” Oh no, Dewey got another moose.” I had to laugh, then told her it takes 8 wolves to kill an adult moose, it takes all day and they can only go after the sick ones. When we were kids we knew what our dogs could do, which dog was the toughest in the neighbourhood, and what happens when a cow’s hind foot connects with a dog.

It drives me crazy that our kids are so separated from nature, even in our yard. When I yell upstairs for someone to look at a bird on the hydro pole I don’t know if they look up from the screen they’re looking at.

Early birds: March 27th- mallards, 29th – vultures, osprey (near Kenora), 30th – kestrel, red tailed hawk, 31st – pair of juncos, three male robins (home, saw others 10 days before), April 5 – merlin, 9th- nighthawk in a snowstorm, mourning dove, 11th- male phoebe home, feebeeing like crazy, buffleheads and heron in creek, 12th- broadwing hawk, 13th- female phoebe home, two male flickers home, one is guarding nest used last year, lots of sparrows last week.

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About Author

Chris Marchand is a native of Dryden, Ontario. He served his first newspaper internship at The Dryden Observer in 1998 while attending journalism studies at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops B.C. He's worked desks as both reporter and editor at the Fernie Free Press as well as filled the role of sports editor at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Marchand was named editor of the Dryden Observer in Aug. 2009.

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