Log Cabin Chronicles

Royal Orr

With just a waffle fork

ROYAL ORR

It's dark at 5 a.m. now that the time has changed. I was up and out of the house early, heading for Montreal to catch the first morning train to Toronto. The dogs were clamoring to get out and slipped past me, through the door and into the early dawn.

I pointed my truck toward the city.

At 6:30, the alarm clock started chirping and my wife and the kids began the school-morning routine. Fifteen minutes later, our little guy was pushing a waffle around his plate while my older son waited by the toaster. Our daughter, true to type for the adolescent student, was taking a bit longer to get moving.

All of a sudden, the dogs set up a terrible commotion in the driveway. My wife rose from the table to glance out the window.

Coming across the yard were two coyotes, focused with predatory concentration on our dogs who were themselves all raised hair and furious outrage. (Since I last wrote about our dogs, I regret to report that our old spaniel died. We replaced her last month with a gangly young Airedale terrier, a good-hearted but rather goofy creature.)

My wife - in housecoat and bare feet - rushed onto the screened porch at the front of the house. Our two valiant pets, the Airedale pup and the little collie, were standing their ground as my wife began shouting at the coyotes.

But then the pup's nerve failed. She turned to run and the two predators were on her in an instant, nipping and biting at her hind legs.

My wife threw open the porch door and ran across the yard (barefoot in her housecoat), with nothing but a waffle fork in her hand. The coyotes - sensing firm resolve if not advanced hunting technology - fled.

"What would I have done if they hadn't?" my wife wondered over the phone when she called me in Toronto later that day. "I suppose if I'd thought about it, I wouldn't have gone out there."

Well, I've heard about lots of coyote trouble this past summer at a sheep farm in North Hatley and stories that a couple of calves were killed by the critters a month back. And someone at church mentioned that his brother's cat was scooped up as a tasty appetizer just recently. But a broad daylight attack on two good-sized dogs in the front yard of a house - that's bolder than anything I've heard before.

We called the Ministère de la faune. They gave us the names of local trappers who have permits to take coyotes year-round. Maybe we'll call one up.

But I recount this dramatic little slice of country life to Journal readers for reasons of public security. First, perhaps you should think twice about putting little Fluffy out for a late night prowl these days.

But secondly and more important, if you happen to have dealings with my wife, Louise Caron, you've now been forewarned - she's a very tough woman.

Royal Orr's reporting is waffle-free in Hatley, Quebec.


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