Thursday, January 22, 2015

Renovating the tree cave while the Ranger saves the day

After all of the commotion the daily coyotes have been causing around here, 
I've started taking preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of further drama.

This picture from last Wednesday's post shows the tree cave near my house 
where the coyotes like to hunt.

It's a target-rich environment of very old cedar trees. Rabbits, packrats, and who knows what else
live in the burrows beneath the ground-skimming limbs.
Unfortunately, the tree cave is also one of the herd's favorite places to hang out,
but it's not like there aren't a few hundred other trees they can hide under.

George: I smell trouble.

The plan is to remove all of the lower tree limbs so that the rabbits will leave eventually
and the coyotes will hunt someplace further from the house. 
Wishful thinking, probably, but all the physical activity makes me feel purposeful. And sore.
I know some of you are looking at my tree-trimming saw and thinking I should invest in an efficient,
labor-saving chainsaw. Did you know that the average chainsaw injury requires 110 stitches?
People who live 7 miles south of nowhere and 70 miles from 
the nearest emergency room should not own a chainsaw.

George is dismayed by the renovations.

On Sunday, I worked my way around about a third of the grove. 
The Ranger saved the day, helping me haul away all the limbs.

I attached a tow chain around the Ranger hitch and the biggest limb, 
then piled the smaller limbs on top, then merrily dragged the whole pile down the driveway
to the sacrifice area near the front gate...

...where I encounted my farrier and his truck, stuck in the mud.

The Ranger and tow chain saved the day again. I was giddy to learn that the Ranger
was powerful enough to tow a truck. Now if I can teach Smooch to drive,
I won't have to call a tow truck if my truck gets stuck.

As for those pesky coyotes...
They showed up in force Tuesday morning. Smooch was asleep in the house
but must have smelled them because she started carrying on something awful,
barking and running from window to window to see what they were doing.
I got mad and got my gun and fired a warning shot over their heads.
They scattered in all different directions and have not been back.
Ok, so it's only been two days, but I'm hopeful they got the message.


  1. Job well done! ... Several Jobs well done!

    Making the hunting environment less desirable (less cover along with the gunshots) should make them a little more wary. The varmints have become too comfortable hunting that close to house and barn.

    As for your saw, a good small pruning saw is capable of quite a lot of work, requires much less maintenance than a gas-powered chainsaw and as you pointed out, 'usually' causes much less human trauma -->caveat --> in a single swipe. My mother bought a folding saw made by Corona and it really gets the job done. I call it the 'Toucan' . When it's unfolded it looks like a big red bird head with a toothy silver beak :).

    So, do we get an update on the pedicures?

    M in NC

  2. That's what the neighbors told us to do if the coyotes got in the habit of getting too close. One shot, they said, and they get the message. And sometimes, they said, that's what it takes before they DO get the message.

  3. When I get my truck stuck I put it in neutral, tie the steering wheel to the brake pedal, hook on and pull. One person operation.

  4. In addition to your saw I recommend a Bahco 30" bow saw. A minor investment with which I have cut approximately 400 trees from 1" to 25" in diameter with the same frame. I buy ten new blades every year. I cut log lengths for the fireplace. I do not have a sub if I kill myself with a tree. I can hear the tree talking if I don't have a motor running. The aggressive teeth of the raker blade are good for green wood. It is thin and whips right through everything. there is another blade for dead wood. I buy my spares on Amazon. The saw you have is excellent for smaller branches that might move.

  5. Thrilled that you don't have a chainsaw! Pruning saws and bow saws are wonderful tools and great exercise! Also thrilled about the shot you fired.

  6. You have to be tough to live in the wild.


  7. Glad you got the work done. You know they make smaller (less dangerous) chainsaws? I know that they all come with blades that will cut you wide open, but those that weigh less and have automatic shut off are a bit less likely to bite you.
    It's a wonder the folks on surrounding properties haven't thinned the coyote pack by now. Surely not everyone is so "live and let live" about a large pack of coyotes as you are. :)

  8. Great decisions regarding all the technologies. Yes to rangers, rifles and cameras. No to chainsaws. Good riddance, wily coyotes! Aunt Jean

  9. Well I hope your channeling of Annie Oakley let those coyotes know that they can't mess around 7MSN and stress Smooch and you. I love your live and let live approach but coyotes are like the bullies of the landscape, you finally just have to put your foot down.
    Your pruning looks good. I agree with Farmer Barb that a big ole bow saw would make the work faster and easier. Hope you aren't bogged down in snow but the weather forecasters have this storm parked right over you. Warm and safe wishes. Oma Linda

  10. You might want to consider a llama. They are fierce protectors against predators. And how cute would that look in your yard? Okay, while you're considering that, I think firing the gun is your best option at sending those coyotes on their way.

    1. And I can personally attest to the fact that llamas and donkeys can get along quite well. :-)

    2. An American in Tokyo1/22/15, 6:54 PM

      Oooo, time to add to the herd and get a llama?! Are they different from alpacas??

  11. I prune for a living in the winter. We don't use chain saws either.

    As others have mentioned, bow saws and those groovy pruning saws work great, with a substantially reduced danger factor. They also encourage working smarter, and give you a chance to step back and look at what you're doing. The chain saw process happens so quickly - contributing to mistakes and injuries.

    I support your caution 100%. Here, a ragged bloody gash would require getting helicoptered off island... :D

  12. A cordless reciprocating saw is what I used on scrubby evergreens like that - not to mention a thousand other jobs that require a saw other than my power mitre saw or circular saw. I'm hopeless with hand saws though, which you, obviously, are not. :)

  13. I borrowed a chainsaw exactly once for a job just like yours. Gave it back when I decided there was no distance close enough for an emergency room to make it worthwhile. My pruning saw works well enough.

  14. Admiring and applauding everything you did, including the warning shot...

  15. Damn! You fired the gun!!
    (Not sure this is any less dangerous than a chainsaw, though).

  16. Other half's mother made his father promise her that he would never let him get his hands on a chain saw. Grown man son at that.Don't think it was on her deathbed or anything, but probably after she was in decline. She had a point. He gives them wide berth.

    Love the coyote dispersal tactics, and the Ranger!

  17. I'm glad to hear you're actively discouraging the coyotes. They are scary in a pack like that.

  18. Carson is shootin' up the neighborhood! Cool! I would do it again if they come back till they get the message.
    The mud...OMG... Love that Ranger, it's so much fun. What a day

  19. Good for you in being proactive on the coyotes. I had been concerned as often people who have come from the city have a hard time being tough with wildlife. I don't think they need to be hurt to get the idea they could be and this is not a good place to hang around hoping for chicken ;). Also wise on the chain saw and clearing out the lower tempting branches for game. Good job all around!

  20. Alright! Guns trump chainsaws any day!! If the warning shots don't work.... a little closer to their hind ends should do the well as an occasional kicking up of dirt right in front of their faces.... it works. No coyotes will be killed in the process... although at this point ...maybe there are too many anyway......

  21. .. back to say...when I first saw the work Ranger ...I was thinking 6 feet tall, rather muscular get my drift ..... hahahhahha....

  22. Hi, me again. If you do decide to get a chainsaw, just understand that you'll be cutting down brush right and left because they are so much fun. I understand your hesitancy, but it feels so powerful to make such short work of a job like the one you did with the handsaw. Also be aware that many accidents with chainsaws happen to those that have the "What could happen?" or "Here, hold my beer." idea about power tools.
    Signing off now.

  23. An American in Tokyo1/22/15, 6:55 PM

    Glad to hear that you take precautions! Sometimes I think technology gets the better of us, not always in the right way.

    Good to hear the coyotes haven't come back yet! Keeping my fingers crossed...

  24. Good for you, Carson! (getting your gun). I wouldn't want them hurt, but a few warning shots should keep them away. I'm sure they've been warned off before!