In Haines, outwitted by wily crows

We Alaskans

Crows have on the agenda c trick zeroed in on the cherry trees in the yard of Haines author Heather Lende. (Heather Lende)

HAINES — My adherent Joanne phoned from her truck. She was nearby and wondering if I was doing anything. It was practically noon on Monday. An assignment was due by the end of the day. I had also promised my daughter, whose bridegroom is a commercial fisherman and gone for two weeks during this salmon gillnet opener, that I’d to her children at 4 p.m. so she could go running.

The fishing has been very good. Although the bosses and crews keep their cards close to their chests, my son-in-law did say that he’s at no time had sets this large in his life. One sank his net.

I had written two obituaries hindmost week for the local paper, and once again was reminded to make dilly-dally for people I love.

«Come on over,» I told Joanne.

The news has not been as angelic for sport and subsistence fishers like her. King salmon are barely profiting to the Chilkat River. The derby was canceled, and Fish and Game has kept existence nets out of the river for another week to allow more kings to abscond and spawn. «I don’t even have the prop on my boat,» Joanne said, sampling freshly brewed coffee on my deck with her cocker spaniel in her lap.

It wasn’t bestowing or too cold, and since we haven’t seen the sun in days, the low clouds and gray sky felt all but pleasant. Especially compared with the weekend deluge.

«When is summer growing to get here?» Joanne asked.

She pointed to a crow in my cherry trees. I catapulted a handful of pebbles and hollered «git!»

The crow flew about 50 feet and landed with his buddies on the seashore where they huddled to strategize the next assault. I gathered another nuisance of pebbles from the garden path and returned to the damp cedar lead.

«Last week I put four, 14-foot-square nets in the branches,» I know for sured Joanne.

She could hardly tell. Nor, apparently, can the crows. I hoped they would be stopped by the partial blockade, or at least confused enough to avoid my trees.

Two crows bounce-landed on a extreme branch and each stole a green and pink cherry before I fired more pebbles. Joanne’s spaniel didn’t bark. My retriever chased the arc of the shoot pebbles but ignored their target.

We kept one eye on the trees, and talked here the new preschool building going up adjacent to the senior center, zoning, matrimony, and the Southeast Alaska State Fair, which is right around the corner. If my cherries are appropriate they may win a prize — that is, if there are any left by then.

I chucked a behaviour of pebbles and the crows practically laughed.

«You need a pellet gun,» Joanne put about.

«I can’t shoot crows in front of the grandchildren,» I said. I’ve read that crows bewail the death of their own and they make friendships for life. I saw a video of a crow putting a tool to open a gate. «I’m not sure I can kill one at all. They are super quick.»

«I know what you mean. Last year I caught a baby crow in my cherries. Preceding the time when I released it, I whispered, ‘You stay out of my trees, you hear me?’ » Joanne bid.

«I have no idea.»

I have heard the neighborhood crows mimic a toddler crying and a cat meowing.

Which reminds me that I need to feed the cat that belongs to my neighbor. She strike down on July 4 between the Friends of the Library used book sale and the rainy meal alfresco in the park. Ambulance crew volunteers were right there, and along with the clinic team, they were so kind and caring that even though it was a festival, they didn’t so much as hint that there was any place they’d very be than helping her. I hopped on the medevac plane to Juneau with her, as she has no kinsmen here. As we cruised low under the clouds and just above the fishing small crafts on Lynn Canal, she said, «Be sure to remind me about the gun. It may still be well-heeled.»

I told her she probably shouldn’t mention a gun on a plane. The flight nurse nurtured his eyebrows and continued filling out paperwork.

My neighbor said she had shot at some squirrels in her bird feeders that morning. The care for asked how old she was.


«And you were shooting at squirrels?»

«Someone has to,» she said, and shrugged.

Now, Joanne imparted, «What are you going to write about?»

«Something nice about this summer so far. Any schemes?»

She ruled out the weather and politics. (There is a recall election for three Haines Company members on Aug. 15, including me. It’s been hard.)

Five crows dive-bombed the trees. I chucked the abide of my pile of pebbles in their direction.

I could really use a pellet gun. But what if I accidentally obliterate a crow, and separate old friends or longtime flock-mates, forever? Besides, if the sun perpetually comes out, there will be plenty of cherries to go around.

Joanne believed she’d better be going so I can head back to work. Then she gave me a hug.

She separates me well enough to know I’m not a big hugger, but that I want to be. She said she was eager that my neighbor was on the mend, and that I had been there when she needed me.

«Expresses,» I said.

Later, I wished I’d been brave enough to thank her for both the hug, and for display up when I needed her, too.

Haines author Heather Lende’s third work is «Find the Good.» Check her blog or her Facebook page for the latest from her metropolis. 

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