It's almost midnight in Texas right now. The coyotes are out in force. I can hear them howling like mad.
Before we had chickens, I never gave much thought to the coyotes and strangely I don't think the howls have every really bothered the girls as they went to sleep before. After I got the call from Luci last year (while I was out of town) telling me that there are wolves in the yard I have paid more attention.
Now I listen for a while. I know they are close to the house tonight because they usually like to leave their, shall we say, droppings in the road just past the cattle guard. The chickens are quiet tonight, so I know if they start clucking and going nuts the coyotes must be in the yard again.
About a month ago, my parents came to visit and my dad gave me the shotgun that he has had forever. I can remember my dad wrapping this 20 gauge Mossberg up in an old orange and black blanket and tucking it into the trunk of our car along with the thirty year old shells whenever we went camping. Growing up in the suburbs, my brother and I found this to be extremely funny because we couldn't possibly imagine any need for a gun. We also figured that the shells were so old they would explode rather than fire properly.
I ditched the old shells at the police station a few days ago and test-fired the shotgun. I had wanted to shoot it as long as I could remember, knowing that it was stashed in the closet, but really couldn't see any reason to actually do so. Now, sitting up listening to the coyotes, waiting to see if they will come and look to see if any chickens are out of the coop, I have a reason to know that my dad's old shotgun works just fine.