Farmer’s Calendar for September 2020

September 1, 2020

A reclusive neighbor sometimes asks me to tend his pair of elderly cashmere goats. Then twice a day I’ll bike his class 4 road, a single dirt track that runs through hayfields and birch groves, past boulders and ferns, and terminates in front of his remote goat barn. Far more private and wild than our roadside pastures and garden, these fields are where I’ll sometimes startle a doe that goes bounding into the bushes or hear a hermit thrush utter its haunting trill. Once, hurrying along before a thunderstorm, I passed a paw print in the mud of a low spot in the road. As I stopped and knelt beside it, I noted four toe pads. Not a coyote print, nor fox. Not in the dog family at all. No claw marks like a bear would leave, but it was big: I held my left hand out beside it, fingers spread wide—yes, as big. The Department of Fish and Wildlife insists that our state’s catamounts are extinct. Still, locals swear by their sightings, “I’m telling ya, that weren’t no bobcat.” Regardless, doubt prevails. So the next day I dragged my husband right over to the print to prove it, but the creature’s secret remains—by then, the big cat’s evidence lay under a pool of rain.


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