Friday, February 1, 2019

winter Coyote Cafe planning.

Maremmas are like giant polar bears. This extreme cold spell, with temperatures falling to -10F at night, seems to suit these two dogs who stay outside with the sheep 365 days a year to guard them from predators - mostly coyotes. Pucci is the male, Blondie the female. Pucci is the friendlier one that everyone falls in love with, he likes to cuddle and he doesn't mind the camera.

If I take my phone out; dig it out from under 4 layers of carhartt that I wear to chores these days, Blondie runs the other way. There is something about the phone she is suspicious of and I find that interesting. As an experiment I take a deck of playing cards to the field one evening and pull it out like a phone. This does not bother her. I hold up the deck to 'take her picture.' She doesn't flinch. 

This is the important science I'm up to here in the frozen tundra of Worlds End.

After everyone is fed, Nea and I walk to the pond and recut the hole in the ice to dip out water for the sheep. I look down into the black water and sometimes see water boatmen (corixidae) gliding slowly through the freezing water and wonder what life is like for an aquatic insect under a foot of ice. Best not to think about it too much I say to myself and trudge back over through the snow with my buckets filled.  

Come spring, I'm going to stock the pond with brown trout; adding a new protein source to our diet here and expanding our menu offerings at the Coyote Cafe (opening June 1st!). The Coyote Cafe has been a dream of mine for years. It started as an idea for a coffee kiosk deep in the woods that would be an oasis for me, or anyone wandering around in the back 60 acres. 

As we began feeding more and more workers and visitors here at Worlds End, the Coyote Cafe transformed into an idea for a full restaurant that would serve to feed those of us working here and also feed visitors.

Feeding people is an easy way for them to get to know us and what we do here.

My days here this winter are bookended by these chores in the sheep field and chicken coop. In between I work on plans for the Coyote Cafe. I design the kitchen and the tables, I think about the linens and the dishes. I write menu ideas. I'm so excited it makes me smile to type this to you.

In a few weeks I'm launching a new website that will let people to sign up for tours of Worlds End. The tour includes lunch at the Coyote Cafe with our staff. Probably lots of days no one will show up and it will just be us, our apprentices and occasionally, artists in residence. But somedays I like to think one or two families will show up, or a group of 6 friends on their way through the Mohawk Valley enjoying a weekend away from the city. Maybe people like you who want to walk through the flower fields, pet dogs and see this place in person.

Coyotes eat everything, did you know that? Small rodents and rabbits mostly, snakes, frogs, fish. Occasionally a large animal if they're hunting in a pack. They also eat fruit, and grass in summer and fall. They are highly adaptable opportunists. They mate for life - isn't it funny that we love to know when animals do that - and the males raise litters of pups together with the females; they co-parent.
They live here with us, roaming around the woods at night; our shadows on the periphery.


LPC said...

I am happy you are making Coyote Cafe.

Anonymous said...

I would love to dine at this cafe one day : )

Alexis said...

Oh my I miss you so much. And your cooking. Because of you, I wish all pizzas had potatoes on them. Because of you, tomato sandwiches are perfect. This is starting to feel like a creepy love letter, but you really are magnificent! Also the fucking coffee at the Coyote Cafe gonna be so good.

Heidi Taber said...

My dog is also super suspicious of my cell phone. Makes me think she is on to something. I would love to venture down from Ontario and eat anything at Coyote Cafe.

Megan said...

I'm going to win that Blondie over. You just watch.

Terra said...

I love coyotes and your two huge white working dogs. When I was 11 I joined Defenders of Fur-Bearers because of my love of coyotes.