Last night I heard something I haven't heard so close in several years: coyotes. It sounded like a small pack, but they were very excited and very near— probably along the fence of the house on the corner. I don't know what they were yapping and howling at, but I wouldn't want to have been whatever it was. They kept up their racket for about ten minutes. I never saw any of them, and I don't know why they finally ended the performance. Maybe they caught whatever they were after, or it escaped beyond their sight. I was glad when the ruckus was over, though, and I'll be keeping a close eye on the feral cats over the next few days to see if any are missing.
The raccoons are also making a nuisance of themselves, coming into the yard almost every night and eating whatever food the cats haven't devoured. They wash their grubby paws in the cats' water bowls, so every morning I'm rinsing mud out of them. Half an hour ago I opened the back door and startled two enormous raccoons who took off running across the yard. They slammed into the fence so hard I'm surprised they didn't bring part of it down.
But the weather remains the strangest thing. Only this afternoon did I notice that half a dozen camellias have bloomed. For some reason most of them are facing the wall of the house. Maybe the air on that side of the bushes is warmer, as heat-leaky as my windows are, but still I'd have expected the buds on the sunnier side of the plants to open first. There are more than a hundred buds yet unopened. I hope some of them stay closed over the next couple of warm days, so there'll be something left to bloom after the upcoming cold weather. I fear that this seasonal whiplash might result in a dull spring, with half the flowers wasted by this premature warmth.