Thursday, June 24, 2010

First Blood

We drew first blood tonight. It was around 10:30 or so, when we returned home from a night on the town. Had a nice Italian dinner, and saw Jersey Boys. Excellent show. Not your typical musical, more a concert with narration.

Anyway, I let Abby out to do her business and go to close up the chicken coop. I hear her barking, but I collect the eggs, and check on the girls first. Everything looked fine in there. So I close up the door, and swing the light over to where Abby is barking. I can see she is barking at something, but I couldn't tell what it was, or which side of the fence it was.

I swing around our shed and see that she is barking at a rather large possum. I scream and yell at her, INSIDE, INSIDE, IN, IN. She does her normal, I hear ya, but I want to bark at this thing. When the possum bared it's teeth, I hit the fence with our Maglite. That got Abby's attention off the possum and onto me. She reluctantly followed me inside. I ran to my office and got my wife's Ruger 10/22. I had just loaded some magazines yesterday in hopes of getting the rabbit that's been hanging around our tender, tasty garden.

So, I roll onto the deck, pop the magazine into the rifle, and, holding the maglite with the fore-end of the rifle line my shot up. The first crack didn't seem to effect it. I lined up carefully then, let my breath out, and CRACK. The possum went skidding end over end, landing under the sheds door. I put another one into it, just to be sure.

Shelly came out and held the light as we made our way over to the shed. I poked it with the end of the rifle and it seemed to squirm. I backed up, and put two more shots into it. It was dead now, and muscle contractions caused it to do a little dance on the ground. Gloves, a shovel and a rake later, and it was deposited into the corn field. I'm sure something will complete the cycle of life.

So, here is the scene of the crime:

And the nasty intruder:

One less critter to worry about getting the chickens, or causing problems for Abby. My first thought upon seeing those nasty teeth was, I hope it doesn't have rabbies. We've washed down the shed and shovel with bleached water. Hopefully, that will keep Abby from sniffing and licking the crime scene.

It's 11:23 PM now, almost an hour since the shots rang out. No knocks on the door, no sirens, no signs of the county sheriff, yet. I love living in the country.

What a way to end a date night with my wife. Dinner, a show, and first blood.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I've Taken Up Jogging

...and I can't say that I had intended to start jogging mind you. I guess it really would be considered more like running in short bursts. In the last few weeks, there have been several times when I have found myself running after a dog (Abby) who in turn was running after another animal - chickens, cats, chickens. You get the picture. Monday night was the latest sprint, this time 'round and 'round the chicken coop we went. I am sooo glad there were no video cameras rolling. Keith and I had recently put up a small fence giving the chickens access to more parts of the yard. We had been letting them have the run of the entire backyard until they shredded my hostas. Come to find out hostas must be like crack to chickens. So we put up this fence so that everyone could be happy. We felt quite proud of ourselves. Until...

I was in the coop doing a little clean-up - adding some bedding, getting clean water and adding more food to the feeder. All of a sudden I hear Abby barking and see a chicken flying by. Abby had jumped the fence and was going after the girls. My girls! I ran out of the coop and tried to catch Abby. I would have had better luck catching a wet pig. She zigged, I zagged. All the while I was screaming at her. Of course, I've been enjoying a summer cold so all that screaming wasn't really doing a whole lot for my already sore throat. She seemed to be in a totally different zone - oblivious to anything other than the chickens she was chasing. There was a cacophony of screaming, barking, squawking and howling coming from the backyard. I finally caught her for a moment and she wrenched out of her collar. Ugh! She had been groomed on Saturday and they hadn't put the collar on tight enough. This meant more running and screaming to finally catch her - grab her head, hold her between my legs so I could get her collar back on and drag her butt back to the house.

Then I ran back to check on the chickens. All three were in a corner of the coop - staring wild-eyed yet quiet and traumatized. Short a few feathers, they seem to be fine now. So much for thinking that Abby and the chickens could share the yard together in harmony. Oh well, lesson learned. Off to get taller fencing.