One of my friends who, until recently also lived on a farm, sometimes comments on my blog with this phrase: "Only in the country". Those blogs usually involve some ridiculous interplay with the wildlife who share this space with me. I try to be nice to all living things, because I do like them and know that this is their space too. But many animals are territorial and humans are no different. I reserve the right to claim some small piece of this shared wilderness as mine alone: the half acre where the house and gardens sit would do nicely. The other mammals don't see it that way. The deer regularly come in and nip off the tulips, the tips of the roses, the hostas, terminal buds of saplings, young broccoli. Deer do not respect human boundaries.
We get along most of the time, the deer and I. Armadillos are another story. They eat roots and bulbs, including tulip and daffodil bulbs, and sweet potatoes and the roots of plants I adore. They also eat grubs, which is a good thing. (I thought I'd throw that one in for balance.) They also dig up fairly substantial divots everywhere, without replacing them (how rude) push out newly planted pansies and such AND (this is the one that may drive me to drink) they like to live under my house. That is way past the line in the sand. Nothing gets to live here with me, if I can help it. Mice and spiders are hunted down and booted out; ants are sprayed; flies are swatted. You get the drill. O'possums (the ugly little beggars) are also not appreciated but are usually endured. I may or may not have shot several O'possums in the past but those days are behind me now…mostly. Which brings me to the next interesting story.
A week or so ago I brought something home from my daughter's house which needed keeping cool. I borrowed her small ice chest, brought it to the farm, washed it out and set it on its side to dry in the sunlight. I then proceeded to leave for several days and forgot to take it with me. (This kind of irresponsible behavior is the norm for me. I blame it on the little bit of Indian blood in me. I do things when it's the right time to do them, if I can get away with that. I am aware that is a lame excuse and not a reason.) When I got back home last night I discovered the door of the freezer had been cracked just a tiny bit and the whole thing was frozen solid except for the stuff in the door, which was thawed and rotten.
I did the famous 'empty the freezer, thaw it out, refill it with the still frozen meat' routine. I'm sure many of you have done this dance as well. It isn't pretty but it has to be done. All is well on that front now.
While I sat on the porch today, trying to stay in the book I'm currently readying, or petting the cats, I kept smelling something dead. I thought the cats had been into the meat that I had thrown out. I kept reading. I thought maybe they had brought me a dead rat as a present. Nope. I got up and did a little transplanting and tucked a few new pansies into the pots. Still I smelled the death smell.
That's when the lights came on and I realized I had been petting the cats. They didn't stink. I didn't stink. There had to be something else. That's when I noticed the cooler still sitting on the ramp and oddly, covered with flies.
Yeah. I was very slow on the uptake with that one.
I walked over, picked it up and it was heavy.
Yep, I opened it up and out rolled the biggest O'possum I have ever seen, dead as a doornail and stinking to high heaven. Apparently he had crawled in there, tipped the thing over and the lid had rolled shut on him. What a horrible way to die. I dug a hole right there in the new front beds (a deep one) and rolled him in, shoveled the dirt over him and said goodbye and sorry. Now he will replenish the nutrients in that bed. Dust to dust and all that. (I did you the favor of not taking any pictures of that little exercise of life and death. You're welcome.
Oh, Abb, I think I'll just buy you a new cooler. I didn't think you'd want that one back.