?

Log in

star

Life on the Bayou - Eat More Critters Edition

Because we live on the water our lot is small. Waterfront is very very expensive. So our property itself is a mere 50 feet wide, as are most of the properties around us.

Because waterfront is so dear and so desired, there are few open lots that haven't been built on, even the other side of the street, where people can at least walk to the end of the road to get to the water (our street dead ends right into the bay - yes, we've had cars come barrelling down the street and end up right in the water.

So, wild critters have to work at getting to our lot, especially since we have it fenced in for the dogs. And yes, one would think four large noisy labs would discourage wild critters attempting it. Hah!

Last year we had a baby possum take up residence in our grape vine. I suppose he thought he'd found heaven. He'd probably run the top of the fence to reach the grapevine and used that walkway for his egress whenever he wanted to roam a bit more. Nights both our dogs and the neighbors would bark their heads off and both families would be out there with flashlights trying to figure out what was going on. That was how we finally spotted the little possum.

Anyway, yesterday, when two of the dogs disappeared, I became a bit anxious. They couldn't get out of the yard (well, they could if they jumped the fence but they'd never done it before) so I sort of knew they had to be in the yard somewhere!

Jim is locally known as the man who wants to deck the world. This translates to mean we have a lot of deck, walkways and open areas that are all made of wood, elevated above the ground. Periodically the dogs explore that underworld and flush out interesting critters. Rats or squirrels most generally, and sometimes birds that nest under there - wrens particularly like it under there.

So, I'm calling and calling both Cody and Molly and getting absolutely no response from either of them. Then I hear Cody barking. I can't spot her from the house, I go outside and call her, still nothing.

Worried, I go outside and begin to walk around the yard, calling the both of them, with no response. Then I hear Cody bark. From under my feet, at the part of the decking where it is less than a foot off the ground. I panic, thinking she must be stuck under there - chased something under there and can't get out.

Near that area there are deck boards on a bench that can be lifted up to store stuff in, or to get access to the area. I lift up the boards to see Molly sprawled out right there, and Cody further in.

I'm furious at this point, since I've been calling them and they aren't responding. I think they'd had a fight and Molly was keeping Cody in there and wouldn't let her out (Cody often pulls this trick with her larger sisters). I proceed to yell at both of them and finally they slink out, covered with sand, but looking smug despite me chastising them.

Jim comes home from work a bit later and I explain what was going on, saying how worried I'd been that one of them had been in trouble. He explores further, lifts up some more boards and then calls me over.

An inch or so of fur is showing through a tiny little hole in the plastic pipe where the access to the water control is. The hole looks to provide only a deep way of getting into the sand. We ponder the fur showing, and Jim opines it must be a squirrel that Cody and Molly have chased into the hole and the critter is afraid to come out. Or, we wonder, if it is dead. Jim pokes the tail, it moves deeper and barely shows now.

Okay, its alive. We need to let the critter escape and he certainly isn't going to while the dogs are around. So I take the dogs inside.Jim backs off to wait a bit.

A half hour or so he calls me to tell me it is a baby possum and the possum has now backed out of the sand and is huddled in the end of the pipe. Since the thing is nocturnal we decide he isn't going to try to make a break for it until dark. Jim, worried the little guy won't be able to get out of the pipe (it is vertical not horizonal) decides to put a small board in there so he can climb out.

The story ends happily, I think. The little possum did indeed get out of the pipe and disappeared shortly after dark. Since no dogs have shown up with possum fluff on their persons' we're hopeful the little guy got out of the yard fine.

Now the question remains, how the devil we're going to protect the grape vine from possum plunder.

Comments