Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Last Night in the Garden

       Last night about 8:30 I remembered that I had not locked up the chickens for the evening. They have had free run of the garden for a number of weeks and after all this time it is difficult to remember to close their door for the night. It seems so natural for them to be out. They love to forage in the garden eating all bugs, worms, weeds and everything green. In years past when I have not locked them in I have had problems with night prowling vermin getting into the chicken house and eating the heads off the chickens. It is so odd that they eat only the heads but that’s the way I found them. The best parts of the chicken, according to human taste left behind. Anyway I decided at the last minute, as I was going out the front door to let Moose go with me. He loves to go but sometimes refuses to come back in when I am ready to and on cold nights, like last night it is very irritating. He went with me out into the night where there was a bit of a moon but with a heavy cloud cover it offered little illumination. There was a small flashlight I picked up to take with me that I keep by the front door for just those moments but the battery was pretty low. When we got near the chicken house Moose began to alert and by “alerting” I mean he started acting a little crazy. He ran around the chicken house, into the chicken run and began barking hysterically. His hair stood on end and his tail stuck straight out from his body. He appeared ready for anything and it began to freak me out having never seen that side of Moose!  

        I went around to the back of the chicken house and opened the door that I get the eggs out of. Looking through the door I stared into the dim interior of the house, illuminated by a single light bulb and my weak flashlight and saw crouched in the middle of a number of crushed, broken and half eaten eggs a huge opossum. He turned, looked at me and made a sort of hissing noise. Quickly I noticed a three foot length of bamboo pole lying at my feet that I use to prop the door open on windy days so that the chickens can get back in to lay the occasional egg. I thoroughly prodded and spanked the opossum with the stick and worked his head end over near where the exit to the chicken run opens so that I could force him through the door. At that very moment Moose’s head shot through the door like lightening and grabbed the opossum around the rib cage, jerked the poor creature out into the run and disappeared into the night. It all happened so fast that it was hard for me to comprehend what had just happened. After my senses returned and I went looking for Moose and the opossum I found them both over near the fence at the rear of the garden. Moose had the opossum in a death grip growling in a ferocious way that I had never seen him exhibit before. Scary! Even though I knew opossums play dead this one looked lifeless. I drug Moose away from the mangled creature and coaxed him out of the garden and back into the house. This morning when I went down to bury the opossum he was gone, leaving no sign. Either something came and dragged the dead opossum off or he was only faking death and sneaked off into the night after Moose and I came back in from the garden. Either way I say good riddance and don’t come back any time soon! Actually I do not think he will have much interest in returning because of the beating and the biting Moose and I gave him.

        After having a whiskey sour upon returning to the house I relaxed and got ready for bed. Just as my head hit the pillow the thought occurred to me; what if, when I jerked open the chicken house door there had been a bobcat inside instead of the opossum? Just what would I have done? 

        The result would have been very different I am pretty sure..

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