The other night started out as a usual night. The chickens were in, my mare was in her stall, and her brother was out roaming the pasture. If you are wondering, he is a Stallion, so they take shifts out and about. He would be offended if he knew that I had introduced his sister and not him, so here he is...This is Deuce.
He really is something.
Back to the story...
We had a nice dinner, although I can’t really remember exactly what it was, and sat down for a little break afterward. Nothing had happened to make any of us believe that this evening would be any different than countless other evenings. The local news came on the television, and the weather man was predicting a cold night. This means that there are a few extra steps added to the normal routine, but still pretty normal. My trusted help and I decided to head out to the barns, and get started on the night time chore list. We bundled up, and started across the yard when something unusual happened.
Is that a Car Alarm?
I have lived here for 10 years, and we don’t hear those. The thought struck me that while it was something that made me stop and take notice, I am sure that there are millions of alarms that sound everyday, and no one takes notice. It is sort of ironic considering that it is an alarm for crying out loud, but that is how we people are. We hear something enough that it becomes irrelevant, and even annoying. That is not the case in a rural area. I stood, frozen in the yard, and waited. It wasn’t long and the alarm was turned off, which made me feel relatively confidant that it was a false alarm.
We proceeded with our business.
We get to the horse barn, and we bring Deuce in. He is cold and a little full of himself, but even this is normal. I manage to get both of the horses blanketed, and then the feeding begins. This is followed by haying and checking water. Then something else unusual happens.
Where is the cat?
Normally at this time, he is running around the barn like he has overdosed on catnip. You would think that he is going to starve to death if he doesn’t get his Fancy Feast – Now! He rubs up against your legs, he meows, you trip over him, he gets mad, he hides behind things and jumps out at you, and sometimes-when he really can’t stand it any longer-he will grab on to the back of your leg and bite you. This last little act of desperation has become a problem, and he has gotten more than one spanking for it. He will usually get a grip on himself and behave, but he never stops meowing. So, as you can tell, it is highly irregular that he is no where to be found and it is quiet.
We proceed with our chores, all the while calling for the cat. We go out to the hay barn, check on the chickens, make sure that all is well and they are ready for the night. Everyone has water and we are running out of things to check on. We are still calling for the cat. There is still nothing.
Reluctantly, because it is cold, we head to the house to grab the spotlight. We walk all around the barns, calling, looking. No cat. We check down at the creek. No cat. We walk up and down the street in front of our place, calling, looking. No cat.
I don’t like it.
We have coyotes in our area, and with the colder weather, they have been getting louder each night. The coyotes also run the creek that just happens to cross our place. There are nights that they sound like they are in the back yard. Not a good environment for a cat to be wondering around in.
Where could he be?
Desperate, but not knowing what else to do, we decide to head for the house to thaw out little, and then we will come back out and give it another go in about an hour.
There goes getting in bed early tonight.
We get to the back porch and I reach for the door knob on the back door, and out of the corner of my eye, I see something. This something is out of place. This something is under my grill cover, right next to the door.
Is that a tail?
Are those feet?
Are you kidding me?
It is a huge, fat, ugly, hairy, nasty, disgusting Possum. It is on my back porch! It thinks it is going to spend the night under my grill, tucked in a corner of the cover that is blocking the North wind! These things are really starting to tick me off. This is enough already.
After the first few screams, my help runs for more help, then returns with a hoe for me, and then heads to the barn for the muck bucket. It is sad, but this has become a routine drill around here. My job is to watch the rodent, and make sure it doesn’t try to make a hasty getaway.
The cat shows up at the front door of the barn, crying, because he is hungry. Little Brat! I have no idea where he was or where he came from, but he gets snatched up and thrown into his carrier to keep him safe.
My next action is to pull the grill out, and guide the thing into the muck bucket that will then be thrown on top of it. This guy actually bites the hoe. That has never happened before. For those of you who may be feeling sorry for the rodents, you should know that they hold their mouths open and make this horrible hissing, growling sound. They also have really sharp teeth that can bite through bone.
Needless to say, it made me scream.
Once this is accomplished, we carry the thing away from the house and the barns, and well…