There have been so many random things going on around here, all animal related. Here's a bit of the mayhem.
Well, there was an evening earlier this week that I didn't get out to close up the birds until after dark. It was a downpour and I had a flashlight and my big brown work jacket on with the hood up. Walking out to the coop, what greets me but one of my little skunk buddies sitting INSIDE the chicken coop happily eating an egg. Come on. It was a little guy with odd broken striping down his back. No amount of yelling or banging on the coop would interrupt his dinner. Mostly he would just take a bite, blink around in every direction but mine and then go back to getting another egg. I guess I was in the dark and blinding him with a flashlight. Eventually I got a T-post, opened the clean-out door on the coop and tried guiding him out the door. He ran and hid under the nest boxes. There is less than 3 inches of clearance under there. I stuck the T-post under and ended up forcibly shoving him out the door. Anyone have a cat? And when you go to the vet you have to turn the carrier upside down and shake it in 10 directions to get the cat out? It was like that. No one got sprayed. He toddled off.
Next up, remember the raccoon woes? Did I mention that one of them hissed at me from the other side of the fence one evening? And it wasn't even dark yet? Yeah, it's been fun. I set some live traps last night and this morning there was a raccoon in one. I came in to have a bowl of cereal before dealing with it. I came back outside to find Nigel sitting sadly beside the trap.
He's molting right now and looks terrible. I don't know what happened to this poor guy before I found him on Craigslist and brought him home but you have never seen a sadder face on a creature then when Nigel sees a box trap. He will literally just go stand beside the dang thing and stare at it sadly.
But wait, what's this? Anyone see a raccoon? No? Me either.
It managed to break out of the trap. "What.... the..... hell....?" I said in disbelief. "What! The! Hell?!" and then it occurred to me that maybe I should back peddle myself out of the chicken yard for awhile while looking over my shoulder. How on earth did this happen?.
Look, the door is all mangled. It takes me both hands to set these things and I have opposable thumbs. How did it get out from INSIDE the trap??? UGH! So not only is it still out there, but it's never going to go in a trap again. Awesome.
So, thanks in part to the raccoons we said goodbye to our two remaining ducks this week. Between the raccoon attacks and getting repeatedly humped by the gander (yep, sorry, that was actually happening) they were pretty miserable. They went to a family we are good friends with who have a wonderful property with a big flock of free-ranging birds. This is the first time we've been without ducks in close to 5 years. It's sad. I miss them. The plan is to start over in the spring with a new flock. What was really surprising is how much quieter the place is. Want to know what's louder than 4 geese and 3 roosters put together? Two female ducks demanding breakfast.
Oh, heck what else? There was a night this week when I was putting the little man to bed and he was talking about a grasshopper in the kitchen. The kid knows his wildlife and I could not figure out what he had seen with a picture of a grasshopper on it. The next morning he and I were at the kitchen counter making bread and he points and says "Look, mom, is grasshopper in the sink." I looked and didn't see anything. "Where, honey?" "Right there! Is grasshopper in sink!"
Yeah, it wasn't a grasshopper. It was a baby praying mantis, about a 1/2 inch long. And the thing is, they were everywhere. Everywhere. Worse yet, this is not the first time this has happened this year because *someone* likes to bring the egg cases inside and display them. The last time was in April and there were mantis babies all over the dining room, like 100 of them. I denied it when asked of course, because I couldn't actually remember having brought another one inside. But come on, who else could be at fault here? Eventually I found the egg case and put it outside.
Too late. Everyone know what a praying mantis looks like?
Fierce predators about 4 inches long. This is what I had unleashed upon our house. We're still finding them.
On a lighter note, Bee brushes up on her babysitting skills and gets a foot to the face.
And I went fishing this week. Look at this bounty! It was a beautiful evening at the lake. Panfish may be small but they quickly add up. Seven sunfish and a small perch. We had fish tacos and there are still some fillets left in the refrigerator.
It's not even the middle of the week yet. What other fun is waiting for us?