Since we had a hard week with the snow and the cold weather, I decided it would be nice for Keith and myself to have a nice Friday night, and celebrate Valentine's Day a little early, since it's on Monday this year. So, I asked him on Wednesday if he would like to eat at Luigi's, a new restaurant in Leavenworth about which I had heard good things. We decided it would be a good "date night", so Keith planned to come home from a meeting overtown and do the chores, so that when I got home at 5:15, we could leave and be seated early for dinner. I wore a nice black dress dressed up with a lovely scarf to work, and even managed to keep it clean all day!
As I came down the highway on my way home, thinking of the lovely dinner we were going to have, the phone rang.
"Uh... Honey.... how far along are you?"
"I'm just crossing Stranger Creek.... why?"
"Uh..... welll..... Lilly just killed a possum I think.... and I just threw it over into the neighbor's pasture.... .but now I came around behind the little henhouse... all the little birds are out but six...."
"Do you need help getting them and is Lilly okay?" (Possum teeth glinted in my brain)
"Lilly's fine.... but..... there's a second possum in the little henhouse and six of the chicks are in there with him".
I hit the gas.
Right before I left work, I had slipped my tennis shoes on, as our driveway is turning from ice and snow to slush and mud. I had my (good) work coat on over my dress, but parked and ran to the little henyard. There was Lil on guard at the fence:
Having already killed one (we didn't realize it was dead), she knew something was up because Keith was behind the little henhouse and concerned.
I didn't have my camera in the car... but felt my phone where I dropped it in my pocket, and drew it out quickly.
I ran behind the henhouse, but didn't think to take a picture of the possum hunkered down in the corner under the warming light. There, as if mesmerized, were six of the six month old chicks across from him on the other side, nervously mumbling amongst themselves.
"What's our plan?" I asked. I had thought to run up on the porch and grab a dog carrier that was out for Hannah to go see the vet. I had grapped the fish net we use to catch the birds as I ran by the henhouse porch.
"I'm going to try to net him".
I thought of the teeth again.
We keep a squeegee mop behind the little henhouse. Weird, but true. Once there was a little pool sunken in the henyard for the call ducks... and that mop cleaned it out. I keep it now because I reach and pull the eggs towards me with it. Keith told me to go get the mop, and go around to the front and try to push the possum into the net. Problem was, I couldn't see where it was, I was stretched across the porch and he was out of sight. There was some yelling then.
Finally, I handled the mop back over to Keith, who sort of mopped the possum into the net. I ran back around to the backside, just as he pulled the possum out. Unfortunately, in dropping him into the carrier (where we were going to take him far away and release him).... the critter nimbly ran up the net and out into the henyard. More yelling.
Lots of barking from the Red Dog.
I ran for the pophole of the big henhouse, and shut it quickly. Keith kept an eye on the possum, who, of course, was scared out of his tiny little mind by now. He tried to run out the gate, but Keith managed to stop him with the snow shovel:
The possum, whose tail you can see sticking out, was not harmed by this... he is simply being held down for a second while we tried to figure out what to do.
Then Tony cantered around to take a look... Keith lifted the shovel for a minute... and Tony leaned down and whuffled at the possum's back! (smelling him, we think).
All the while this was going on,
THIS was going on at the fence:
It was a ruckus all right! Note Tony heading back out in the pasture with one last look...
Keith then shoveled the still live possum onto the snow shovel, and Lilly Ann VERY obediantly came to me and sat, and I held her and told her how good she was while Keith carried the possum clear across the property, behind the house, and over to the Spehar's fenceline, where he tossed it (gently) after the first one.
Here is the first one, picture taken this afternoon:
As you can see, it didn't fare so well with Lil. She found it in front of the big henhouse, in the porch area.
We had talked earlier in the week about the wildings dying in this weather, and we figured these two were starving to come out in the daylight and be as bold as they were. We have found a possum in the duck house before.... dead.... came in, curled up, and died..... but not live ones. We HAVE found a juvenile Coopers Hawk in the henhouse once.
Lil got a lot of praise, but Keith is finally (with my blessing) going to get a 22 to prevent the loss of any young chickens to these predators, since we think this one will be back.
And then, we went to dinner!