Monday, May 10, 2010

I think there’s a critter in my yard

The other day I saw a wild hog at the end of my driveway. A wild hog – in my neighborhood. By golly, you won’t see one of THOSE in the big city.

All they have in the big city are squirrels. But they’re not real squirrels; they’re more like sissified urban squirrels that aren’t scared of men carrying big shotguns, because men in the big city don’t carry shotguns – they carry briefcases.

City squirrels come right up to you, begging for a handout, not knowing that their country cousins taste great in stew. It’s a good thing, too, because if they did, they’d probably mount some kind of demonstration, complete with little squirrel placards and signs, in an effort to save their country brethren.

But back to the hog. It was at the end of my driveway, in the street, and it was just sauntering down the road like it was trying to decide if this neighborhood was good enough in which to raise its offspring. Is this a safe neighborhood? How are the schools? Any drainage issues I should know about? Does cable come out this way?

I think hogs would believe those to be important questions to ask before uprooting their families and moving to new neighborhoods. I don’t know why I think that, but I do.

Anyways, I was heading down the driveway when my headlights shone on the hog, and I was astounded that he was even there. He was astounded too, because he started running down the road. I followed him thinking, “I wonder if I have enough room in the freezer for you, buddy?” He must have sensed my intentions because at about that time he jumped into the woods and was gone.

I still can’t believe it – a hog checking out our neighborhood. It still gives me the shivers, but not as much as the fox.

I have yet to see the fox, or foxes, that live in the woods by our house. Other members of my family have seen the fox, but not me. But I’ve heard the fox, and if you’ve ever heard a fox when it screams in the middle of night, sounding like the screams of a human woman being bludgeoned to death – well, you’ll never forget it.

I had a ‘possum on my porch a few weeks ago. I grabbed a flashlight, rushed out onto the porch, and ran him off. A couple of nights later, I heard the fox. It sounded like it was right outside my kitchen window. I did NOT grab the flashlight. I did NOT rush out onto the porch. In fact, I tiptoed to the front door and locked it.

I was thinking about getting some chickens, putting them in a pen in the hopes of getting some fresh eggs. But with this fox hanging around, probably just waiting for me to get chickens so HE can have some chickens, I’ve been thinking maybe I’ll just stick with goats – or maybe get a cow.

Speaking of cows, I saw something the other day that I thought I’d never see out in the country: a man chasing some loose cows down the road in his minivan. I would have thought pickups and four-wheelers would have been better suited for doing something like that, but there he was, in his minivan.

But I guess I can’t be too judgmental. When I bought my goats, I didn’t have a truck to haul them in. The only thing I had was a minivan. Of course, I didn’t tell my wife that I was planning on moving goats in the minivan – I waited until the deed was done and was thankful they hadn’t “relieved” themselves on the carpet.

I’ve learned a lot about goats over the last couple of years. First off, they would rather eat YOUR grass than my grass. Second, they don’t like cat food or coleslaw, but they’ll scarf down bananas and spaghetti. Third, they get depressed and lethargic when they can’t figure out how to escape their pen. To make them happy, you sometimes have to open the gate and “look the other way” to make them believe they’re escaping. Then they start to liven up, dance around, and look for new oats to sow.

I’d much rather have goats in my yard than wild hogs, but I do love bacon. If that hog ever comes back, I’ll be ready.

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