On the way down to the chicken house, to take my girlies some scraps, today, I startle a squirrel, which bounds into the woods, startling me, in return.
Next, a deer leaps from its hiding place near the edge of the woods and races after the squirrel, such rattling of leaves and scrambling of footsteps as I’ve not heard in a while.
As I near the hen-house, which is 2/3 wood shed, I hear more scrambling. What a menagerie around here, today! I hear it again. Hmm. This is not the usual. The hennies are making a different sound, too, one I’ve heard too many times before. They’re saying, “We don’t like the sounds and smells around here, at all.”
I stop my crunching advance and listen. Another small movement comes from under the worm table. (Yeah, worm table. Gotta post about those soon.) I toss a small rock over there to scare whatever it is.
I begin thinking about snakes. We’ve seen a timber rattler around here, before, and it’s been so hot and dry, and there is water inside the chicken house . . .
I realize I am not dressed for actual danger, in a summer dress and flip-flops, so I really need to size up the situation.
Inching along, I peer around a corner and gasp.
There, in the deep shadows, is the glowing-eyed face of a huge, fat raccoon.
I immediately back up, out of its sight. A cornered raccoon can be deadly, roughly as dangerous as a pit bull. Odd that it just sat there looking at me.
Not wearing decent shoes, and not having my phone with me, I know the best plan is to retreat up to the house and think. Calling my husband, I learn the raccoon probably is caught in a trap, which explains why it did not attack, flee, or even move. Then he explains to me how to unlock our rifle, volunteering to come home early and help me.
I feel I ought to be able to do this, though, and want to try. So I change into jeans and real shoes, get a drink of water for all this heat and exercise, grab the rifle, and return to the chicken house via a different way, around the shop, to approach it from behind. Several branches of briars are in my path and with my nerves about to snap, I pick my way through to where I know my moment of truth awaits me.
I peer into that dark place, again, and sure enough, the raccoon is still there. I aim and squeeze the trigger.
Hmm. I pull out my cell phone to ask my husband a few more questions. Aarrgh! I’ve unknowingly grabbed our son’s rifle. Of course, it is not loaded. By now my husband seems really eager to come home. But I still think I can do it and I still want to try, so, it’s back up to the house, for me, to exchange rifles and get another drink of water, and then back I go, down to the chicken house.
Since the terrain continues downhill, beyond the building, I choose a different vantage point, this time, one that puts me on a lower elevation and puts the ‘coon more at my level. I’m feeling like quite the predator, now. I aim and this time the satisfying “pop” of success makes me feel lots more intelligent.
Until I realize I’ve missed the critter entirely. Sighs.
I move closer and try again. What! Now the rifle isn’t working, again. Oh, brother!
Thinking it must have had only one bullet, I return to the house and call my husband once more, telling him I give up. He agrees to come home. I drink more water and return to putting the finishing touches on my closet project.
That was enough excitement for nothing, I think, but I do love having the experience!
And my husband says, “I never married you for a hunting buddy, anyway.”