The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
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2013-01-03

All creatures great and small

Carolyn B. Edwards

Holly Scoggins posted about an encounter with a possum on the Garden Professors recently. Her husband came in the house to report a dead possum under the apple tree. Scoggins, having more rural experience, went out and gave the critter a good looking over. Convinced the possum wasn't just "playing," she told hubby to dig a hole at the end of the garden and put it to rest.
A short time later husband comes in saying the possum was sitting up, eating an apple.
"What do I do about the 3-foot hole?" he asked.
A wise gardener advised, "Plant something. I hate to see a good hole go to waste!"
Obviously, these people live in a part of the country where hole digging is a much simpler process than it is here in the Hill Country. A 3-foot hole in my backyard would require a pick, dynamite, and heavy equipment!
We'd have just rolled that dead possum onto an old towel, wrapped it up and carried it to a far corner of the property where it could provide food for vultures, maggots and other assorted creatures.
When you live in a rural area, you sometimes have to adjust to having a variety of critters try to join you in the house. We've all had our share of scorpions, toads, and chameleons.
We had a bat or two fly down our chimney that sent all of us running and screaming. You can keep telling yourself that their excellent echo location skills will keep them from flying into you, but they sure do cut it close! You can herd a bat out the door with a large broom or a piece of poster board. Sort of.
Giant centipedes also like to drop in about once a year. These creatures are about a foot long and move unbelievably quickly. They slither in through the very smallest opening under the door and head directly for that tiny little space under the bookcase. I usually spray there with some kind of bug killer. Once, when I had to move, I expected to find the evidence of all those centipedes' carcasses under the case. But there was nothing. I don't want to think about where they ended up!
A calf we had been bottle feeding once barreled through the front door when we didn't shut it fast enough. A fresh bottle served to lead her right back outside where she belonged. Thankfully, there were no "accidents" while she made herself at home in the dining room.
I'm thankful that the only close encounter I've had with a possum didn't get too close. I was sweeping dirt out of the door when she rounded the corner, heading straight for me. I swished the broom at her and she decided to turn around.