It’s not that I have anything against opossums. I have a clear understanding that they too are creatures like me on this great planet and that why, when and how they do business only concerns me when it collides with my where, when and how I do business which happen to be yesterday afternoon in the chicken coup while gathering eggs. In other words folks, while reaching my hand into the dark nesting boxes gathering eggs. Yup.
About five years ago my dear friend Ann who is by all accounts an ol’time farmer, gave me some words of wisdom. I should mention that both Ann and her husband Ed have given me a books worth of do’s and don’ts of farming. Reaching your hand in where ya can’t see it was like #1 on the don’t list. And my mind shot back to that mental list as soon as I realized that this was no chicken I had just reached my hand ever so gently under. Suddenly I was face to face with a sneering, hissing, violated, interrupted possum.
After I had the screaming under control I realized I was no longer in the chicken coup but in the garage with a pitchfork in my hand. How did I get here? And what exactly was I going to do?
All the chickens were out of the pen. (I guess I left the gate open)They were making quite a ruckus and I see what looks like a big raccoon lying (appears to be) dead about 20 feet away from the coup. It has blood on it and I realize this is no raccoon it’s a HUGE ASS possum. But it looked dead.
Oh no, not the dead possum trick. I nudged it with the fork, kinda turn it over. The teeth were big and sharp! I could tell somehow it was injured but how? I guess it was one of the dogs. I walked away to put the pitch for up and as I turned around to see if had moved, it was gone! Sadie my dog who was right behind me had picked it up and was now running around the back yard with it shaking it wildly. (I really need to get her a toy). If it wasn’t dead it is now.
Now I don’t like it when a dog kills an Animal but…… then I noticed a silver hen limping with a huge gouge taken out of her back I realized I had came just in the nick of time. I would have to bet money it was the possum who had done this. I tended to my hen and got her fixed up with pine tar, water and lots of scratch that she wasn’t interested in. I picked up the dead, very dead possum and placed it in a feed bag and disposed of it in the compost pile.
Back to the earth where you were born my dear possum back to the earth.
The Wisdom of Ann and Ed:
Farm wisdom #2, in the summer when cleaning up the wood pile, never reach your hand or body part where ya can’t see it. Snakes love wood piles.
Farm Wisdom #3 if an Ewe rejects her lamb, take the lamb in the house, clean it up, feed it keep it warm and raise it as your own. Because it is yours.