Saturday, January 19, 2008

Perspective changes

Living on a farm certainly changes your perspective about certain things. When I was younger, I thought raccoons were adorable, the book "Rascal" was one of my favorites as a child. My mother even used to go so far as to buy children's cereal to feed the raccoons that lived in her yard (even I thought that was a little crazy.)

However moving to a farm has changed the whole cuteness factor for raccoons at this point. Now I think they're nasty, brutish creatures, and we actually trap and kill any we can. Raccoons are smart opportunists. If you leave grain in a big garbage can, they'll not only rip the top off (bungee cord or no bungee cord), and eat the grain, they'll also defecate on what they haven't eaten so as to completely ruin it. Raccoon have small little paws that resemble nothing so much as human hands. They are very dexterous, and can put those little paws through holes smaller than you'd think. They are vicious, and will kill and eat anything they can reach, even pulling chickens out of cages piece by piece and eating them alive.

I don't care for raccoons any more. Or skunks, or possums, or stoats, weasels, or minks for that matter. Varmints who want to kill my chickens do not warm the cockles of my heart, no matter how cute their little faces may be. A live trap and a rifle work really well for me (to be honest, for my husband.)

The year we found them killing chickens (before we covered every pen with hardware cloth), my husband trapped and killed 30 raccoons in 30 days. It became a routine. He'd come home from work early in the morning (he works a night shift), check the trap, kill the raccoon, and take the carcass out to the hill in the west pasture. It got so that every morning there'd be a flock of buzzards waiting in the tree for him to bring them their breakfast. We took to calling that big oak the Buzzard's Cafe, and actually started to like the buzzards for how efficient they were at cleaning up the carcasses. Funny how your perspective can change about things when your situation changes as well.

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