Thursday, December 17, 2015

Knock Knock

Saturday I turned the handle and opened the door to the corncrib (refashioned as a crude garage) to look for a tool. The problem with having several buildings is that there can be several places for things to hide. As I was looking on my workbench, my eye caught the sight of a large, furry shape curled up on a mat next to the wall.

I froze, not because I was afraid (okay, maybe a little bit), but I thought perhaps I had been able to enter the building without waking the animal from its slumber. That was unlikely, as I can be quite noisy when I enter a room, and my rummaging on the bench would have roused a bear from its state of hibernation. As I studied the animal I surmised that it was a raccoon in a deep slumber or possibly dead.

I retreated to the barn to get something with a long pole and a sturdy implement. Although I considered getting a shotgun, I felt that it wouldn’t be very sporting of me. When I returned to the corncrib, I was not surprised to find that the fur had not moved. I gave it a nudge or two with the business end of a shovel without any response. I then flipped it over for closer inspection. The animal had buried its head beneath its plump body as it surrendered to its fate.

Although I have prematurely ended the life of varmints I have found trespassing in my buildings, I felt no satisfaction in finding this large predator who died without much effort on my part. I am not a hunter, nor do I judge those who do. I will, however, protect the defenseless birds in the barn. That has meant doing battle with weasels, skunks, possums, muskrats, fox, coyotes and raccoons. One afternoon I even witnessed an osprey enjoying a chicken dinner in the barnyard. As birds of prey are not within my sights, I watched as if I was viewing a nature program. The bird eventually flew away (the osprey that is – that chicken never flew again).

I concluded that the raccoon had become trapped in the corncrib after I repaired a large hole near the foundation. It was the largest trap I had ever set, albeit unwittingly.

I carried him up to the house on the shovel, as I wanted to show my kids whom were coming over later in the day. I wasn’t trying to show off any trophy of my exploits, but rather to let everyone see what comes up from the woods and ravines near our farm.

I had a couple projects I needed help with and both my son and son-in-law are handier than I am. One of the tasks involved a bathroom door that wasn’t latching properly. The door would close, but it wouldn’t lock or latch, which considering what goes on in a bathroom, isn’t ideal.

I had got used to this situation, but now that the kids have their own homes and a new perspective it was brought to my attention that perhaps twenty years is long enough for a door that won’t latch. Plus, there is a twenty month old child who, when he comes to visit, sees nothing wrong with pushing a door open at the most inopportune moments.

Using a drill, hammer and chisel, they were able to correct the problem. I now have to get used to the new way of opening the bathroom door on the inside. Instead of a gentle pull, a turn of the handle is now required. It’s a good thing I can know how to do that; otherwise I could become trapped in there.

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