A friend of mine asked that I post this blog. It is found among my other ramblings on Facebook. She has heard the story verbally so many times. Since she is not a FB user I'm posting it here for everyone. It is not to be used against me at dinner parties, happy hour or any other social occasion where laughing at Dawn would seem appropriate. I do lots and lots of things that make others laugh at me, this would only be added ammunition that would go to waste. Anyway...here it is...my recollection of the night the cat came a visiting....
Originally posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009.
Ah the trials of life in the woods. Last week I was rudely awakened by the swquacking of the ducks. I'm guessing it was only one duck but she was loud and annoying. I tried to ignore it, thinking she was trying to fight off the drakes or get the best bed in the house. Turns out that wasn't the case at all. After several annoying minutes of the noise, I got my bum out of bed to see what the big deal was. Our duck's pen sits directly behind our bedroom and bathroom. They are in an enclosed pen about 12' long and 10' wide. The pen is made up of chain link dog panels and covered with mesh. It use to be open but we had a problem with an owl dropping in and getting snacks. The pen is about 8' from the backside of the house so it is easy to see from the bedroom and bathroom windows. I chose to look out the bathroom window, since I was getting out of bed I might as well take care of business while I'm up. I did remember to put on my glasses, I sometimes get the idea that my horrible eyesight will clear up with a couple of hours of sleep. I looked out the window and caught sight of a large tail moving from one side of the pen to the other. Even with my vision corrected I made an incorrect assumption as to what this animal was. I ran back into the bedroom and shook Shel awake and told her there was a coyote in the duck pen. Shel springs up and throws on some clothes and grabs the 9mm pistol from the nightstand and heads downstairs. She didn't say much to me, seemed a bit annoyed that she had to wake up so fast. Shel's wake up process is usually long and deliberate. As she is heading down the stairs I look again outside. It is then I notice that the coyote is not, instead it is mountain lion and he is frantically pacing the pen with a drake in his mouth. I see no other ducks and the swquacking has stopped. I run out of the bathroom and yell to Shelly that it is not a coyote but a cat. Shelly says, "Awh, I don't want to kill one of our cats." She's thinking it is one of the ranch cats, domestic short hairs. I squawk at her telling her it is a big cat, a mountain lion. She comes back up the stairs and gets a different gun. We look out the window together and try to come up with a plan. Shel suggests shooting at it through the screen but when I agree with her she changes her mind and takes the rifle outside. She opts to stand at the corner of the house on the deck. This puts her about 20' away. She asks several times if the animal is still in the pen to which I yell out of the bathroom window that it is. She finally takes aim and snaps off a shot at the big cat. The cat gets scared and is now frantically trying to find a way out of the enclosure. I yell at Shelly and tell her that she missed. Shelly yells back in argument. She fiddles with the gun and fires again. This time the cat finds a way out. The lumbering feline is over the fence and back up the mountain. Shelly comes back in the house, still amazed that she missed...twice. No matter I tell her, and head outside to survey the scene. I take the flashlight out and check out the house and the nesting boxes. No birds. I'm trying to figure out a way to break it to the child that we have lost birds....again. As I'm muddling through the fog in my head, Shelly speaks from the bathroom window, telling me that Gizmo the swquacking hen is behind the house. I check it out and see that she is there, seemingly unharmed. Shelly must come out now and help me retrieve the duck. When Shelly enters the pen she hands me the pistol. I've been out her with a flashlight in slippers with no clothes. I would have rather had a jacket or something a bit softer than a pistol. Anyway, Shelly moves the house and grabs the duck who has no objections. We start to head back to the house when I notice some black and white feathers under a pile of straw. I tell Shelly to wait, that I think I see Goosey. Shelly gets a tear in her voice when she asks if she's okay. I move the straw a bit and Goosey tries to hide more. Shel picks her up and we look again for the other duck. There are no more ducks. We assume that the cat feasted on one and that we caught him with the other. We run the girls into the house and check for holes. Goosey has some blood coming from her breast and between her wings. Not sure how to doctor a duck we set the two girls up in a dog crate for the evening and go to bed. Goosey ends up seeing the vet the next day. She gets a week of antibiotics and some staples. I get laughed at for bringing a duck to the vet. Gizmo is appears fine. Both hens get a lukewarm bath the afternoon after the ordeal and have to stay in the house until Goosey's staples come out. Having ducks in the house icky. They stink, they have feathers, and they make noise. The cats are fascinated and Bertha dog is annoyed. Shelly spends the week following the "attack" repeating her heroism about town and making excuses for why she missed a big target from such a short distance. We both intentionally leave out the fact that the pen was directly in line with the propane tank. We get through the week of giving a duck a pill and twice daily cleaning up stinky duck poo newspapers from the bottom of the dog crate. Everything is going swimmingly until yesterday. One week and one day after the backyard massacre, I'm in the bathroom and happen to glance out the window. I see this black headed duck sitting in front of the little house. He's just sitting there. It doesn't click with me. I'm getting angry with Shelly for not getting that darn dead duck out of the pen. I'm thinking this guy has been in there for a week and now it's going to be stinky. It takes a few moments for it to set in. This is not the dead duck. This is the duck that we thought was the appetizer. I yell at Shelly to come into the bathroom and look. She tells me my cream is in the cabinet...just kidding. She comes in and takes a peek out the window and then scampers outside to get the guy. The drake is fine, no marks. He is now inside with the girls helping to contribute to the smell. I have no idea where he was for a week. Jolene stated that it was a miracle, when she heard the news. I don't know about miracle, lately it just seems like normal stuff around here.