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Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Not-So-Still Night

Some time ago, at about 3 AM one morning, I was awakened by the most godawful racket coming from the back yard. It sounded like all the chickens were on high alert, clucking, crowing and carrying on, and there was another high-pitched other-worldly growly sound, too, that I didn't recognize. I was pretty sure we had either been invaded by aliens or Sam and the girls had completely lost their minds. So intrepid soul that I am, I shook Mr. G awake and told him to go out and investigate (Mr. G. had been sleeping soundly- I don't know what kind of noise it would take to wake him up, he has slept through tornado sirens, gale force winds, babies crying- he is a VERY sound sleeper). I hunkered in the bed and hollered after him, "You'd better take the broom or something!" I don't know why I think the broom is an effective weapon against any and all threats- maybe I figure if all else fails, we can fly away on it or something.

So out he went into the cold, dark night, armed with the broom. More noise: louder noise, snarling, hissing, scratching, clammering noise. Then it was quiet. Mr. G. came back to bed. "It was only a possum," he said, "I think it's been staying in the shed." I was slightly relieved to hear there were no aliens, but was alarmed that Mr. G KNEW (if he says he "thinks" something, it means he "knows" something) there was a possum in the shed and hadn't told me. I had, after all, heard all kinds of terrible things about possums and chicken coops. Needless to say, I was still awake, listening for any more signs of distress in the back yard, long after Mr. G had gone back to snoring peacefully.

So I started reading up on possums and found out some interesting stuff about them at this
site and decided maybe they weren't really ugly and bad, just hungry.

We didn't hear any more from the possum, and I didn't see him again, until a couple of weeks ago. I had been putting leftovers out on the deck in the evening for Sam and the girls and the cats. One night, I turned on the deck light to step outside and caught sight of a possum running off the deck. I started watching for him after that, and as soon as he'd see me, off he'd run. Until last week. He actually let me step outside, camera in hand, to take a picture while he finished up his meal. It was really dark, and I didn't want to get too close and spook him, so the picture isn't as clear as it could be. He finished up his meal, washed his little hands, then scurried off. He's been back every night since- sometimes accompanied by a cat or two. Evidently cats and possums get along fairly well together. I've named him Percy Possum. I'm not about to get really friendly with him, so we keep our distance from each other, but I figure if he stays well fed for the duration of his short little life, he's less likely to try getting in the chicken coop. Here he is- isn't he kind of cute?