Just because we moved out to the country a couple years back does NOT mean we want to run a farm. Tending to animals is just not how we want to spend our time. We don't want cows or sheep or chickens. We don't want hogs or ducks. We don't even want a dog or a cat to train.
OK, so my wife says that she wants a cat, but that's only because she knows I won't have anything to do with it. I suspect that if I ever said, "OK, you win. Let's get a cat", she would run screaming down the stairs pulling at her hair and just keep on running... causing damage to the stairway carpet, not to mention the window at the bottom of the staircase.
We don't want a parrot or a rabbit or a hamster or even a mouse.
But when you live in the country, you have pets, whether you like it or not.
The first summer, we were welcomed by Muffet the skunk. Although she never responded to that name, we let her keep it. She just loved our compost heap. In fact, she had a frequent-eater pass at the all-you-can-eat compost buffet.
The second summer we were skunk-free, but this summer we were blessed with a new traveling perfume salesman. We did not name him, but we have determined that he is on a diet. He stays away from the all-you-can-eat compost buffet.
He is also much less intelligent than Muffet. When we see him, we jump and shout and wave our hands to get his attention,. But we usually have to get his attention three or four times before something in his microbe-sized brain clicks in and says, "Wait a minute. That's not the hot dog vendor beckoning me to clean up his leftovers. Maybe I should turn around."
But he is smart enough provide a two-tier burglar deterent. First, he drives them away with his odor. "Peee-ew. Let's go rob the Jensons down the road." Second he digs thousands of tiny pits all over the lawn to trip any burglar foolish enough to try to escape.
And to answer your question, no I did not personally verify the gender of these skunks. But you are free to check if you doubt my word.
This summer, we discovered an exotic spider (See http://www.vitamin-supplements-store.net/spider.html ). Painted on its inch-long black back are two bright yellow eyes. Spooky. We even watched it wrap its prey – a small, light brown flying thingy. With amazing speed, the spider scurried from the center of her web toward the helpless victim at least a foot away. Then in a matter of two seconds flat, the spider spun the fly around three or four times, weaving it into a web cocoon like rolling a corpse in a carpet behind Luigi's Fine Finer and Smokes. No gangster could have operated with one tenth the speed.
Just a few hours ago, I was proud to show off a bees nest over a foot tall hanging from a low branch in our One Acre Woods.
"Wow. It's just like in Winnie the Pooh!" That was Little Lady, now 3 years and 3 months old.
"Destroy it. There must be thousands of bees in there!" That was my wife.
The fact is that I have had to destroy four bees nests in the past three weeks, all between the stones in our foundation. I am not keen to drive the bees away from their forest nest and toward the house. In fact, I think I'll post an arrow sign near the house pointing to the forest: "Cheap rent. Spacious hive. Vibrant community."
So far, we've avoided the pets inside the house – we won't discuss the "storm trooper ants incident" or the midnight mouse-trap peanut-butter visits – and we have kept the hogs and sheep at bay (although the chickens sheepishly crawl through the fence and the stray cats like to run hog wild around our land).
No pets, perhaps. But you still have to share your space with skunks and spiders and bees when you live in the country.
Coming soon to a humor column near you: How I adopted 14,673 cluster flies on a Tuesday afternoon....without even breaking into a sweat.
David Leonhardt publishes The Happy Guy humor column:
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