Monday, April 7, 2008

A Creature in our Barn!

Can you guess what these big teeth and claws belong to? Scroll down......

And down.............

A scary scary possum!

Last weekend we decided to clean out the barn and install some really nice steel shelves that we got from work. They are reorganizing things there and wanted rid of them. Of course we had to buy them, they were going to scrap them but decided to charge us for them when they found out someone wanted them.

When we pulled a bunch of stuff out of the corner we found a big pile of leaves back there that had an indentation where an animal had been sleeping. The nest was made almost entirely of oak leaves. It was so strange because there are no trees close to the barn, let alone oak trees. Really strange. I've never researched nest building by possums but if I did I guess I would find out that they prefer oak leaves. It had to take forever for that possum to carry all those leaves there.

This is what the corner looked like before and below is what it looked like after we put in our shelves! The shelves are really great. We have so many building supplies but we can never find them. Almost invariable we have to to the hardware to buy supplies when we know we have them lost somewhere in the barn. Now we can find everything!

After we saw the pile of leaves we thought the creature was gone (it being daylight and all) but then Kevin saw a movement of white out of the corner of his eye and saw the possum trying to hide. He wanted some gloves so he could catch it but of course the state of the barn being what it was we could not find any so he said "Forget it , I'll just catch it with no gloves". He looked for something long like a big screwdriver or something and I was afraid he would hurt it which was crazy cause it had the potential to hurt our chickens. He said he wasn't going to hurt it but I didn't want to watch cause I was afraid it was going to bite him so I hurried out of the barn and listened.

After some scuffling sounds and a little commotion he came walking out of the barn victorious, possum in hand! He used the long piece of steel to keep it away from his hand. It kept trying to climb up it's own body to bite him but it was so slow moving it was easy for Kevin to keep it at bay.

You can see from the pictures that he would just gently keep pushing his head back down.

We took her over to the woods and let her go. I don't know why I thought it was a girl but it just seemed like it was female. It did not seem vicious at all. Just kind of slow and sweet. I just kept thinking it might have babies in her little pouch. If she comes back we are going to take her far away to West Branch State Park. It is about a mile away, too far for a possum to find it's way back, and she will not be able to hurt our chickens! Nor will all the babies that are in her pouch.

There is a video below of when we let her go. She ran straight to a tree and scurried into a hole at the base of the tree. Kevin noticed that half of it's tail was missing, you can see in the picture where it looks funny at the end.

It was a beautiful weekend, in the 60's and sunny so we worked and got a lot done in the barn and with the chickens. I cleaned out the bottom of the chicken feeder where a lot of powder from the feed had accumulated. The chickens did not want to eat it so I presumed it was stale or whatever. I put it in a big tub and set in the chicken yard for them to peck at if they wanted. Well after a minute or so I looked over and a hen turkey had decided to take a dust bath in it. And then the other one joined her.

She spread the feed everywhere! The chickens did come and peck at it now and then so it wasn't all wasted.
She really enjoyed the bath. We want to make a covered area for them to bath in. I read that using sand and wood ashes is really good because the ashes keep pests away. We also built a new door and fixed the fence that seperates the yard from the chickens. There was a spot on the fence that was low so that we could step over to get into the pen but Puppy could easily jump over it so we had to fix it. She was eating eggs and it wasn't too bad until she got a turkey egg and then it had to stop! I just love the new door. We keep it open most of the day so they can wander the yard. Everyday when Kevin and I get home from work (weather permitting), we get a cup of coffee and sit on the back deck and watch the chickens. Blissful.

Here is the view from the deck, I just went out and took the picture, kinda gloomy and chilly today but all in all the grass is greening up and I love it.

Below is a candid shot of Kevin relaxing and watching the chickens. We didn't do much relaxing all weekend. He was in the process of making a separate area for our Bronze turkeys. We are really enjoying the process of hatching eggs (we will enjoy it more if they hatch successfully, hatch day is the 20th of April), so we wanted to separate the Bronze from the Palms. The Bronze just started laying so, so far so good. I will keep you posted. (A friend from work gave me seven goose eggs. They are mostly Ebden so they will be the big fat white ones. It will be fun to watch them on our new pond, again, if they hatch.)

When we cleaned out the barn we decided to sell our old buffet. It is beautiful but just too big for our house. The label on the back says it was manufactured in "Gettysburg, Penns". I think that is really cool that it was made in Gettysburg. I'm not sure how old it is. I would love to know more about it.

Check out the possum video below. It is really short. Just a quick shot of her running to the tree.

Finally spring is here. The trees arrived that we ordered so as things gear up we are getting busier and busier.

Have fun everyone, Spring is here!



about the word and the spelling of the word ......


Preferred to "possum" for the American marsupial, except in colloquial context. Do not write 'possum. The correct spelling for the Australian phalanger is possum.

~ National Geographic Style Manual

Word History:

The word opossum takes us back to the earliest days of the American colonies. The settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, was founded in 1607 by the London Company, chartered for the planting of colonies. Even though the first years were difficult, promotional literature was glowing. In one such piece, A True Declaration of the Estate of the Colonie in Virginia, published in 1610, we find this passage: "There are ... Apossouns, in shape like to pigges." This is the first recorded use of opossum, although in a spelling that differs from the one later settled on to reproduce the sound of the Virginia Algonquian word from which our word came. The word opossum and its shortened form possum, first recorded in 1613 in more promotional literature, remind us of a time when the New World was still very new, settlers were few, and the inhabitants for whom the New World was not new, were plentiful.

~The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language,


Robbyn said...

When I was growing up, a possum (er, opossum!)would always come at night to the back porch and eat any leftover dry dog food we had. Dont ever let one of those gals chomp down on you with their teeth, though..they have some of the strongest jaws around, like a pit bull, whew!

I love seeing the pictures of the hens and turkeys. We love your blog and are really sorry it's taken us so long to add you to our blogroll...we did in a recent post at our site; hope that's ok!

Grand Life said...

Just found your blog but will be adding it to my favorites. Loved your newest post on the Opossum. We had a skunk set up housekeeping under our summer home last year and it was unbelievable. I'm thinking of doing a post on it soon. Have a great week.

Twinville said...

I'm seriously enjoying your blog. I know what you mean about bliss and watching chickens. Peopledon't believe me whwn I say it's more relaxing than watching fish.

That 'possum sure did move fast when you let her go! And it was funny to see the video and realize that you were running fast, too. hehe

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

For the first time ever, I heard one "barking" in the woods across from our road. Scared the crap out of me untill I racked my brain waht it could be from. Every 30 seconds, you could hear that strange bark as it got further and urther away.
Last year, we had one that was pregnant and run over in the night. I wish I had taken pictures since you could see the little babies.(I know- how morbid...) It was very interesting to see. Nasty lil' buggers. They have killed many of our chickens over the years untill that pregnant one was run over.