Sunday, July 24, 2011

Carol: The Gopher Huntress

In the interest of proving to the world that I am NOT the only crazy  odd weird eccentric   quirky person around here we have another guest blogger today:  Carol Serpico.  I was compelled to ask her to tell her story because she has been making multiple posts on facebook about The Great Gopher War of 2011 and I thought this just was something that needed to be told.  At the time of this posting the War continues.... lucky for the gophers Carol goes back to work in another month..... 

And so I give you...........      Gopher Saga – Part 1 by Carol Serpico AKA the Gopher Huntress

I have been called many things like Mom, Honey, Nana, and Carol (and others)….but new names are emerging…..Gopha Wrangla, Gopher Whisperer, Gopher Guru, Gopher Hunter, and my personal favorite….”Gopher Huntress”. The Antelope Valley, in my neck of the desert, is now known as Death Valley (kind of like….uh…Sister Cities, if you will).

Sunday, July 17, 2011      It all started when my husband went away. I thought, “I’ll surprise him, and thin out the huge Sycamore trees on our front yard. Oooohhh…that will be fun to use the electric saw, and the job will go quicker!” I finished that job….and it took all day. Then I noticed the brown patches of grass….er…dirt…amongst the clumps of green. Thar’ be gophers still churning up the underworld!!! Sure, Phil had recently been tossing smoking dynamite-like sticks into gopher, ground squirrel, and rabbit burrows. I had sprinkled gopher pellets into a couple of tunnels, but it begged the question, “How do we really know if there’s been…A KILL????” I did some exterior stucco patching on the house….to mentally prepare for what ….was…..about to begin………..drum roll…………….wait for it………THE GOPHER SAGA!!!!!
There were three mounds of dirt that kept emerging on our only semi-good section of our front lawn every morning. We would water them down or use a shovel to spread the dirt and rocks. Even our 2 (almost 3) year old grandson would ask for Nana’s little shovel when he would see a mound of dirt. He sure loved to shovel the dirt onto the concrete driveway… helpful… ;) . The main holes were given the very creative names of Hole #1, Hole #2, and the eastern most hole was….you guessed it…Hole #3. I proceeded to set a trap in each, camouflaging the opening with a brick and some iris leaves.

At the start of gopher hunting season (which is whenever I am not working…and I’m procrastinating from doing a necessary domestic responsibility), I feel a teensy weensy bit of guilt as I haul out the big guns.

Then I read about my pastor going fishing. I sing the song (in my head) about,”…all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small…all things wise and won-der-ful…the Lord God made them all…” and the guilt dissipates rapidly.

Monday morning, July 18, 2011—I awakened like a child on Christmas morning…excited to go out and check the traps. I decided it might be best to eat breakfast,… first,…though. Alrighty then! Gingerly stepping across to the west side of the lawn, I knelt beside Gopher #1’s hole. I pulled on the hay bale cord which is attached to the trap, and little threads started to break from the cord. Oh, my! That would be tragic, I’d best replace this cord….should I need to reset this trap. One more slight tug, and out popped the Victor Gopher trap, without so much as a whisker on it!!!! I stomped over to Hole #2, scooped out the loosened earth that the little critter had sealed his entrance with to block out the dastardly desert winds, and HOLY GOPHER HAIR …I pulled out Gopher #2!!!! YAHOOOO!

 I flung the gopher, with trap still attached, into the dirt half-moon section by the circular driveway….it used to be a beautiful grassy area…until the gopher invasion of 2007, but that folks….is another story. Marching on to Hole #3, I pulled the trap out and “Nada!” It is now that I recorded these events briefly to my Facebook journal for those that like to read (by choice or mistake) and so I can vent and get some typing practice.

I meandered back to reset my Victor device in Hole #1, and much to my amazement, shock, and awe….the green-loving gopher had already closed its front door!!! This is when I must stick the water hose down, to reopen all tunnels, and carefully insert the trap without triggering it on an underground root or one of my fingers. I also reset Hole #3’s trap with not one, but TWO this time. Did you know that a gopher has one main tunnel which usually is about 6 feet long going down at a 45 degree angle. A lateral tunnel connects to it closer to the main entrance/exit which the critter uses to remove dirt from his underground cavity. I set one trap in each of these two main arteries.

My hubby came home for lunch. I shared my kill with him….”No! Heavens NO!!!! I mean, I told him all about the hunt. I explained that I saved the honor of releasing Gopher #2 from the trap, for him. He was….well……honored!!!! Who gets to do THAT every day. Hey, hey, hey!!! Some of my friends, by the way, came up with some clever dishes for possible future meals…..Gopher on a Stick, Gopher Quiche, Beer Battered Deep Fried Furry Cheek Pouched Gopher, and Chocolate Covered G-dude. Yeah….sick-minded people (use your own definition of “sick”). Remember, I didn’t come up with these entrees….sorry, this story is not for the faint of heart.

They Look All Innocent.......  Don't Be Fooled!!
 Tomorrow………….is……another day!!!!

1 comment:

ltlrags said...

I have shared your battle, Carol. Dastardly little critters! I can't wait to hear more tails [sic].