Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Gopher Tail End (Buahhhahha)

Gopher Saga (part 2) by Carol Serpico AKA the Gopher Huntress

Sunday, July 24, 2011- Requests for my rodent pest control service have been coming from as far as Tehachapi, Westchester, and Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Yes, news of my successful gopher trapping has traveled fast…..thanks to Facebook, LeAnn, and cyberspace. Which is why I couldn’t give up on Gopher hole #3. This one, wiley, whiskered wodent was weally wiping me out!!! For seven days I had repeatedly placed traps down both of its semi-vertical and lateral tunnels using what our friend, Carlos would describe as the “arm down the hole up to the elbow or shoulder” method as he often sees his wife using in similar lawn battles. Doulas and large animal veterinarians can somewhat relate to this concept. Knowing that a gopher can exert up to 18,000 pounds of pressure per square inch with its bite, only magnifies the serious nature of …..GOPHER HUNTING…and places great risk upon me, the Gopher Huntress, as I place these devices underground. The thin chamois leather gloves offer a false sense of protection during this placement step, but they might keep a few germs from getting under the nails. Dear Lord, if it be Your will…please let me catch this gopher.

Now some of you may think…Carol is one sick woman….(again, I’m reminded there is more than one definition of “sick” nowadays). Allow me to explain….please???? I have witnessed my horse galloping around my back acreage, severely fall, and actually do a somersault. It is the only time I have seen this gymnastics maneuver performed by a horse. Why? One of his hoofs (hooves?) had gone into a gopher, rabbit, or ground squirrel hole!!! Then, only last week, my hubby was standing on a step stool working on removing a hook from our house stucco, when….faster than you can say, “Bob’s your uncle” he was lying on the ground…his glasses had fallen off…and his foot was caught up in the bottom of the stool…(for a split second I thought—a giant human trap)…I feared he was hurt. “Why did he fall?” you ask. One of the stool legs had sunk into a gopher hole!!!! A gopher HOLE I tell ye!!! Hearing him say, “I’m alright,” produced a great sigh of relief out of me. It was immediately followed by a great deal of laughter upon discovering that his back had landed squarely onto a pile of…um…. doggie stools (or cumquats). I have greater fear now when I am atop the 10 foot ladder, trimming trees, with the electric saw in hand, hoping the front lawn doesn’t give way under one of the ladder feet!!

Anyhoooooo! I have decided to try the BIG TRAP   this time, known to hunters as …....the BLACK BOX.

Now, the BLACK BOX can only be used in a BIG tunnel.   I had to use a BIG shovel to open up a BIG area.   It also needs to have 4 inches of clearance above the box….  for when the mechanism is triggered. I placed the open end of the BLACK BOX snugly against the opening of the lateral tunnel, then gingerly placed an old maroon bath towel over the construction site. (Out of the towel crawled the biggest BLACK Widow I’ve ever seen)…the IRONY!!!……note to self: don’t leave car-washing towels outside to dry for more than a month. Bleeeh-eh-eh-eh!!... I promptly squashed him with my shoe. (I’m reminded of the times…back in “the day” when I used to get the eebie jeebies just crushing an ant with my finger….okay, Carol, stay focused)
So….I felt like such a kid…..I had to peek under the towel twice today……but Gopher #3 was laying low, keepin’ on the down-low…..snoozin’ for a bruisin’…
Neener Neener Neener!!
Monday, July 25- I got up…again…with that ole’ ….”can’t wait to check the BLACK BOX” excitement…….decided I’d better eat breakfast first….then I eagerly jogged to the “construction site—building a better front yard”. I sheepishly pinched one corner of the car towel, and threw it back (still a little eebie jeebie-ish from the BLACK WIDOW yesterday). I grabbed a firm hold of the new hay baling cord, which I had attached to the BLACK BOX contraption yesterday, and felt a new added weight. My eyes caught a glimpse of fur in the early morning light…and then,……”YES! A BACK END AND TAIL!!!” A new hymn came to mind, “Hallelujah, ……..hallelujah, hallelujah!”

Just as a fisherman measures his catch…and takes pictures of it….just as a deer hunter counts the points on the antlers and mounts it on the wall…..the GOPHER HUNTRESS took measurements and pictures to note this momentous occasion.

I will spare you…unless my editor requests these.
[She does not wish to see the gory proof-- we take your word for it]
Don’t worry, I am not one of those hunters who likes taxidermy. I do not find the stuffed JACKALOPES amusing. If you have never seen one of these, then you haven’t traversed through enough antique shops. In case someone (like a daughter of mine) doesn’t know what a Jackalope is, I’ll tell you. It’s when the bored mid-west farmer has a little spare time on his hands, so he takes a dead rabbit, adds tiny antlers to it, stuffs/preserves it, and mounts it into a decorative, usually seated position…. for visitors to his farmhouse to admire and question.

So, I know the Lord loves a cheerful giver. I released the dead gopher into the large half-moon 2007 gopher war-zone section by the circular driveway.

Within the hour, the raven that lives in the pine trees next door hobbled over. It has an injured leg and wing.  It was… probably shot at by a c r u e l bird hunter last year.
I’ll spare you any more details to my story.
The raven was happy, and I was….well…..I was cheerful.

July 31, 2011- I am currently battling GOPHER #5.
[Final note from LeAnn-- she is still catching more gophers.  You will have to check out her facebook page.]

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