Sunday, March 25, 2007

What I did on my Spring Break

Teachers always get those "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essays, so, I guess, this is my retaliation. Actually, I write one of these almost every year; I'm just upholding a tradition!

Let's see--I began the break by grading papers (so what else is new?). But, on Saturday, my plum trees arrived, so I planted them. One is a Victoriana, which is an English plum, self-fertilizing. This one is a dwarf, which means it will only grow to be about 5 or 6 feet tall. The other plum tree is a Stanley that I hope will help fertilize the other two plums I have on my property. The Stanley is also a dwarf. After a week, they've already started to leaf, so I guess I planted them okay.

For most of my break, I spent half the day grading papers and the other half knitting, cleaning or cooking. I finished two pairs of socks, a baby sweater, a pair of baby booties, and a shrug. But then I started two other pairs of socks. I still have a couple of sweaters, but those always take longer to finish.

I did get the car inspected! Hooray for me; and I worked at the bookstore one day. I edited three transcripts for my friends at the art gallery.

The weirdest thing happened on Wednesday, around 1am. I was sitting on the couch, knitting, when I heard something chomping down the cat food as though it was starved. I figured it was one of the stray cats that sneaks into the house every once in a while, but my cats weren't fussing as they usually do. I leave the door to the washroom open during the day and into the evening (until I go to bed) so I don't have to get up a hundred times to let cats in and out. The screen in the storm door to the outside was busted out when I bought the house, and I haven't fixed it. The cats can go in and out through that.

I got up and quietly walked through the kitchen and around the bar; just as I rounded the end of the bar, I saw the back end of a possum exit out the kitchen door.

I had seen the possum's back end once before. One evening, as I pulled into my carport, I saw its back end going over the ramp that runs up to the laundry room.

The possum doesn't seem to be afraid of the cats and the cats don't know what to make of the possum. They don't run away from each other; the cats just don't know what kind of critter this is.

So, my dilemma was to find a way to block the possum from getting into the house while allowing the cats to go in and out. I found some tall boards to block the bottom half of the doorway. The cats can jump over them, but the possum can't climb over--or, at least, it hasn't yet.

I've tried to get a picture of it, but, believe it or not, possums move pretty quickly when they want to get away. One day, maybe I'll manage, and I will post the picture here on the blog.

I spent the entire break working in one capacity or another, but I still managed to relax a bit. I'm not sure I'm ready for classes to begin again, but, this too shall end very soon. I'd like to say I'll have a relaxing summer, but, if my summer class makes, I'll be driving 90 miles a day to teach one class. Sigh! I guess the wicked really don't get a rest.


CrackHeadforTennis said...

I still envy you because you can knit clothes. Yes ma'am, my mind works that way. I don't know why, but it's worth it because I love your comments about my blogs. A possum in your house. That's scary. I think you can last more than 30 seconds in my head. See ya' in class on Tuesday. Where is May?

Shardai Dill

Chaos ReDefined said...

I was piddling around on the internet and reading over your blog when I decided that you might know the answer to a question that I have. Since you seem to be like a connoisoir of trees. lol. Do you know what type of trees are around campus that have the beautiful white leaves that are so pretty. They are very abundant back home and I really think they are amazing. You definitely should have went to the Forest Hill Nursery Festival. I heard it was awesome!

I did plan on getting you some stuffed bread btw but as fate would have it I think it will be a while because of Jazz Fest coming around in April. Last year we made 500 cases (7,500 loaves) and sold out so this year we're going to double that!

Wow! Possums they are crazy. I sit on my porch at home a lot just to read or think. I like going out at night. You'd be surprised at the stuff you see just sitting on your front porch. My dog saw something that he really liked and chased that possum up under our neighbors house. Thank God they weren't there! It took me like 30 minutes to get him to come back home.

And speaking of crazy animal antics, I thought this might intrigue you. . .I was sitting on my bed talking to my mom when in the corner of my eye I see this weird looking rat or something. Well, it was my cat with a huge bird in her mouth. I swear she's on crack or something. She sits in the trees and preys on birds and squirrels. The squirrels are a little bit luckier due to their speed but I'm telling you one day she's going to catch one!

Well, I'm going to go and try to fall asleep. See you on Tuesday! Have a great weekend! ahhhh papers papers. I know!

Anonymous said...

Funny – personally, I would probably have been excited to have such a visitor and would have looked forward to his returning.

I was in a hotel parking lot between Dallas and Fort Worth a couple weeks ago and saw a possum. Poor thing had been hit. One eye and side of his head was damaged and a leg was damaged. He moved slowly and limped badly. It was very sad and pathetic. It was too dark under the street lights to see if he was terminal. He certainly would have been if he stayed in the open.

I've never been up close and personal with possums before, but expected him to resent my presence enough to bite me if I got close enough. You never know how fast a hurt, wild creature can still move. So, I kept my distance for several minutes trying to evaluate the critter. He made no move toward or away from me. I decided it would be in his best interest to at least get him out of the way of potential traffic, so I looked for something I could use to help push him off to the side. He still made no attempt to defend himself, but he let me direct his rambling to a safer place.

It may be that he had just been hit when I found him, because as time progressed he seemed less dazed. If I hadn’t been out of town, I would have taken him home to nurse him. I stayed with him for probably 30 minutes to an hour talking to him. I’ve seen before what a difference it can make to an animal to sit with them during a very stressful situation. It comforts them and helps to keep them from despair, giving them hope the strength to fight and live. I don’t know if I helped any, but it did seem as though he slowly regained some of his wits.

His behavior was so mild and calm that I eventually dared to touch him. I was quite surprised to learn how soft he was. Their grey hair (fur?) looks course. I was even more surprised to feel how terribly gaunt he was.

A long day, a late night – there was no point in staying with the possum any longer. He (she?) went his way weaving around the wheels of the parked vehicles, and I went to my room.

The next day I looked for him, but saw no sign of him. I hope he recovered.

There have been many times I’ve nursed an animal back to health only to have them die shortly of something else. One place we lived, this time of year we called “maggot season.” As the weather started to get hot, the flies seemed to try to make up for lost time (winter). Every year we had about two weeks where if any animal had so much as a scratch or sat still too long (like newborn rabbits), it was susceptible to becoming the nest of the filthy bugs. Try as you might, it was impossible to pick out every last maggot before it poisoned the animal to death.

So much horror and sadness. How do we bear it all?