trapped!

This summer we rebuilt the back patio. I should say, Jeff built a patio while Ed and Charlie built a potting shed. We enjoyed their talents and watched the project unfold. It all turned out perfectly. There’s a cozy fireplace, a soothing waterfall, and a quaintly appointed cedar-lined shed, all creating a sheltered, quiet space to refresh and relax.

We were so relieved to be able to keep the grand-maple tree — after a professional thinning and trimming. It creates just the right blend of shade and filtered sunlight through the heat of the day. Finally, we stumbled upon furniture in an end-of-season sale all but designed for this space. We were all set!

Except, of course, that we are farm folk, surrounded by acres of field and forest. As you might imagine, we have occasional, unwelcome visitors of the furred variety.

One afternoon, I uncovered the patio furniture to discover that someone had been sleeping there. One cushion was covered with long-ish, obviously animal, hair. Ugh! It totally freaked me out. (We don’t have pets for good reason.) I cleaned it up and informed the Hubs, “You must set a trap!”

We pondered who might have cozied up under the cover, sheltering from the rain. Not likely our friend Nutsy, the chipmunk. He couldn’t produce that much hair in a year! A raccoon? Possibly. There were worse contemplations, by far. The next evening The Hubs spotted the most likely culprit in a stray Tom cat. From whence did he appear? We hadn’t any cats around for nearly a year! Hmmm.

Well, whoever it was would have to go. The Hubs produced two have-a-heart traps, added marshmallows for raccoon insurance, and we waited. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Early on the third morning, I heard a noise outside the bedroom window just before dawn. “Good/bad news,” I texted the Hubs, a couple of hours later. “Trap worked. It’s a skunk.” He was well into a long day by then and this did not improve it any. Fortunately, one of the chids had no qualms about skunk removal and provided service. There is a bit of a technique to it. ;=)

A day or two later, I’d nearly forgotten we were trapping when the Hubs discovered a raccoon in residence. He was plump and healthy, even cute. If it weren’t for a distinct paw print on one cushion, I might have judged him innocent. I offered a few choice words and bid him well in his new home, several miles distant. Ah, the pleasure of a property owner: (re)moving pests.

Good golly, what will be next? I’m neither sure that we caught our culprit nor that traps are our solution. We’ve not seen hide nor hair of that darn cat! But I sure have been thinking about traps lately — or rather, how to avoid them. I’m well aware I might step in one unaware, if not for divine protection!

But my eyes are fixed on you, Lord;
in you I take refuge…
Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers,
from the snares they have laid for me.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by in safety. Psalm 141

~René Morley

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