Possums, Co-op, and Photos.
I need some kind of possum repellant spray.
These ugly beasts (or Tools of Satan as we jokingly call them) are terrorizing my backyard! They have ripped the heads off of a few hens over the past few years, and they love to steal eggs. This past summer they ate an entire nest of duck eggs that were close to hatching. Poor Mama Duck was panting and paralyzed with fear in the corner next to her nest under the chicken coop.
The most troublesome part is that my dogs go insane over them! Abby, my black lab mix, is very protective of the chickens and ducks. Last night she got up and kept whining at the door. She has an unresolved diarrhea issue, so I rushed to let her outside only to find that she didn’t have to poop. She went and laid in the rain and mud between the chicken coops and slept there for a few hours until the middle of the night, when she got up and started barking her head off. I can’t leave her to bark all night in our neighborhood. She has a loud piercing bark, I think she’s a shepherd mix.
I went out in the dark, pouring rain, and sticky mud in my pajamas and boots and marched across the yard to discover two possums up in the tree above my brown chicken coop. Abby was freaking out because she couldn’t climb the tree to murder them. Usually my coonhound Hank will corner them and Abby will rip their bellies open and kill them, but last night Hank was in his new crate asleep inside.
We got Hank a new crate that has a different kind of latch on it he hopefully won’t be able to bust open. I’m so exhausted from his antics–running away by climbing the fence, destroying trash and stealing food. He’s super sweet, loving, cute, and bad. Very, very bad. I’ve spent the past seven (!) years training him to be a good dog and he’s come a very long way. He sits, stays, and lays down on command. He’s house trained. He used to pull on your clothes an rip them, knock you over, and poop in the floor and pee onthe walls. (No wonder he was returned to the shelter, right?) He will even reliably walk off leash with you now. He just can’t help his hound beast ways when it comes to taking himself for a run, ripping open and rolling in trash, and eating any and all food/vomit/poop he can find. Truly he needs to be out running with a pack of other hound beasts chasing game or something. I have a theory he was a failure as a hunting dog because he’s terrified of gun shots and thunder.
Anyway, back to the possums. It’s not legal to shoot a gun in a neighborhood, and there are too many of them to trap. They’re such a nuisance! And ugly too, hissing and showing their nasty teeth. *shudder*
Don’t suggest I call animal control. They would laugh and hang up on me. The only time they’ve ever come out is when we had a blind raccoon foaming at the mouth in our yard. It had distemper and my dogs were licking it! Luckily we give the dogs the distemper vaccine from the feed store–it goes in their noses instead of an injection, and I guess it works. You can buy most vaccines, except rabies, at feed stores like Tractor Supply and they are way cheaper than the vet. They sell needles and syringes also. Most of the vaccines just go into the skin on the back of their neck, very easy. The instructions are on the package insert for each vaccine.
When we finally are able to move to the country I will have no mercy for annoying possums! If they know what’s good for them they’ll go find somewhere else to eat other than at my chicken coops. Did I ever tell you all there was a big fat possum on my front porch one night when we came home?? I think the population needs some thinning out! There are way too many to trap and relocate and I don’t want to get bitten. I can’t kill them in town. Frustrating.
Here are last night’s visitors. At least they weren’t hanging by their tails upside down! I ran into one, literally, in the dark hanging upside down one night last year.
There’s a baby one in the flashlight beam and a fat one over on the left kind of hidden.
I spent all day yesterday deep cleaning the living room and kitchen. Rosie has been keeping her room clean and organized for me. Today I intended to do the bathroom, our bedroom, and then tomorrow the back bedroom which now has Christmas stuff and random toys shoved in it because we have a major lack of storage space. But I feel sick and gaggy yet again today and I was up half the night. Maybe I’ll just sit here to prevent vomiting. Ugh. I also am starting to get behind on laundry. It never ends.
I was hoping to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes for lunch. (Big dinner type lunch since Tyler is never home at night.) I’m not sure I feel like moving, let alone squishing raw beef at the moment. Blah. I can’t even remember what it’s like to feel normal. I’m 14 weeks. I have to start feeling better at least most of the time. I’m going to lose what little sanity I have left. Well, I might have already lost it…
The girls are starting homeschool co-op next week. It’s one day a week. Before this pregnancy I’d been getting together with a group of women who are also doing Charlotte Mason style homeschooling. We did a book study on Charlotte Mason’s sixth book, discussing one chapter per week. We planned out a co-op and it’s finally come to fruition! It’s going to be awesome. I am super excited. The person leading the co-op and book study has done an amazing job leading the planning. She’s organized it so perfectly that we even have insurance. It’s all fully legal and legit down to the last detail. There are about 13 families with about 45 kids. Several of the families have 6 kids!
This is what Rosie is doing at the co-op:
(Rosie will be in Form 1, which is first grade.)
— Nature Study w/ dry-brush watercolor: Birds and Plants, including the turkey, peacock, ducklings (if they hatch in time), dandelions, grapes and clover. The children will also be participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Wild Birds Unlimited is donating bird feeders for class observation.
— Drill: cardio health and endurance, coordination, flexibility, strength, agility, balance, speed. This includes jump rope, relay games, team and individual exercises.
— Artist Study: Six works by Albrecht Durer of the Northern Renaissance period
— Composer Study: Six works by John Williams highlighting the different sections and instruments of the orchestra, including concertos for tuba, violin, contra bassoon, harp
— Literature: Form 1 will read a living book about the Sami people of northern Scandinavia (Norway). Form 2 will read Norse Myths by the D’Aulaires. Form 3 will read from Bulfinch’s Mythology, Age of Fable, specifically the Norse myths.
— Bible and Map Study: All Forms will be studying the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul. They will read from the Bible and plot out Paul’s journeys on Biblical-period maps.
I’m the assistant teacher for Ada’s class, the 2/3’s. We’re doing something similar to the older kids, but much more relaxed of course.
These are Ada’s class plans–I’m excited, it’s going to be so fun!
We hope to design a day that is in keeping with the CM philosophy of spreading a feast before the children. In this case, it is through activities and exposure to things (like poetry and art and nature) that would develop good habits in the children – particularly habits of observing, listening and rightly communicating with each other. We hope that in each activity, their curiosity might be peaked and they may seek to further explore the world around them.
10:30: Little Morning Matins – Pledge of Allegiance, prayer, learn/recite
Psalm 51:10. (The 4/5 class will participate in Matins with the Forms)
11:05: Physical Play: jumping, games, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, etc.
11:15: Manipulative Play: pattern blocks, shapes puzzles, I Spy
11:30: In Nature: cloud watching, play outside (parents, PLEASE dress kids
for outdoor walks)
12:20: Working in our class garden
12:45: Story Time – e.g. The Ox-Cart Man, Make Way for Ducklings
1:00: Imaginative Play – dress up, blocks, etc.
1:15: Artist Study – looking at animals illustrated by John James Audubon
1:30: Poems – by Robert Louis Stevenson
1:45: Play – puzzles, games, etc
1:55: Clean up together
Even though that’s a lot of activities for little kids it’s going to be WAY better than the other co-ops I’ve done. Usually the preschool is super boring and the time passes painfully slowly. With so much to do it will be fun and not drag! I’m especially excited about the class garden. I love digging in the dirt with my kids. Ada loves helping garden at home.
We’ve been slacking on homeschooling while I’ve been freaking miserable with this pregnancy. We’ll have to do work in the summer to make up for it. I desperately want to feel better and get my life back to normal!
I’ll close this long entry with pictures from yesterday! My grandma stopped by and gave the girls their Christmas gifts. She didn’t want to shop during the Christmas rush, so she gave them cash for Christmas then later went out and bought a couple presents to give them after the stress of the Christmas season was over. It’s nice to spread out the gift giving too. The kids are so lucky to have doting family, but it can be overwhelming.
My Grandma got them the Calico Critters mansion. (I know…$$$!!!) And she got Ada a set of Thomas and Percy trains to go with her train table. My tiny house was overwhelmed by packaging in like 3.5 seconds!
(Ada was still in her pajamas…)
One from my iPhone from last night before bed, out of order–
After that Ada and I made some chocolate chip banana bread muffin tops.
Rosie wasn’t interested, she was happy to play by herself with the Calico Critters for a little while!