Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fun family times

Long time Gentle Readers know that I have a wee problem with tree-rats living in my eaves.  Visions of the scaffy little buggers chewing through an electrical wire and burning the house down around our ears does not make for restful sleeping.

Anyhoo.

Today the First Tree Rat of Spring stuck its' head out of the eaves for a Bullseye Cosmic Weather Report and took a 20-grain Super Colibri twixt the running lights.

Miss Praline, who knows what the swearing-running-grabbing Magic Skwirl Stick means, was waiting for the little furry bastard and nailed his carcass in mid-air.

Miss Mochi, however, is new and does did not know what the commotion was about ... until Praline smacked her up side the head with a graphically deceased skwirl while making sure the tree-rat was properly Done For in True Terrier Fashion.

I swear, I almost heard the 'click' when the light went on her little dachsie head.

All of a sudden we're having a major tug-of-war between the 15-pound Jack Russell Terrier on one end and the 17-pound dachshund on the other; I'm trying to find a place to lay the rifle and yelling, "Drop it!", the two of them decide that rotating around each other is the best way to frustrate Daddy; and on the deck Chuy rolls over to let the sun warm his belly fur.

Smart dog, Chuy.

Giving up, I lightly (I hope) toss the Henry into a thick-ish patch of weeds (I really should mow the blasted lawn, but it does tend to make nice padding) lunge and grab Praline. Praline, being the sweet-natured little thing she is, drops her end of the skwirl.

This ... may have been a miscalculation on my part.

Mochi is every bit as sweet-natured as Praline, however, Mochi is a guttersnipe. Mochi had a hard, hard life before we got her and Mochi understands that one simply does not give up that much free protein.

She pivot-turned, drew a bead on the entrance to her extensive network of tunnels under the Morgan building and kicked her "skattle, skattle, skattle" into afterburner. And I'm here to tell you -- short as that little things legs are, under proper motivation she can flat move.

Since I am not gormless, I've got a pretty good idea of what's on her mind -- get the goodie into the Dachsie-cave where Daddy doesn't fit and it can be enjoyed at leisure -- so I take about three steps and do a running dive, both hands up and block the entrance.

Knocking the wind out of meself in the process, I might add.

Up on the deck, Chuy gives a sedate sneeze and luxuriously scratches his back.

Mochi bounces off my out-stretched hands, blinks, recalculates, and we're for a full-on sprint around the Morgan building. Somewhere in the third (maybe fourth, it's hard to keep track when you're wheezing that badly) lap she meets Praline coming around widdershins and there's a full frontal collision.

I take advantage, skid to my knees, scoop up Mochi and her prize and ...

... discover just how strong the jaw muscles of a dachshund are.

Chuy rolls over and stretches leisurely.

Somewhere in-between the "Mochi, drop it!" "Praline! Not! Helping!" "MOCHI! Give up the [redacted] rat!" I finally get her jaws parted, and out of sheer desperation I fling the skwirl over the fence.

And there is peace in my kingdom. I stagger to my feet, pet the pups, pick up the Henry, and ...

... In the tree above my head is another sodding tree rat. Shaking his metaphorical fist at me, cursing my lineage until the end of time, and running ...

... for that damned hole in the eaves.

It was a Zen moment. The entire world narrowed down to that squirrel's ear. My weight came down on my right foot, right hand pulling the rifle into my shoulder. Left thumb eared the hammer back. Squirrel bouncing off the end of the tree branch. Smooth exhale of breath. Rifle tracking. Focus moving from skwirl ear to front sight, brief close of right eye -- front sight exactly where it needed to be. Smooth pull on trigger.

The squirrel abruptly cartwheeled in mid-air. Up in Heaven Col Jeff Cooper grunted appreciatively, angels sang sweetly, and the sun shone down on me. Bee-yoo-tee-ful shot. Couldn't have been done better in a Hollywood film.

Sigh.

And then that tiny little voice in the back of my head yelled, "Oh, you're a silly daft bugger, ain't'cha?" as two furry rockets, one ginger coloured and one white, shot past me.

How-ever-the-hell many dusty minutes later, I'm down on one knee. I've got the skwirl by the tail with my right hand, I've got Praline trapped under the deck with my knee and I've got Mochi snaffled by the collar with my left hand --

-- and Chuy scratches himself happily behind one ear, strolls over to the side of the deck, meditatively removes the rather-bloody carcass from my hand and jauntily ambles towards the open door of the house. Presumably towards his very favourite nest on the bed containing Herself's Very Good, Multiple Thread Count sheets and other good linens.

Sigh.

Gawd.

I [redacted] hate skwirls.

LawDog

53 comments:

CDH said...

Good thing most of my coworkers are gone for the day...I'd be getting some really strange looks from laughing so hard.

My 20 lbs of joy is a Schnauzer. I feel your pain! Thanks for sharing!

Dirk said...

Oh, how I miss your awesomely-told stories! Even though I got some "What's so funny?" comments from some nearby fellow cubicle-dwellers!

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Captain Obvious question. Why not plug the hole?

phlegmfatale said...

Sure, Chuy comes up and collects the spoils after the females have done all the work! Thanks, honey. I laughed and laughed!

Larry said...

Got your cardio in for the day then. Good for you.

Monkeywrangler said...

Oh my goodness! I definitely needed a keyboard alert for that tale!

And yes Dachshund jars are rather strong, especially considering the size of the wee hounds! My dearly departed Napoleon once got a spare rib bone and refused to let go. We carried him around by it for a while.

Vic303

armedandsafe said...

A bit dustier than my episode of herding the escaped chicken flock back to the coop with the immense help of a pair of cats. LOL

PPPP said...

Okay. This may only be obvious to me, but, after all that trouble the first time, why not let them play tug of war with treerat #2 for a few whilst you fetch treerat #1 and then let them each have one? Outside. And take Chuy onto your lap for a proper bellyrub. Win-win and no excess cardio nor having to clean the sheets.

PS: I had to stop reading mid-story. The boss came in. Hard to keep a straight face while I know that's all on my screen (minimized) and he doesn't have a clue. (And, yes, I am allowed to pick my own break times, so it isn't like I was reading good stuff on company time.)

BGMiller said...

Can't...

stop...

laughing...

need...

air...


BGM

BGMiller said...

CDH,

I feel you pain friend.

2 schnauzers.
Brothers.

And a yard that seems to attract ground squirrels and rabbits.

Apparently the deeply despondent ones.

BGM

Rick Street said...

What a good day for you and bad one for the two tree rats

Jess said...

If Chuy was in the original mix, I think they would have had you outnumbered.

Heath J said...

Well Told!

I've literally snorted my drink on this one.

Thanks for posting.

toadold said...

Let's see, enlarge the tree rat hole to hund size, put a flap door on it and build a hund ramp to the hole. Put some Ramstien on the MP3 and send the hunds of the tennis balls into the hole and wait for tree rats and hounds to exit. Throw in some moth balls, close door and nail shut.

doubletrouble said...

You tell a good yarn, LD!

Bob said...

Great tale, well told. Thanks for sharing it.

Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Oh my. My computer froze mid-story and I had to suffer much angst as it rebooted. No you transistorized tormentor, no!

Gaffer said...

I'm glad you haven't forgotten the moves from your dancing bear days. And isn't it humbling when the throw weight of two "small"* dogs exceeds yours?

* Small only in size, certainly not in attitude. Our pup would feel right at home with your guys.

That Guy said...

I needed the laugh this morning. Thank you.

Kristophr said...

Hwy are you turning down free dog meals?

Just have them stay outside with their new toys.

Buddy said...

We have 3 dogs, a boxer, beagle and beagle/german shepard mix... Score? dogs-4, skunks-0. I found out how they do it, the beagle smells it out, the boxer harries it, and the mix grabs it around the neck and SNAP. First two times they got sprayed, last two times they somehow avoided it!
Oh, did I mention the armadillo?

Anonymous said...

I can just visualize this as a film:

Shots of you, Praline and Mochi, scored to Benny Hill's "Yakkity Sax", intercut with flashes of Chuy, scored to some slow banjo ...

Blackwing1 said...

Our 18-pound striped tabby used to hunt the bushy-tailed tree-rats in the garden. One year he took out two of the red-squirrel types (meaner and nastier than the greys). He'd snap 'em, and then eat them head-first. Nothing like watching a cat contentedlly squinching up an eye as he not-so-delicately munches through a skull, and then eat's 'em right down to the tail.

He's gotten too old/fat/well-fed for such ventures now, and simply looks at the dang things as they cross the yard right in front of him. We had one come down the chimney this spring; first time ever in this house. I bought a Gamo with a built-in suppressor, and it's my goal to carry out a tree-rat elimination program once the weather warms up to where I can open a window and shoot through it.

Great story, and you've just got to get somebody out there to record some video the next time. "Release the hounds!"

Ratus said...

Get thee an inexpensive green laser pointer.

The tree-rats just love to follow the dot around.

Jennifer said...

Ow! Now my side hurts and the screen is all blurry! And the payroll department that sits behind me is concerned. Great way to finish out a Friday!

Billll said...

The advantage to the pipe-and-bucket trap is that it works like a giant vacuum on squirrels. The disadvantage is that it cuts down on trigger time for the homeowner.

In dense suburbia I have to be discreet although I admit a Crosman 760 will certainly get the job done.

http://billllsidlemind.blogspot.com/2010/05/squirrel-trap.html

Old NFO said...

ROTFLMAO! You need backup, THAT is what you need... :-) Or a butterfly net!

Scott said...

I don't think you're going to win this one, Lawdog. Need to teach the critters to stay OUT of the house when enjoying tree-rat snacks.

momiss said...

You make me laugh so hard. Please never stop. I have a brother/sister pair of Boxadors that got out last summer and killed a cat, despite a chain link fenced yard. I was soon to put up an electric fence, as it turned out. The police brought them home. As soon as I saw the dogs get out of the back of the car, helped by an officer who seemed to be afraid of them, my face turned to thunder and I just opened the front door and pointed and the slunk inside with their heads hanging. One of the policemen was trying hard not to laugh at this point, and the other one who seemed to be afraid of them looked like I was the parent of 2 murderers. I basically said that I was really sorry about the cat, but dogs and cats.......had anyone throughout the ages ever solved that one?
The electric fence has worked wonders, though. And every time I find a cat that won't run from them? I salute that cat! Sooner or later in life we all need to realize that IF we stand our ground and hiss, that big bad scary animal headed our way just might turn tail and run back where it came from. If you run, on the other hand, they are always going to chase you.

R.L. Hunter said...

What I like about your writings is how you deftly insert classic English words like "guttersnipe" and "widdershins" that receive far too little use in these modern times.

Rabbit said...

When I had the other two Siberians, Abby and Jack, they'd worry squirrels to the point they'd jump from the trees to the ground to see if that could possibly be a means of escape. Trying to separate two 60 pound Sibbies playing tug-o-war with a tree rat is pointless but the game only lasts a few seconds when there's a tie for first place.

Brigid said...

Oh, the joys of spring!

Jerry said...

Yeah, I was out performing the rites of Spring (grilling the first round of bratwursts)this afternoon when the first woodchuck of Spring made it's appearance and disappeared into the foundation of the barn. Time to keep the the rifle close at hand again.

Crucis said...

I hear them running in the gutters and eves of our house too---in the wee hours of the morning just before dawn.

BTW, had to share this. We have that same problem here in MO.

Kristophr said...

You need to post a video, next time.

And add a Benny Hill soundtrack to it.

pax said...

Smart dog, Chuy.

SPEMack said...

"Up in Heaven Col Jeff Cooper grunted appreciatively, angels sang sweetly, and the sun shone down on me."

LD, this writing tops the gorilla story and the amorous armadillo as the funniest thing you've ever written. I laughed for days.

1horsetown said...

We had a cat that had been wild when she was young. It took her only one tree rat to figure out that human w/gun= DINNER. They never even hit the ground. She'd catch them as they fell.........and they were ALL her's. She did not share.

Firehand said...

House I used to live in, there was one squirrel that apparently was convinced that running for his life was fun. The little bastard would come into the yard on the opposite side from the bird feeder:
Hop.
Stand & peek.
Repeat.
With the dogs locked on him like a fire-control radar, then zip!
Couple of times he made it through the fence so close that he lost tail hairs. Then, a few minutes later, he'd do it again.

One day actually watched him do this from both sides of the yard, multiple times.

Billll said...

Put the trap out Wednesday. In 48 hours, got 7 squirrels. I suppose one could put a tee at the bottom with caps on the legs, and a 1 in hole in the caps to let in light and air.

Your choice: Shoot 'em through the tee, or take them to work and let 'em go there.

Hoozyrdady said...

I enjoy your work here, Mr. Dog. Thanks for another fine story!

markm said...

Billl: Ray Stevens has a different suggestion for what to do with a live squirrel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhjYWfHwFHM

I'm thinking that the Senate would be a better place for that.

Grayson said...

Zounds! And Thank you so very much!

This is just the kind of anecdote that, as my late Uncle Bradley used to say, "tends to make people ruin their underwear - in a hurry."

Fortunately, I only need to clean off and dry my keyboard (this time, anyway).

Ummm, er, ah, would it be too much to ask, for you to obtain one of those little bitty digital cameras to mount on your rifle?
One that records both image and sound? You know, for the next upcoming counter-treerat tactical exercise? ;)

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I need a comend on this.
Read the story then tell us.
Read the comments.

Thank you Lawdog.

leaperman

Anonymous said...

Lawdog,


As a Sheriff, what do you think about this?

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/345714/free-cj-grisham

It's the video of Master Sargeant C.J. Griffith.

If you agree or disagree with the officers, could you blog a post about it?

leaperman

Scott said...

Spammers in the wire, hit the Claymores!

J.R.Shirley said...

Like PPPP said, dunno why you didn't give the girls a squirrel each.

Anonymous said...

My co-workers aren't gone yet . . . I got some odd looks.

--WebFoot Logger

Scott said...

More bloody spammers!

Hit the fousgasse!

Been awfully quiet on the Lawdog front, lately... hint, hint.

DJP said...

Sir,

Your site has been a panacea for a tired soldier. I've laughed and cried, and I can't ever properly express my appreciation for your writings, rants and ravings.

Thank you,

DJP

Jean C said...

LawDog, you've been too quiet of late. Getting a wee bit worried about no posts.

Sam said...

You have probably solved the fuzzy ninja problem, but for those who may have similar problems, here is my take. Having patched my eaves, I came to realize that the real trouble with squirrels, is not keeping them out, so much as getting them out once they are in.
So I went to the local hardware and got some heavy duty wire screen. I’m not sure what they call the stuff, but if you imagine galvanized metal wire screen with the openings about 1/3 of an inch (Or half a centimeter or so…) you should have something that will work. I cut off enough to more than cover the vent opening in my eaves. I then drew a circle on it with a sharpie, about 4” across. Then starting from the center of the circle I mad 4 cuts in a cross shape with the center of the cross in the center of the circle. I then bent the pointed ends from the center of the circle out just enough so that when I screwed it up to cover the opening – the rodents could push themselves out of the opening without much trouble. But if they tried to back up, or enter back in, the sharp points of the heavy metal screening would prevent them from going back in. (They WILL try!) Just big enough they can squeeze out, not large enough to allow them back in. When they come out, you can bend it back in just a bit. Then keep an eye on it during their normal active time. If you see one that is trying to get out, you can open it up, and let them out, then bend it back again. Since they will not usually all come out at once, this allows you to monitor their egress, until you are certain there are no more unwanted house guests. Once they are gone. Make sure you have well fastened “metal” covers for the vents in your eaves, and any other access area is well patched with metal because they will chew their way back in if you give them any chance at all.
Squirrels are worse than rats. Just be glad they don’t fly. (To make SURE they can’t get back in, you may have to keep the old pellet gun handy – they are very resourceful…)

Stan Burton said...

Used to own a 90 pound black lab lap dog (she thought) that was an expert squirrel hunter. But she would carry the carcasses around like her stuffed toys. And when she got tired of them would leave them in the yard to rot. Never ate them til one day she was playing with one and tore the leg off and she discovered that they were full of nice red bloody meat. Never found another rotting carcass since. She passed on a couple years ago from cancer and the new dog has no interest at all in chasing squirrels. Mores the pity.