Killdeers or Possums?

170627_KilldeerNestJune 26 – On one of recent Harvesters’ food distribution day, Dale parked the truck in the usual spot. As I started to open the door, I heard a loud cry of a bird that was moving away from the scene, crying loudly, “Kill-dee! Kill-dee,” all the while trying to lead us away from what turned out to be a nest, not an empty one, but filled with four speckled brown and white eggs. Soon the first killdeer was joined by the second, and leaving the nest unguarded in their haste to send us on our way, they both moved quickly away.

As other volunteers arrived to give out the food, they saw their friends near our truck, so they came over to check out the story. Finally, after everyone had left that area, the birds did return to the nest and the eggs. One of the men who was helping with the food, found a big empty cardboard box and enclosed the nest to protect the birds, but judging from their noisy clamor, they weren’t too pleased with the man’s gift of protection. Off came the cardboard, and all was peaceful and quiet once more.

170627_KilldeerHarveyLast year when we drove up to the church for the services, we found a killdeer’s nest in almost the same place! Maybe they enjoy the music that floats out the doors! Sometime ago our grandson Rob was plowing with the big farm tractor with his dad Harvey coming along behind. When Harvey saw the nest of a killdeer, with several eggs in it, he stopped to take a picture and sent it to me on his phone. Both he and his two sons love and appreciate nature.

Actually they appreciate just about everything that is good. Harvey’s dad Bob helps us out several times in the summer and fall by mowing down the grass between the fence and the road making the scene a lot better than we see in other places when no mowing is done. His wife Janice gives us monthly haircuts (By the way, Harvey cuts his own!) and takes just as long as she needs, often stopping to see if we are satisfied so far!

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you may remember hearing about one of our “friendly” possums that makes their home in a box of rags under one of the workbenches in the garage. Some have stayed all night or even longer as they feel comfortable sharing the comparative warmth of the garage in cold weather. How well I remember the time one of those creatures was locked into the garage overnight because we didn’t know it was there. Must have sneaked in when the cat was coming in for the night, and the door was closed. The end result? Many items were chewed up or dragged around or eaten!

Well, just the other day after Dale came in with food for the cat, he said, “You’ll never guess what happened last night!” Judging from the look on his face and the way the words came out, I came up with only one guess! “Possum, again!” Yes, I was right. Things were scattered around on his workbench, on the floor, on the top of the boxes of firewood, on the coolers, and just about everywhere.

170627_ApplesBut, as my dad used to say, “What really got my goat,” was the ruination of most of the contents a big blue and white cooler, some beautiful red or yellow apples! Glancing down at the mess left behind, and thinking of all of that good fruit we would lose because of the possum, I was not too happy! Bits and pieces of apples left behind after he had enjoyed scrunching up several of the fruits had left the cooler a mess. But as I went through the remains, I found just a glimmer of hope! By the time I had sorted the good from the bad, which included tossing out any apples with scratches from the possum’s claws or bits of apples left, I found that very few of the fruits at the bottom of the cooler were bad in any way. No teeth marks, no half eaten fruit, nothing that a good cleaning under the kitchen faucet wouldn’t cure.

Before I forget, a little tune I used to hum and sing way back when roughly 80 years ago:

The man who has plenty of good peanuts and giveth his neighbor none,
He shan’t have any of my peanuts when his peanuts are gone.
When his peanuts are gone, when his peanuts are gone,
He shan’t have any of my peanuts when his peanuts are gone!”

170627_CleanGarageHow could I forget that little song when the words were easy, the music cheery, and the truth at one hundred percent? So, even though I am not keen on possums in the garage, they probably won’t come back because the apples are now in the kitchen fridge drawers, all of the coolers are clean and tidy, Dale cleaned off his work bench, and it’s good for the heart to share with someone or someTHING like a hungry possum! – CHRIS

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