Monday, July 21, 2014

Country Living

Ah, the joys of life in the country. My day started off with rescuing a mouse from drowning, and wrapped up with shooting a buzzard (no, not a liberal - a bird).

First, the mouse.

Central Texas is still suffering through a multi-year drought. Water, always precious in these parts, has become even more so. One of the things we do to conserve it is to keep a bucket in the shower. We use it to capture the cold water that comes out of the showerhead before it warms up. That water is used on the plants in our garden.

Similarly, when we have a little get-together like we did last weekend, we don't dump the melted water out of the ice chest the next day. Instead, it also serves to water our garden.

So this morning I walked out into the garage to gather up all the weekend's conserved water. When I picked up the ice chest I discovered a very tired-looking mouse feebly struggling to stay afloat. He must have fallen in while trying to get a drink, and ended up treading water for most of the night. After all he'd been through I didn't have the heart to cold-bloodedly kill him, so I scooped him out with an old coffee can and carried him about 50 yards away from the house, where I set him free in the tall grass. I'm sure he'll live a long and happy life out there in Mother Nature's bosom (unless, of course, he gets eaten by a hawk, or an owl, or a feral cat, or a snake, or a raccoon, or a fox, or a coyote, or some other critter higher up in the food chain - on second thought, maybe I didn't do him much of a favor).

As for the buzzard, there's a bunch that roost overnight in a cell tower several hundred yards away from us. When daylight comes several of them fly over and perch on our roof. It's metal, so it raises a ruckus inside the house, plus they drive our dogs crazy. We drive them off by throwing tennis balls at them. I've tried airsoft and BB guns, but the pellets don't seem to bother the birds. And I don't want to shot them with a real gun, because I'd probably end up with a bunch of decomposing buzzard carcasses laying all over our bullet-riddled roof. So we fling tennis balls at them, the buzzards hiss and fly off, and the dogs bark madly and chase them until they sail over the fence. Then the mutts come trotting back with their chests puffed out, pleased that they've chased those dirty birds away.

This evening, however, was a little different. I let the dogs out, they made their usual rush off into the brush, but then all of a sudden a wild commotion broke out. I grabbed their leashes and went down to see what was going on. They had somehow caught one of the buzzards on the ground. It had a broken leg and a broken wing, so it couldn't escape, but it still had a nasty beak. I got the leashes on the dogs and dragged them back inside, then grabbed a .22 pistol and went back to put the buzzard out of its misery. One quick shot and it was all over. The next question was what to do with the dead buzzard.

It was about the size and weight of a turkey, but somehow the thought of roast buzzard wasn't too appealing. If I buried it the dogs would just dig it up again. Plus the ground around here is mostly rock, so digging a hole of any size usually requires a power auger or rocksaw. So I ended up tossing it in the back of my truck and heading for the nearest county road. It didn't take long to find some roadkill - a poor squashed possum. I figured that whatever came to clean up the possum would also enjoy some tasty fresh buzzard, so I dropped it off there. Recycling - the environmentalists should be happy.

Then it was back home to a cold Shiner... life is good here in the country.


JPD said...

Being a fellow Texas (north of your location), I must correct one of your first statements...."shooting a buzzard (no, not a liberal - a bird)".

It is well known in my neck of the woods that they are indeed liberals. Many showed up to vote at our precinct in November of 2012.

Old NFO said...

Nice 'Recycling' there... :-)

Randy said...

Try a paint ball gun on those rascals. Some of those have pretty high velocity ( not the cheap ones from a big box store) and the paint ball has more energy than and airsoft. I know they have left some nasty marks on me.

CenTexTim said...

JPD - Well, why not? The dead vote, so it makes sense that buzzards would start following them to the polls.

NFO - I'm down with Green, baby... :-)

Randy - I thought about that (I've got a few welts too) but my wife would have a fit if our roof got streaked with paint. It already looks like a clan of hillbillies live here...