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From the Farm: Peace, tranquility, chaos

May 24, 2013
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

Well, it was supposed to be a nice relaxing day out in the woods hunting for the elusive morel mushroom.

It started out with the warm sun shining on my back and the dogs chasing bunny rabbits. By the time we were finished, the sun had disappeared and I was freezing my dupa off.

It was early Sunday afternoon when Steve and I hopped on our trusty four-wheeler.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

Surprisingly, we found quite a few mushrooms right in our back yard. Had we known we could have just walked across the creek and up the steep ravine, we could have avoided using the four-wheeler all together. (I hope family and friends don't go scooping on my mushroom territory, now that I have made it public.)

Of course, whenever our two rat terriers, Digger and Eddie, hear us start the four-wheeler they are ready and raring to go along. They believe they have special seating assignments. Eddie always sits in front of me and Digger takes the spot in front of Steve; puts his front feet on the tank and lets the breeze blow through his rat terrier hair. He looks like Kate Winslet on the Titanic, and Steve is Leonardo DeCaprio.

Now that makes me laugh!

Eventually Steve and I managed to work our way down into an area that is just beautiful. I used to jog in this area, and it always gave me peace. Too bad it doesn't give me new knees so I could keep running down there.

The grass is emerald green; reminds me of pastures in Ireland.

There is no buck thorn.

There are no spiny bushes that poke through clothing and draw blood.

There are, however, aggressive little raccoons.

And of course, since we had the rat terriers, which are dogs bred to be efficient killers of vermin, they found this creature hiding in a burrow, under the trunk of a tree, right on the river's edge.

I took all of two seconds for Digger and Eddie to head into the burrow with ferocity. It wasn't long before we heard barking, snarling, growling and what sounded like growling below the surface of the water.

That's when I freaked. It was the most horrifying felt-like-eternity-five seconds in my life.

All of a sudden, Eddie popped up on the other side of the den, with the coon clamped onto the back of his neck.

I was on the river bank and sure the coon was going to decimate Eddie. I threw my stick, and of course, completely missed.

The coon was very adept at holding Eddie under the water. My god, Eddie is my dog and I am not going to let some ring-tailed vermin get the best of him.

I jumped into the swirling waters of the great Cottonwood River to save my dog.

OK, so I wasn't thinking at this point. I had no weapon in my hand.

What the hell was I going to do? I am not at all like Turtleman Ernie Brown, Jr. on Call of the Wildman. Not under any circumstance would never grab a wild coon by the scruff of its neck and yodel loudly.

Trying to drown Eddie must've worn the coon down. It climbed up onto a log, not more than 12-inches from me, drenched from head to toe looking more like a beginning of a stuffed sausage than a coon. His beady little black eyes were focused directly on my jugular.

What the hell was I going to do?

I did the first thing that came to mind.

I flicked a bit of water at it with my right hand, while protecting my jugular with my left hand, and made my hasty departure up the muddy creek bed. (Now not only was I wet, my hiking shoes were caked with putrid mud.)

Apparently, coons get as annoyed as me with splashing. He jumped off the log and let the river carry him to the opposite shore.

I am one tough cookie. I challenged a coon and won!

I was a drenched from the river water, the sun was gone and I smelled like rotten mud. It was time to head home with my two dogs, and Steve. My peace and tranquility shattered.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net.

 
 

 

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