continuing the wild and wacky adventures of wildlife carers…
Part of the extensive garden. Sometimes, I actually had roses!
We were not to know, when Spike had that disagreement with another possum, that we were about to be gate-crashed.
Spike left us early in December and although we half-expected him to come back from time to time, we were not surprised that he didn’t. Nature’s hard-wiring usually beats human “interference.”
Besides, there were other things needing attention. With holidays looming, the duty roster (we took turns to answer after-hours calls for help) suddenly featured our telephone number more often! And The Man’s mother was coming to stay. I didn’t want calls at all hours while she was here so I did extra time beforehand.
And there was some re-arranging of the spare/sewing/writing/junk room to be done.
Everything ordered and slotting nicely into place, yes? Well, not quite…
When we built the house we stopped the walls of the central hallway about 18″ short of the rafters (open-plan with exposed ceiling beams), to allow for greater air flow. And to be a bit “different” from most other houses!
Biskit, one of the cats, used to like sleeping on a shelf above the water heater in the bathroom and, from there , she could climb onto the top of the wall and swing from rafter to rafter til she reached the kitchen. Then she’d jump down to the fridge, then the counter, then the floor. Until one day she mis-judged her swing and fell from the ceiling! So The Man added an “extension” piece of rafter, making it too far for her to stretch her paw around. Boy! was she cross at that!
Where was I? Oh yes…On the opposite side of the hall was the spare room, with a built-in cupboard. Open at the top. And this is the cupboard that was to become the home of our next possum.
At night, with mosquitoes and other bugs bothering us, we closed the doors when the lights were on and opened a back door at lights-out.
Jolly convenient for the New Boy! He’d rock up at about 4am, scrabble around in the kitchen and wake me. I’d grab him by the tail* and take him down the yard, into the goats’ paddock and tell him to “go find a hollow tree!”
And he’d be back up at the house before me!
One morning, after this ridiculous ritual, he went up the wall and over the edge and into the spare room cupboard before I could catch him. I could see the little bugger on the top shelf, blinking at me! And he used the Biskit Method of getting to the kitchen, much to her disgust!
I’d had enough of 4am possum patrols. As far as I was concerned he could stay there. Anyone who wanted to evict him could do it with my blessing. But not my help.
And then Mother arrived and I had to explain that she’d have a room mate. I think she was a bit nervous at first and afraid room mate might mean bedmate!
Sooty Paws (I’ll leave you to figure out how he got that name!) lived with us for about 7 years. Longer than many survive in the wild.
The front pergola – aka Possum Highway
* This is not cruel; possums evolved for a life in trees and the muscular tail is used for grasping, swinging, balance. Also, you’re clear of those sharp bits when you are holding the tail!