Friday, February 26, 2010

Youse Knows Yer Rural When...

This is a fox.  He visited us while we were staying in a cabin on Prince Edward Island a few summers ago.  We thought he was cute.  We thought he was less cute when we discovered that he'd gnawed the straps off our daughter's rather expensive sandals that she'd left out on the porch overnight.  And thus we learned that these cute little critters can be pests. 

We live in what is officially described as a village.  Before we moved here, I didn't know that such things as villages existed in Canada.  When I look out the front windows of our house I see, across Route 114, and behind our neighbours' houses, fields--fields where cattle graze during the summer.  When I look out our back windows I see woods at the edge of our rather wild yard.  Deer come down in winter and nibble on the wild rose, apple and lilac branches in the yard, causing us to wonder if we will have any blossoms this year.  Most people in the area drive pick-up trucks.  All this to say, that we are living in a rural area.

However, I didn't realize just how rural we were until recently receiving a village newsletter informing the village people that a Varmint Officer was going to be hired.  Varmint.  Until this point, I had thought a "varmint" was something that one would see in cartoons from the 1950s and '60s (eg. Wile E. Coyote, a personal favourite of mine), or hear referred to in fine TV shows, such as Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger. 

My trusty dictionary informs me that a varmint is "an irritating or obnoxious person or animal."  Who knew?  It seems I would have more than a few varmints in my acquaintance!  But it leads me to wonder just exactly who the varmint hunter will be after.

It would seem that our little village problem has made it into the city newspaper.  "Borough Acts on Coyote Problem: Puppy killed, residents upset over roaming coyotes." The article goes on to describe a woman in a near-by county who "engaged in hand to hand combat with a coyote that tried to snatch her puppy...".  (Now that's a sight I would like to see--woman and varmint engaged in hand to hand combat!).  Our village mayor is quoted as saying, "I don't want to cause panic...(but)...What if next time it's someone's kid?"

The paper also informs us that "DNA testing showed that the Eastern coyote gets its huge size--far bigger than western coyotes--from interbreeding with wolves during their migration east."  So our eastern breed not only have hands but are humungous! 

The city paper, however, made no mention of the phrase"varmint catcher," preferring to use the gentrified nomenclature of "nuisance-wildlife professional."  It went on to say that  "The trapper/hunter has been authorized by the village to use whatever means that are available to him to deal with the pests..."  I cannot help but wonder if this would include dynamite, recalling again those cartoons from my childhood. 

Although the roaming, puppy feeding varmints may be gigantic and skilled in fisticuffs, it is somewhat reassuring to learn that they cannot read.  At least one hopes they can't as the trapper is "being careful to place his traps away from areas where people usually walk, with signs indicating that he's placed traps nearby."  This also causes me, however, to question the literacy rate among humans living in this area.  And just how nearby is nearby? 

The article ends with another quote from our mayor, to the effect that "the village is acting to spare other puppies, and perhaps even their owners, a similar fate" (ie. of being carried off and eaten).

I, for one, will rest a bit easier tonight, waiting for the tell-tale "kaboom" of another varmint being blown to high heaven and, thus, another human--or even worse, a puppy's-- life spared. 


  1. Wow ! And here I thought "varmints" were mints that came from the Var region of France... live and learn ! Watch your back if you have to go outside, and I hope you have a good automatic shotgun and a supply of hand grenades... they sound dangerous, these coyote-wolf hybrids...

  2. BrOwen,
    I begin to fear for your survival skills: too long away from your native New World habitat, lolligagging (choking on sweets) about in France consuming bonbons, jetting off to tropical islands whilst bemoaning the lack of a good pillow. Var mints, indeed! I think, perhaps, you should watch your own back, although I assume your personal masseuse is doing that for you.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go patrol the grounds, semi and grenades at the ready. It'll be coyote stew for breakfast or my name's not Wild Lyn Okey!

  3. yea, Ole Yellar makes great coyote 'puppy chow' alright. They even paid my trapping bud to go out there and save pooky's little hide so she can sit under the bird feeder and eat her fill without worry of any noxious un-civilized predation. Good deal! After he cleans up the coyotes he gets to come back and charge double to get them there strays that lately are not much in evidence. And what's not to like about trappng? Out in the fresh air getting your skin all day paid for by the Village?

  4. I do miss seeing a fox, hearing a bird cry in the sky, following traces of wild pigs or deer...

    Over here in Athens, "wild life" mostly consits of four wheels, the trend to have a second mobile and honking even before the traffic light turns to green.

    All the best for your weekend and always a save night.

  5. Yo, Anonymous!
    Whaddya say we join up with Trapper Buddy and start sewin' some coyote collars to our plaid shirts--put some real hair on our Albert County furs!

  6. Ah Robert,
    Pining for the pine forests and crying out for bird song, stuck in the wilds of one of the biggest cities on Earth often touted as the birthplace of civilization while I whine about my rustic surroundings. Two misplaced people blogging away into the night, but not without humor, at least.
    I do prefer the honking of geese flying overhead to that of car horns blaring in impatient aggression.
    I hope you manage to have some peaceful moments over the weekend.

  7. ooh, sorry I'm late! My WV is 'pantedn" as in I has jest pantedn and am now breathless...loved the 'varmint', sounds so spaghetti western.

  8. Saj,
    Have a big sip of whiskey and that will either bring your breath back or take it away so completely that you won't give a damn. Once you've downed it, we can put on our ponchos and light up our cigarillos to go out on the varmint rounds together.