Thursday, March 5, 2009

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

This past weekend has been an eventful weekend here at Tiger Gardens. Friday evening saw me in the garage painting my tulip chairs, when I hear Bella growling and barking in the backyard. Not totally unusual but when I peered over the fence down to Mr. Fix-it's garage I saw Bella was circling a creature. I immediately thought it was Orkin and quickly ran to the backyard in a panic. I was intent on saving my cat's life as I figured Bella would get the best of Orkin. To say I was in a panic would be an understatement. I am screaming, "Bella! BELLA! STOP!"

Well halfway down the backyard and just shy of Mr. Fix-it's trailer I can see Bella is not tussling with Orkin at all. Nope, she got herself into way more trouble! She found a possum in the yard! In the nearly eight years we have lived here this was a first for us. I have seen skunks (smelled them too), rabbits, and birds, but NEVER a possum! And let me tell you the possum was NOT happy.

Seeing possums in this area is not unusual-it is probably a bit unusual to see a live one though. Bella was intent on seeing this one dead as soon as she could figure out how to avoid the gnashing teeth, scratching claws and terrific growl from this fairly good sized possum.

Heart beating a mile a minute I quickly dashed in and grabbed Bella. Fortunately Bella is a very good dog and listened to me. She did not focus intently on the possum and her battle; which is ever so good for me, the possum and for Bella. Had it been Link (my dachsund/chihuahua mix) the battle would've been all over. Link never would've given up and can't hear so he would be a goner I am thinking.

As Bella and I walked quickly by the end of the trailer I heard a big and constant growl. At first I thought it was Bella, but no, it was coming from under the trailer. The possum was still not happy.

It was at about this time Mr. Fix-it came home. He had barely missed the excitement, or so we thought. A short while later we let all the dogs out back only to find the possum was still in the yard. Boy was that fun trying to gather up four dogs. Not! I am really not surprised a possum would venture into the garden, but never really expected it. The compost bin probably attracted it. You can bet I'll be on the lookout from now on. The possum is okay as of this posting.

Now the next encounter this past weekend was a bit more delightful. I had the garage door open to ventilate the garage while I painted my tulip chairs, but then it got cold so I closed it. On a quick trip into the garage I heard scratching. Lots of scratching. I figured it was a large bug scratching at the window trying to get out. Then I thought, no way, I bet it is a vole caught in a bucket or something. So I ventured over toward the window. The scratching was louder and very insistent. I had no idea what it was but knew it wasn't a vole since the scratching was coming from the window. I was very hesitant to move the mini blinds to see what type of big insect was making the scratching noise, but I did anyhow and look what I found! A chickadee!

It was so tiny it easily fit in my hand. It was also very tired from its efforts at trying to get out of the garage. We once had a hummingbird in the house who wore itself out from its efforts trying to get out-now a chickadee! Matron in England says they call know chickadees at tits. (Just a bit of trivia). This little chickadee is just resting and is okay. I hesitate to hold wild birds because they are so fragile that they sometimes scare themselves to death (this happened to one of our parakeets before) but I had to catch this one in order to let it out of the garage. Shooing it out would not have worked. I took it in the house to snap a picture (of course!) and to show Jimmy. We were on our way to the big garage to show Mr. Fix-it when it flew away from Jimmy and landed on our kitchen table. Fortunately I caught it quickly. Almost as soon as we went outside it flew off into the trees, none the worse for the wear. It was probably thinking it won't venture into my garage anymore for close encounters with the human kind!

in the garden....

P.S. Sorry I didn't get a snapshot of the possum, but I am sure you'll understand why not:) I did snap a picture of the new and refurbished tulip chairs, just waiting for the gardener to sit outside and enjoy warm weather.

Mom, I do hope you get better soon! Please take it easy.


  1. Good morning Tina, what a rousing post! That is just too much excitement for me. I want to tell you though, that we had a possum last night on the deck eating sunflower seeds scattered there for the birds. He was only a couple of feet from the glass door and Kitty was outside. I shooed him away and Kitty came in the front door, thank goodness. Something had been getting in the smaller compost bucket I keep by the back door every night. I assume it was the possum. I will keep it emptied into the large bin from now on. Your little chickadee story was so funny. You are quick thinking and acting to catch it while it was in your kitchen! Good job, the reflexes are still working! HA
    ps, love your chairs!

  2. Goodness! Leave it to Bella, they are just doing their jobs, I guess. Your chairs came out wonderful and those little chickdees can get into so much trouble without meaning to.

  3. Tina,
    Cute story about the chickadee, they do find themselves in trouble once in a while, I'd expected a wren to been the more likely choice of stranded birds.

    Mr Fixit is that your spouse or the local handyman? I run a handyman business myself.

  4. Good morning all!

    Frances, I am wondering if this year is a bumper year for possums? To have them in the backyard seems a bit weird to me, but hey-yummy compost I guess. Glad your cat is ok!
    Lucky for me the chickadee was tired and get this-landed on an amarylis near by-too easy-but yeah on I still work!

    Dawn, Bella was a monkey! She had no idea what she was doing and was playing. I am glad she was not harmed.

    Randy, Yes, the chickadee was a sweet surprise. We have so many here feeding that it made a mistake. You are right on the wrens, they are everywhere! Mr. Fix-it is my dear husband of many years. He fixes everything as it is just his second nature-literally everything. He is my handyman usually, though we have hired some. You are multi talented then to garden and fix things.

  5. ahhhh, poor little bird. Chickadees are so cute. And let's face it, possum are just nasty.

  6. Wow, that was a lot of excitement for one weekend. My weekend was rather dull in comparison.
    We once had a opossum that hung around for a while after my husband found him in a trash can that had about 5 inches of water in it, It had rained the day before and the very young opossum must have fallen in looking for trash to eat. For about a month after that we would see him out walking around by the garage. Most of them don't seem to wander around in daylight, I guess this one didn't know that. The chickadee was so cute, I'm glad he was o.k.

  7. Well you had quite the adventure! I'm really surprised the possum didn't play dead. I've seen them do that before.--Randy

  8. PS- The chairs look great, maybe you can motivate Jamie to finish his!--Randy

  9. I'm disappointed you don't have any pictures:) I would have been worried about the dogs, too; possums always look rather scary to me, not to mention ugly. It probably was attracted to the compost pile; we've had them come up as far as our back porch to find the cat food I had left out.

    I'm glad the chickadee survived, and thanks for the British clarification. I always wondered what kind of birds those were.

    Best wishes to your Mom.

  10. Hi Tina, I am glad that Bella and company were fine after their too close encounter with the wild kind! We have opossums. Every night one drops from the tree above our bedroom and runs across the roof, climbs down the gate to look for who knows what in the garden! ~~I am so glad you were able to rescue the chickadee! Cute little birds~~Gail

  11. I can't believe you didn't get a shot of the possum! ;) It's so rare to see one of them alive. I could probably count the number of time on one hand. I'm glad you were able to rescue the chickadee. Bird are tricky to get out of the garage sometimes. We had a mockingbird get stuck in our garage last year and a carolina wren the other day. The wren found its way out though. The mockingbird needed assistance.

  12. Well that was quite abit of excitement. Oppossums are so gross! Glad you didn't post that photo. Dearly love the chairs!

  13. Janet, It sure was a weekend. Our big excitement, our kids would say B-O-R-I-N-G, but hey.

    Allgonetothbirds, You had quite the incident too. I am surprised at all the possum stories. Yours must have been confused as they surely don't normally wonder around in the daytime. Good thing as that is when I am out and about.

    Jamie and Randy, I wished it had played dead. It was something. Jamie, get to work refinishing those chairs-it is easy and quick once you finally start!

    Rose, Yes, I found that interesting on Skeeter's post where Matron was shocked it was the same they call tits. Clarified it for me too. I'll try harder next time on the pic:)

    Gail, Now that is funny! Hearing little feet run across the roof!

    Dave, My thought exactly-how often do you see them live in the garden? I guess more than I thought with all these possums visiting gardeners! Love the mockingbirds so much!

    Darla, Thanks on the chairs. They work great in my front yard. Yes, possums are really something. Growling and all-couldn't believe it.

  14. Good morning Tina. I posted about an injured bird this morning, what a coincidence.

    I can see why you don't want your dog to tangle with a possum Their teeth are savage. My old collie brought me one years ago. Imagine my surprise and gratitude;) She never injured wildlife but she would carry different creatures to me. Anyway when we went inside and it waddled away. (Why it played dead and didn't bite her I will never know.)

    Hope your toothy friend waddles far, far away.

  15. I am so glad you were able to save the little chickadee from hunger and thirst and freedom and ...from certain death! It is so tiny there in your hand. I'm glad he didn't get lost in your house, after all that!
    We've had a possum in our yard on several memorable occasions. With a dog, that's how we knew it was there, as well! Boy, I do not like to look at them...not the least bit cuddly! Fortunately I always managed to get the dog before he was bitten by the possum. Dogs just don't know when to quit!

  16. Tina, so glad things worked out with the possum. They can be quite dangerous when cornered. But to be out in the daylight worries me some. I would keep an eye out for it and anymore strange behavior. Poor little bird! Happy ending though.

    I love your tulip chairs! And the color is beautiful.

  17. That was pretty exciting! I'm glad your dogs are okay. Hopefully the possum will move on! The little chickadee is so cute. I'm glad you were able to rescue him so he could get back outside.
    I never knew that those type of chairs were called tulip chairs. I love that style and have tried to keep a look out for similar ones when we go by garage sales, etc.

  18. Phew...What an exciting time you had. Wizzing around like a superhero (lol).
    I'm glad you saved the bird - and your tulip chairs look lovely, all ready for summer.

  19. Yikes we have not had a possum in our yard so far. Jack would freak. I guess we would be eating possum stew for dinner! LOL J/K I am glad the bird got free(-: And the chairs look wonderful!!!

  20. Jean, Get well soon!

    Love the chairs and sat on them while growing up in TN. Both grandparents had them! I still see them all over the place down here in GA also....

    The opossum story was great. You probably have them in your yard often Tina but you dont see them as they usually come out at night. I see them waddle through our yard for the bird seed on the ground and maybe under the deer’s corn bucket. They dont usually hang around unless a great supply of food and the compost bin would be that supply! My parents keep cat food on their screen porch for the neighbors kitty’s that visit, (well, practically live with my parents). And an opossum started walking up the stairs of the deck an into the screen porch for the food while my parents are on the porch! Freaks my mom out but my dad has named him Ollie and I have pics of Ollie and one of the cats together. Maybe I will post it since some asked to see an Opossum. lol. They now take the food in at night…

    Poor little Chickadee, am glad you were there to rescue it and set it free. We have had wrens fly in the front door at times when we open the door and scare them off the hanging garland over the door! Instead of fly out into the yard, they make a U-turn and fly into the house. Too funny. We catch them with a hat as it is soft and may be better on the fragile birds. I now have a net that I found at a dollar store if any more decide to come in for a visit. lol....

    Had fun at Lowes last night getting supplies. Plan to have some fun in the sun this weekend...

  21. The armadillos remind me of possums too. They are here in TN, but I've never seen one alive!

  22. Hi Tina~
    That was an exciting weekend! I'm glad to know that all creatures involved survived the different adventures. The tulip chairs look nice too.
    Hope your mom feels better soon :)

  23. That's horrible - someone else just posted opossum pictures and they are scary ugly!
    Glad you helped out the bird - I've had to do that too when they get trapped in the garage.
    Your chairs turned out wonderful - like the color.

  24. Hi Tina,
    That sure was an exciting weekend for you. Glad all are ok. I have armadillos tramping through my back yard all the time. They root around in the ground looking for things to eat. I wouldn't mind so much if they would cover the holes up that they dig. lol
    OMW, Those chairs look fantastic. I love the red for the garden. I am still looking for a couple. Maybe one day.
    Jean, I sure wish you a speedy recovery.

  25. We run into possums occasionally too and they are rather hideous. lol And they move so slowly it's a little freaky.

    I'm glad you found the chickadee and were able to rescue it. Birds get on our back porch occasionally, and woe betide them if the cats spot them before I do. They're usually Carolina Chickadees and Wrens.

  26. Wow, that was a lot of excitment in a short time. But, alls well that ends well. I am sorry the por little birdie got so tuckered out but what a treat to hold a wild bird in your hand like that. I would love that!!!!

    The chairs look great.

    Francis, Did you know that Phish is starting a reunion tour on Friday. Maybe you can find it on line and they will be near you sometime as they are starting in Viriginia.

    Thanks for the well wishes and I am a little better, I think. Should be as I am on an antibotic, prednisone and an inhaler for double pneumonia and bronchitis. It will just take a while to work it all out.

  27. That was quite an exciting weekend, Tina. Glad that all ended well. Your chairs look great...nice red for the garden.

  28. Now I know what they're called, Tulip Chairs. I'm going to look around this summer for one for my cottage garden.

  29. I love your chairs, I have white ones like them. We call them "Motel Chairs." I feel your pain with the opossum. For a while my back yard was opossum central, and they'd even come up to the patio door. One day the opossum was just sitting in the garden not moving. It was slowly dying. It was hard to keep the dogs away from it. Why does it seem as if the critters come to my yard to die?

  30. Hey all, Just back from the Nahsville Lawn and Garden Show. A fun day to get in the gardening mood for to plant now:) Thanks for all your kind comments on the chairs. I am really enjoying the possum stories!

    Plant Buddy, Welcome to our little blog! Yes, motel chairs, aka tulip chairs, a bit of retro for sure.

    Mom, so glad you are feeling better.

  31. I simply adore those red chairs! That is MY color for sure! The other day there was a bird that seemed transfixed on my birdfeeder. I tried to shoo it away. It actually let me touch it. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. Like it went into a trance of sorts. Finally flew away. Whew!

  32. Wow, Tina, you certainly have had some excitement around your place! We had an opossum family living under our deck last summer, and our dog barked at them a few times, and it was hard getting her in sometimes, but they stayed under and didn't have any battles with her.

    I followed the link to read about your chairs, as I am not keeping up with my blog reading. I love how they turned out!

  33. I love your Tulip chairs painted that cheerful red. It's a nice bright color that always looks good in the garden. :) I'm glad that Bella & the Possum survived their ordeal. The poor thing was probably frightened out of it's mind.

  34. Tina,

    WOW --you've had quite the excitement! So glad that the little chickadee was fine. The opossum was probably all growl and no bite. They don't usually attack. They sure are ugly critters!


  35. Brenda, Thanks, the cherry red (labeled safety red) was a good choice for them for sure.

    Sue, Yes, remember I was telling you about yours by the compost bin? They are special and retro chairs. Very nice in the garden. They don't harm the grass, are comfy and hold up. A winner all around. Glad your possums didn't attack.

    Racquel, Yes! I felt for the little thing, I really did. The possums are such maligned animals, but needed in the ecosystem. I hope he has moved on to safer pastures now. Red is a good color indeed, glad you like it.

    Cameron, Relieved to hear possums are more growl than bite. It was quite a growl but I know he'd just as soon move on and not mess with us. It was really the dog's fault, just doing what dogs do I guess. Congrats on your Blogiversary again!

  36. We have Possum's in our yard as well, I was actually surprised they survive here due to the cold winter. Nasty looking creatures.

    Good job on the chairs, they look very nice.

  37. Tina, I subscribed to the follow up comments. Yes, I do remember you mentioning the chairs. I forgot to look, but I think mine are a little different. I like the design/shape of yours. The color is great, too.

    You know, we seem to have fewer slugs eating the hostas in the back. I think I read that possums eat slugs.

  38. Yep! that looks like a tit to me! From time to time they fly into my French windows and knock themselves out! It is fun to watch them come round to conscioussness and slowly recover (in my hand) and fly off!

  39. Dan, Thanks on the chairs. I was on the interstate last night and came inches from hitting a huge possum. Couldn't believe it. I would've been sad to kill an animal with my car. They are so abundant lately.

    Sue, you are very lucky to have a tulip chair. Many try to find them and even though they do make them new, they are pricey. I love mine. Tell hubby don't throw yours away. Yes, I would think possums eat slugs-they need to eat away here too.

    Matron, Yup! That helps us 'colonists' across the pond so we know what you all are talking about. I had no idea. Glad to know now! Thanks and have a great weekend. P.S. Plan to spread some ashes on my gooseberries soon.

  40. It was an exciting post even if you didn't get pictures. I love the color of your tulip chairs. Beautiful paint job!

  41. Yuch, I hate it when my cats catch something--rare but gruesome. The red retro chairs look awesome, though!