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Taking a bullet for Sam (well, sort of)

So our cat, Callie, died last week–eaten by (we assume) coyotes.  This has been hard on both of us, but much harder on Karin, emotionally.

We’re both much more cautious about our remaining cat, Sam.  Even with my allergy problems, he’s been spending the nights inside the house.  Of course this can’t go on forever–because when cold weather comes we’ll have to start up the furnace, which intakes air from near our spare bedroom.

For that, and a number of other reasons, I’ve been reading up on what to do to make coyotes go away.  Even as angry as I am about losing Callie, I’m not the sort that’s going to be able to pick up a rifle and shoot them.  Not even sure that’s legal here–might involve some sort of fine.  Doesn’t matter.  I haven’t aimed a gun at an animal since I was 13.

I have found that many wildlife websites recommend “hazing” coyotes.  (This does not mean making them dress up like girls or drink lots of beer to get into a fraternity.)  Hazing coyotes involves making a lot of noise, cutting back the undergrowth near your house, and basically making the critters uncomfortable so that they’ll move along elsewhere.

Perhaps one of the reasons that we have had the incursion of coyotes this year is that it has been so rainy this summer that I have hardly had a chance to mow our close yard–much less move out into the undergrowth and cut that.  But on Saturday morning I decided it was dry enough that I would get out and cut back some of the areas that had been cut in previous years.  Too late for Callie, but perhaps not for Sam.

This was hot, sweaty, exhausting work–made worse by the fact that there is a lot of poison ivy growth from the rainy summer as well.  I was mowing through fields of what appeared to be little else besides poison ivy, and wondering how long I could hold out.

I was using our “push” mower–actually a gas mower with forward power assist, I’m not so crazy as to think I can do such work without some help.  The mower was set as high as it could be set it above the ground in order to avoid it bogging down or hitting rocks that were hidden among the higher grass.  

There were several incidents of the front wheels becoming entangled with vines (of primary concern the poison ivy vines previously mentioned, but there were others as well), so I had to shut down the mower a dozen times to remove the build up of such detritus; and was beginning to get angrier and angrier at the coyotes for having anything to do with all this.

I had just about decided I’d done all could be done, when I suddenly felt something hit my leg.  I figured it was a small rock that the mower had caught and flung up at me under the high set wheels–then looked down to see a piece of sturdy wire sticking out of my pants leg.

I reached down to tug it loose from my pants–and it came away easily enough, just not as easily as I had thought it would.  It had pierced my pants and my calf.  

As it turns out, it wasn’t all that bad.  It probably only broke the skin and maybe penetrated a bit into the muscle by perhaps 1/8 of an inch–but still I knew it was time to quit mowing.

The thing is, you never really think about when the last time you have had a Tetanus shot–until this sort of thing happens.  Suddenly realizing that I was 35 when I had the last one, and am approaching 50 now, it seemed like a good idea to go get one.

One does not normally wake up on a Saturday morning and think, “I’m going to go get a Tetanus shot today!”  But that’s how it ended up.

For the past couple of days I’ve been babying the leg.  It doesn’t look like much, but it has been painful from time to time–especially if I’m using it a lot.  There was some concern yesterday that I might be getting a secondary infection, but it was much better this morning.

Anyway, I told our cat the other night:  “I took a bullet for you, Sam.”  It’s a bit of an exaggeration.  But if you consider the old definition of “bullet” as any projectile, then it’s basically accurate.

Sounds impressive at any rate.  

Sam seems appreciative of the effort made to cut back the verge, but he’s still freaked out and hides under the house during the day.  We know he’s looking around for Callie, but can’t find her.  That’s really sad for him–they were really just getting to be friends.

Me?  I’ve got a little physical pain to take my mind off of my emotional problems.

My best friend, Joel, and his wife, Toni, came to visit us last night.  Since they had the long weekend they decided to pop in and see about us.  We almost didn’t connect because Karin had a wedding to play way out in a cell phone dead-zone between Cullowhee and Cashiers.  But we caught up with them before they were completely out of the area.  They came by and gave us some words of comfort.  So that was good.  

So that’s how I spent my Labor Day weekend.  Hope yours went better.

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