Henry’s House of Horror
There’s a bit of a Louisiana swamp feeling to our present drill site somewhere between Nixon and Smiley. The guys on the crew from Louisiana say it feels like home. It apparently feels like home to just about everything that lives in southern Texas.
It’s really quite pretty, thick with mesquite (of course) and live oaks draped in moss and…?
I saw my first kangaroo rat today. I was talking to a local at the time so I’m confident of the identification. For my fellow Yankees who may never have seen one, they look, as you might expect: a fast furry rat, hopping with his front paws tucked up.
It’s been a jumpy day here in southern Texas. I saw a lightning quick snake head for the feral pig hang out to the East and my first armadillo family of four scurrying past the cattle crossing.
As it gets later, the night noises have escalated. The bulls seem to be particularly riled up and the lady cows have been mooing mournfully since dusk.
The guys told me today that the hog they’re grilling tonight they caught about 10 yards from my window (on the back, dark side of the RV). Nice. More on that another time. I think it’s revenge of the herd tonight because there’s an excessive amount of squealing and screaming.
I mentioned that there was a raccoon sitting on my steps the other evening (the same one that was doing the balancing act on the barbed-wire fence). For some reason, Henry slept through the first two visits.
I doubt if he’ll get a bit of sleep tonight. If it had come from any dog but Henry, I would have been temped to ignore his low guttural growl, given the cacophony outside. But since Henry is so quiet that he’s nearly mute I thought I’d better check it out.
I couldn’t see anything moving but Henry stayed on high alert. I took a couple of steps out onto the fake grass rug, flashlight and garden hoe in hand. Coming from Iowa, carrying that hoe around always makes me feel so American Gothic(y).
Almost instantly, I saw the offender. The step-sitting raccoon had returned with a couple of cousins. As before, I grabbed my little point and shoot and scattered them with a flash! Who knew a camera would fast become my weapon of choice? The picture quality is awful, but the flash is a very effective deterrent.
Satisfied that I’d protected the homestead, I gave Henry a Greenie (isn’t it funny that the treat that cleans dog’s teeth is green?) and sat down to so a little light reading. I’m reading Bad Love by Jonathan Kellerman about a child psychologist and a stalker. I choose it because Kellerman really was a child psychologist before he started writing, and I’m fascinated by the psychological aspect he adds to his work.
However, I’m beginning to re-think my choice of late night fiction. I’d only turned a few pages when Henry simply tumbled down the steps, knocking open the screen door and landing and falling out.
I jumped! He yipped! He scrambled back inside. Since I didn’t see the footfall, I’m just guessing he tripped on the rug that was a little bunched-up? He’d been staring out the door every since sunset.
I took a look outside but he’d made enough racket to scare away whatever had scared him. Who says Schoodles can’t be watch dogs? I held him until his heart stopped racing and put him in his bed which is up on the sofa at night beside my chair.
There’s a window right over his bed which was open to let in the little bit of breeze that was stirring. I had read maybe 2 chapters (they’re short) when something slammed against the window screen and Henry tumbled to the floor, again.
I looked up just in time to see the raccoon, clinging momentarily to the outside of the screen, looking in at the spot that used to be Henry.
The raccoon lost his grip about the same time I lost mine.
It was pretty warm today, 93 degrees and it’s still 81 well after midnight as I write this. I’ve decided it’s time to close the windows, pull the shades and turn on the air.
I don’t know if the air conditioner is supposed to hum or not, but tonight I’m glad it does. Whatever is out there screeching or snorting or prowling about, Henry and I will no longer hear or smell or see it.
Do you remember the picture of Jodi Foster in Silence of the Lambs with a butterfly over her mouth? Creepy. I just picked up my coffee and drank a fluttering moth. It fluttered all the way down my throat. I guess it’s going to be that kind of night.
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!