Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Gopher, Salamander, Mole-Thing

This is the story of a yard disturbed and one angry man (with a shotgun) who gets even.

DW takes really good care of our yard. The yard is HIS thing. Inside is mine. I do my best at keeping the inside spic-n-span, while making it feel warm and cozy and like a home. I lack most days. Him, on the other hand...he's got the whole yard thing down pat. I am certain his grandparents would be very proud of how well he takes care of the yard they started. He mows the grass once a week, keeps the weeds pulled from the planters, weed-eats, and fights fire ants ferociously. For many months, he's also been fighting another battle. These big piles of dirt have been popping up all over our well-manicured lawn. Last winter, he even got a trap to use to catch the "diggers," but as soon as he got the trap out, the "diggers" quit digging... smart little things!

Everyone around here gets them...DW says they're salamanders. I, on the other hand, believe that these little creatures belong to the gopher or mole family. (Not the gopher turtle....think Winnie the Pooh's, "Gopher")

I remember seeing a picture of a salamander in my 3rd grade science book when we were learning about amphibians. It was the first time I'd ever seen a salamander and on the opposite side of the page was a picture of a newt. So I am sorry, but the word salamander is, for me, associated with the amphibian kind. I googled 'salamander' to get a pic of what I consider a salamander, and here it is:

This one also popped up and I had to share it.

Is this giant thing not disgusting?!?!?

When DW said these were salamanders that were digging up our yard, I challenged him that they weren't. This was last year, when we were experiencing the same problem, and my dad was in on the convo and I think his was, too. Although I don't remember what they said. They probably agreed with DW and said it was a salamander reeking havoc on our yard, and that's more than likely the reason I don't remember. Ha... My point in all of that, was to say, I don't know for sure what to call these little nuisances. But I have a story about one...
The following takes place Friday September 18, between the hour of 6:00 p.m. and 6:05 p.m.

We'd just finished eating dinner and DW got up to put something in the kitchen sink. When he glanced out the window, he throws whatever he had in his hand in the sink and yells, "Oh, I got you know, you sap-sucker!" I didn't know what or who he was talking to. He takes off running to grab a shotgun. I thought maybe it was an armadillo, because they dig holes in the yard, too...(and there was a slight run in with an armadillo about a month ago in our yard. I tried to scare it off before DW came outside and saw it. That armadillo didn't know what was good for him, because he stayed and poked around and, well, let's just say it ended bloody for him)...

I ran over to the kitchen window to identify the "sap sucker"... after I saw the big mound of dirt flying around, I knew what he was after. I stayed by the window to make sure the furry gopher (as I call him)/salamander (as DW calls him) didn't scurry from the hole and run across the yard. I don't know if they do that, but I was on watch. (Just after I grabbed my camera, because I knew this might something I'd want to record for future references). DW had returned to the kitchen, gun in hand, and that man-on-a-hunt look in his eyes.... and the dialogue went something like this:

ME: "What are you going to do to him."
DW: "Blow his head off." (insert the sound of the door slamming behind him here)

I was still watching out the window, and every few seconds the gopher/salamander thing would stick his head out....

In the hole:

See it's head peeking out:

Look close and you can see it...

DW says they're scared of the light, and have really squinty eyes and he's not sure if they can see or if they can, how far their vision reaches.

Even though I saw one up close, I couldn't tell you if they even have eyes, because... well, Devin blew his head off.

As I was standing inside watching from the kitchen window, DW stood right by the hole that the gopher/salamander-thing was working so diligently at digging, and waited like a sniper for him to pop his little head out. BAM! was all I heard. Then the little victory chuckle that came from the sniper. I got Annabelle and we headed outside to check it all out. I strapped her in her jogging stroller, so I could get a better look. I didn't want that thing going all 'Lazarus' on me while I was holding my baby, so I thought she'd be safest strapped in her stroller watching from a safe distance.

The hole had been covered by the dirt that the force of the gun had blown over it. I wasn't sure Devin got him. But, he was. He got a rake, and started raking through the dirt and sure enough, the gopher/salamander-thing was there...headless.
WARNING: The following images may not be suitable for young viewers or those with weak stomachs.

I wanted to see it up close, and needed to take a picture....

Look at those claws! Amazing. This little guy was for sure made to dig. Just not in our yard.

AB's looking on and she's making a mental note not to dig in Daddy's yard one day. He gets real mad when something digs in his yard!
(Something tells me, he'd let her "dig to China" in our yard if she wanted!)

The story ends here, with the gopher/salamander-thing being thrown over the fence. But only after we debated hanging him on the fence as a signal to all his friends as to what we do to diggers when they trespass.


Tamara Ann said...

I am sitting at my desk laughing hysterically with tears running down my cheeks. I'm sure all of my co-workers are certain I've lost my mind!
I'm laughing so hard because I can SO see that scenario playing out at my house, and I'm thinking to myself that if any "city" folks read your blog their mouths are probably gaping right about now (just like Belle's!)!
By the way - I'm going with you - that is definitely a gopher. NOT a salamander!

Julianne Hendrickson said...

HA! He can dig in our yard, we need his help digging up all the weeds! Send him on over.

Aunt B said...

You are never going to believe this but we have had two of those "sap suckers" in the pool drain this summer...I freaked out and my mother-in-law got them out for me. Our yard feels like quick sand as you walk on it. We need DW to come over and takecare of our yard wreckers. Maybe he could make a documentary and put it on the HGTV or the Hunting Channel. They like blood and guts better. I have never seen anyone shot something on the HGTV.

Stephanie Heintz said...

Go DW. He is THE MAN!

In other news... I miss you. I will FOR SURE be seeing you around October 31st with H beside me! I am so excited. The invitation did me in. Good job Granny. H will be by my side as well! I'm excited for him to experience the Quincey fam at our best. This will be his first!

Charon Benton said...

nah-uh. too much! ROFLOL!!! GO DW!!! Laughing here.....cause Cecil would have done the SAME thing.....
(I hear banjos playing in the background!)

Jennifer said...

LOL!!!!! My husband would have done the same thing!

Heather said...

OH MY WORD, crack me up!! I am laughing so hard!! Your hubby has a good aim, what a great shot!! Love the idea of hanging him over the fence, and I would tell his guy friends to not get on his bad side!! ha ha!! ;)

Heather said...

oh and I love your yard!!! ANd those salamanders are nasty!!

Becky said...

Too funny...the "Lazarus" part cracked me up. Sorry, but I've heard them called both the salamander & gopher (someone was in the office last week telling why they've been called the salamander, and for the life of me I can't remember what they said). Shooting them is cheapest, you can buy something that would"gas" them out, or get rid of what they eat (grubs). PETA would have a hayday with this blog :)

Jackson & Trish Whitehurst said...

Hey Annie tell Devin I do the same things with the moles in our yard Trish always tells me how white trash it is but what can i say it is fun and effective. i even got Jacks in on the action a few weeks ago. Tell Devn I am proud to be his cousin.