Saturday, July 10, 2010


Yesterday morning at 8 a.m. I was pleasantly surprised to see my Mom's number pop up on my caller ID. I cheerfully picked up and headed out to the front porch with my coffee cup in hand. Mom and I can talk for a long time, so I settled in to the comfy wicker couch and put my feet up on the table. The birds were chirping, the temperature was pleasant and my coffee was sublime. We chatted amiably for about 20 minutes, then the dogs showed up and they were panting, heavily. Not a good sign. "Hold on, Mom," I said. "The dogs just came back from a jaunt and I want to see what's up". I called Remy over and lo and behold he had fresh blood on his white ruff. My heart sank. Upon closer inspection there was a patch of blood on the under side of his jaw, too. "Uh Mom, I think I have to go. It appears that there has been fresh blood shed in my midst and I need to investigate," I said with a sigh. She chuckled and replied, "Probably another woodchuck! Talk to you soon, dear".

I hung up, abandoning the idea of a quiet morning and chastised the dogs. They both looked repentant, but offered no signals as to where the freshly dead beast was hidden. It has been a few weeks since Remy's newly found passion for woodchuck annihalation has reared it's macabre head. I'd hoped he was through with his new game, but the blood didn't lie. There was a body out there and I needed to find it. Like a member of NCIS, I went out on my mission. Traipsing through the various fields and underbrush and looking for clues, turned up nothing. No body was to be seen. The dogs stayed at the house watching me cautiously from the porch. Australian Shepherds are not dumb. They knew that their mother was p.o.'d. I returned to the house after about 45 minutes and growled, "Bad Dogs!" in their direction. Remy gave me a baleful look and Becks bounded in beside me, seemingly oblivious to my dark mood. He's still an idiot puppy after all. The day turned hot and steamy and between rides and turnouts, I kept thinking about the woodchuck body and where it had been stashed. I vowed that I would find it. Somehow, somewhere it was out there. And I would find it.

Today dawned dark and ominous. Rain was on the horizon and though we were heading to a horse show I couldn't deny the fact that we really needed it. True to Murphy's Law, the rain began as we embarked to the show venue, but the show was held in an indoor ring so we did our classes, successfully I might add, and headed back to the farm by 10 a.m. By that hour the rain had been reduced to a mist and glory be, the dust was gone and the fields looked refreshed. Jonathan and I busied ourselves in the stable and got our work done in a flash. As I was cleaning the last stall, I saw Becks emerging from the hedgerow behind our house. There is a field across the road, easily accessed from our backyard hedgerow and I know the dogs go out there frequently. I'll bet the dead woodchuck is in the field across the street, I surmised. Grabbing an empty grain bag and a pitchfork, I leapt into the Audi and took a quick trip to the field to investigate. My search proved fruitless. All I managed to do was get my sneakers sopping wet and look like a psycho, toting an empty grain bag and pitchfork. When I returned to the barn, Jonathan called out, "Didja find it?" "NO!" I growled. But I vowed this search was not over.
Several hours later, Jonathan asked me if I'd looked for the body in the dense underbrush of the hedgerow behind our house. There's a reason I married this man. He's crafty like that. I walked up to the hedgerow and began to carefully pick through the underbrush. I felt like Rambo. Or maybe more like Bill Murray's character from Caddyshack, because I was muttering swears like a sailor. I would pause and sniff. Pause and sniff. Brush back more trees and sniff. The dead body was close. I could feel it, and smell it. The tropical temperatures didn't hide the fact that a rotting body was near. AHA! Finally, I spotted the dead woodchuck. It was HUGE! The granddad of woodchucks lay in the dense underbrush, with flies swirling around it. VICTORY is mine! I trotted back to the barn and whispered to Jonathan, "I found it!". But we had to do evening barn chores so the pick up was to be delayed. Still, I felt confidant that I could pick up the carcass, dispose and be done with the whole stinking deal. I so love it when a good plan comes together. I was congratulating my super sleuth skills, thanking all of those NCIS shows that we've watched over the years. The last horse was fed and I grabbed my fork and grain bag, hell bent on taking that dead woodchuck to another locale before the dogs could dismember it, or worse roll in it's fetid stench.
Alas, I was about ten minutes too late. When I headed into the jungle of vines and trees I sensed movement. Squinting my eyes, through the vines I saw Becks head back to the lawn in a panicky run. The smell of dead animal was suddenly overwhelming. I resisted the urge to gag and channeling Rambo, I pressed on. Then I saw the body. It had been turned around, guts were streaming out and the smell was positively putrid. With a firm resolve, I picked up the dead animal and heaved it into the feed bag. A random gray tubular organ lay on the ground, so I swiftly skipped it onto the fork and gingerly put it in the bag, too. I grabbed my shirt and took in a deep whiff of my waning perfume to keep my wits about me. Stifling a war whoop, I darted out to the lawn and called for Jonathan. No reply. I called again. Nothing. Following my now sharp warrior instincts, I went to the stable and there was Jonathan in the wash stall with Becks. "Guess who rolled in the dead animal?" he said with a laugh. That was it. I lost it entirely. I gagged, dry heaved and bent over my knees. No woman should be forced to deal with this situation. It's competely disgusting, barbaric and totally unfeminine. Yet, here I was with a dismembered woodchuck in a grain bag. Since Jonathan was washing the foul scent off our the puppy, I decided that I would have to do the relocation portion of the dead pest. It wasn't easy, but I followed through and heaved that dead giant into a dense, remote section of our rustic dirt road. Followed by it's weird gray, tubular organ. UGGHH. With the windows down, I returned to the house, gulping in great mouthfuls of fresh air. The martini's are now helping me erase the horrid memory that was the rotting woodchuck. I'm proud that I didn't pale in the face of rotting flesh, innards and flies, but really, how much more can I be expected to take? I ask you? Thank goodness for vodka is my only reply. Svedka, you are my only friend in the war against dead woodchuck removal. Everyone needs an ally in war.


  1. Holy crap! Michele, you are my hero! have another one on me! :)

  2. Love it!!! One of my favorite pastimes is watching you dry-heave, lol!!