Monday, November 3, 2008

Reunited & It Feels So Good or Daddy Wants A Coondog

I am newly reunited with my old friend Elliptical Machine. We were on a break since maybe March and it was awkward at first, but things seem to be on the mend. I've put myself into a self-imposed boot camp. Granted it's a really easy 'workout' , but I have been getting up at 5:30am to do it. That is significant because sleep is definitely my drug of choice. Or is it horses? That's a tough one.

So what would finally motivate me to get my butt back up on that machine at an ungodly and dark hour of the morning every day? Other than pinchy pants?

Because it's therapy. Daddy wants a Coondog.

My husband introduced me to raccoon hunting, or 'coon hunting, a few years ago. The best way to do it is with at least one good coondog. More if you've got them. The purpose of the hunt is to get raccoons, skin them of their hide, stretch & scrape the hide, & then sell it for a bazillion dollars. Or like $12 or $15 depending on the market & size of your furs. Actually, the purpose is mostly just for fun. I believe the season runs all year, but the furs are only taken in winter when they're nice and full. After dark, you take your dogs out in the middle of the freezing cold woods & you let 'em loose. They have dragged you from the truck to the woods actually because they are completely insane when it comes to raccoons. Those 5 brains cells in their head are devoted entirely to chasing & howling at raccoons.

So you've turned them loose and they're now running about looking for the scent. When they find it, they start to bark. It's a tortured kind of howling bark, but it gets worse, yes it does.

Now you're hanging out, looking at the stars, interpreting your dogs bark. And yes, you know which dog is yours barking. Very important to know whose dog found the 'coon first if you're out with others. Then a 'strike'! We've got a 'coon in a tree and that dog is barking it's ever-loving freight train of a head off. Like someone is trying to kill the bastard. Like nothing ever wanted anything so bad as that dog wants that 'coon out of that tree.

This is where you play Marco Polo in the woods with your dog. Once you hear the unmistakable sound of your dog on a tree, you go looking for him. Now he could be anywhere, and I mean anywhere. Sometimes the raccoon slips tree: jumps from tree top to tree top & boogies on out of there before the dog realizes. Sometimes your dog is digging a hole in the ground. Sometimes he's across a swamp or in an impossible tangle of bramble bushes. Sometimes he's in a culvert pipe. Doesn't matter though. Because you are never going to get that damned dog back unless you go get him. He will bark at that tree for all eternity until you either shoot the 'coon down to him, or you drag his ass back to the truck.

The most challenging dog retrieval I was ever present for involved Coon Popper who had tunneled into a hillside at an old strip mine. She was in there with the 'coon & they were fighting & making all sorts of dramatic noise. My husband had to dig her out with a shovel. That took a while.

I actually like going with him. It's beautiful out there at night & fun to run in the woods in the dark. So what's the problem?

It's our recent history with Coondogs. These are not house pets. These are working dogs that live outside in a dog box, chained up to keep them from running away from home after 'coons. And did I mention that they bark. Without ceasing, they will bark. We have tried every imaginable way to curtail barking at the box. Popper eventually figured it out & would stop her bawling if you yelled 'POPPER!' out the window. But all the other blasted dogs my husband brought home had to be straight from hell sent to drive me mad. Those SOB's couldn't be stopped, and I couldn't hack it. I don't know what was worse: having to listen to it, or worrying about our few country neighbors cussing us in their homes. I still cringe even now remembering it. I felt a prisoner in my own home. And by that point, even my husband was hating the barking. When that last dog died it was one of my happiest times on this farm. It was like a curse had been lifted. No lie.

And now my husband wants to call this evil down upon us once again. He can't be reasoned with. He is sick with Coondog Fever.

So I hang out with Elliptical Machine & we listen to music. I'm just afraid the music won't be loud enough when the time comes.


Camp Papa said...

Can one board a coon dog with a distant, an possibly deaf, neighbor? You could go pick 'em up with the barking was desirable.

Looking forward to more posts.

Sara said...

Um, well, that would be Blue.He's a Blue Tick Coonhound and he lives at my husband's grandparents' house since we discovered that he runs deer instead of coon. Banished!
Unfortunately for the grandparents, they are far from deaf. They just don't have the heart to get rid of him now.