Times Do Change

We’ve been doing a bit of pondering lately on the subject of hypocrisy (come on, you wouldn’t recognise us if we weren’t examining some aspect of our hotch-potch life in the minutiae) because we’re a bit worried we’re doing a pretty fine line in it at the moment.

First, some context: As soon-to-be parents, which wasn’t yesterday, we were ironclad over a great many things, the majority which sunk without a trace within the first few months of the eldest off-spring’s beautiful life. Things like: My child will never drip snot in public – that one lasted only until our first unaccompanied supermarket outing and, just quietly, by the end of that foray both mother and child were similarly festooned. Mum will be up and dressed each morning before the babe awakes and never, under any circumstances, will she answer the door in her dressing gown. Hmm…Let’s just say it should be law to never visit those with a new born without warning, clutching something decadent to eat, and the readiness to roll up your sleeves and muck in.

But one edict that remained was the blanket ban on “war toys”. Our home was plastic gun/knife/grenade/assassin accessory free. This became more difficult to enforce with the arrival of The Farmer as, although he was born into the age of gender neutral this, that, and the other, birthday parties continually added to the hidden faux-weapon arsenal on the top of our highest bookcase. And while we’re in a sharing mood, this is where we champions of creativity confess to a fair few kindergarten-built Kalashnikovs and Glocks ending their days in the woodburner, too, because – well – guns are bad.

And so too our collective internal struggle with the charge of hypocrisy: You see, a great section of our Homestead dedicated time is invested in the growing of food. In the absence of a plant-cosseting arena, our windowsills are crammed with seedlings destined for the traffic-jammed vegetable gardens. The amount of hours invested in destoning, weeding, nutrient-enhancing, bug-dissuading, plant cajoling practise is only equaled by those spent cooing and fussing over the Homestead fruit trees. To lose the hearts of your all the lettuces or the juiciest of the no-we’ll-leave-them-just-one-more-day peaches in night time rabbit or possum raids is enough to make you examine your options.

It’s hard not to go all Mr McGregor

So we did. Research was conducted, course of actions explored, those-in-the-know consulted and we came up with our answer.

Poisoning is horrific as are most traps; they result in a slow and painful death for a being that was only doing what it was hot-wired to do. Humane traps, where the animal is caught and relocated, simply shifts your problem onto someone else’s pitch (rabbits and possums are huge pests here).

We’re still cautiously (with the safety on) learning

So Santa put an air rifle, well up to the job of instant-kill Homestead pest control, under our tree this year. On New Years Day it was sighted in and target practice was mandatory. Some did better than others; some are more enthusiastic.

So are we hypocrites? In reflection, we think not. We humans morph and change according to our experiences and this, we believe, is just another example of adapting. No one is playing games, no one is glorifying anything; this gun is just another tool of the Homestead to be used with care, well maintained, and respected.

And as for the possum, obviously an escaped pet, who hisses like a cat, has no fear of humans, and who loves our fruit trees as much as it dislikes The Goat Herd when she returns home of an evening out (resulting in shrieking phone calls from the car as it glares menacingly through the windscreen at her, teeth bared) it has now become personal…

and she’s our best shot!

20 thoughts on “Times Do Change

  1. A gun as a farming tool or weapon is not a toy…and you’re not treating it as one. I don’t see any hypocrisy here. Toy guns send a message around enthusiasm for killing wantonly, or for shooting the “bad guys” which gets you into a lot of complicated territory of definitions (define bad, gender, ethnicity, socio economic issues etc). I am well aware of the damage done in NZ by rabbits and possums, and I saw what happened to Rangitoto Island when rats got over there. An air gun in the hands of a responsible homesteader siting in on a wild animal that has lost it’s fear of humans is probably the best option there is. When you’ve cleaned up the homestead, come and deal with my rats…

  2. I’ve seen over the hedge I know what these animals are capable of. Its a hard decision to make but on the land people need a humane way of eradicating pesky pests. Here in Aussie we have very strict laws, but we can get someone in to do the job for us. I won $10 as a kid from my Cuz cause I shot the string the can was hanging from, target practice is fun.

  3. Yes, tricky……………I like to visit local open gardens many of which have orchards and vegetable patches. Some gardeners go to a lot of trouble to keep their precious produce separate from the wild life. I have seen all manner of enclosures from the simple to the elaborate including fruit trees in cages.

    • As one who always leaves a few on the tree/vine “for the birds” I have no problem sharing the largess. It losing the lot that upsets me 😊 I guess we all have to live our truth and I do envy many folks their berry encloures etc

  4. Go for the possums and rabbits. As a tasweigen, I live with wallabies and possums rabbits and rats, plus black birds who love my fruit trees. I have come to agreement with the wallabys they can eat the leaves of the lower limbs,(usually involves breakages at some point, and fruit knocked off. So far this agreement only verbal has been working.

    The possum we feed carrots and apples, in exchange for hoping they will be kind, seems to be working though if you loose your head honcho possum all bets are off. So you have to get him to come dine on the deck too, and hope he keeps to the agreement.

    The black birds, well I had heaps of peaches this year, and netting was a pain getting it off a couple of years ago. So the birds get some and I get more. I just can not touch a lovely looking peach or look at it and think I ll pick that tomorrow. πŸ™‚

    I have neighbours who have money, and have major issues. they pay someone to get rid of the possums..but guess what another one moves in. I shared my system but they seem to want it all for themselves. Which is their prerogative, they can afford to pay someone. Me well as more and more city people move from the mainland for the simple life(oh dear) they fence off their entire property’s with wallaby proof fencing. Where as I hang out the welcome sign. fence my garden and fingers crossed.

    • I also prescribe to the “hey, theres plenty for all” approach but unfortunately the rabbits and possums here dont. We’ll broker some kind of deal no doubt but as for Rouge the possum with the bullyboy cat attitude – his days are numbered!

      • I can understand your issues especially with our possums that were introduced. they are very clever and naughty. I have no issue with non native animals being eradicated humanely especially since most people do not realise that possums eat meat. Here they are partly responsible researchers feel for the decline in swift parrots. rabbitsArrgh my poppy was a rabbiter they taste great though. Happy possum catching.

  5. I see no hypocrisy here. Living in a rural community, we are used to the sound of guns and air rifles being fired and know from experience the disappointment of a lost crop to pests who get up earlier in the morning than we do. Two acquaintances (both women) own air rifles and regularly take pot-shots out of their upstairs windows at grey squirrels, rats, deer, wood pigeons etc. You do what you have to do. That possum sounds really scary!

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