Why do people never return things they borrow? Why is it that I forget what I loaned out until the exact moment I need it? Why does the world spin? How long before I get rich? All these questions - no answers.

Enter into my domain. We live on a small farm with an even smaller garden. Since the deer and vermin play freely on our farm unless Brutus the evil watchdog catches them, we have placed a fence around our little garden plot. This fence is constructed of the highest quality chicken wire so as to deter horses from reaching through it or deer and around the bottom, exactly 6 inches from the bottom because husband is a perfectionist and we can't have anything un-exact, is a single strand of electric wire. This wire was placed along the bottom to deter Brutus and his sons from digging in the garden and to deter the barn cats from creating a litterbox out of it. It's amazing how you can freshly till the soil and immediately all the cats have an urgent calling of nature!

The fence has done it's job well. However, some vermin have learned there is always a way around a border. The vermin in question these days is one evil, plotting, and horrifically hungry armadillo. Armadillos are not even native to our area. They have lead to the demise of the gopher tortoise by eating their eggs. They have contributed to many a cow or horse being put down after stepping in their cavernous holes and tunnels and they have destroyed many a wonderfully landscaped yard. However, Brutus is the ultimate armadillo deterent and he is raising his boys to be so as well. When you mix a boxer, a bull mastiff and an english bulldog all into one dog, you get one very large, very strong and very stupid creature! Brutus is the perfect example of the now proclaimed "American Bulldog". He's awesome.

This creature, hereinafter referred to as satan, however, has learned that borders do serve purposes. There is enough food within the boundaries of the fence that he doesn't have to stray. So, he has burrowed his way under the fence and set up house within the protective boundaries. We first discovered him after realizing that our entire initial tomato crop was either missing or damaged. Sure - he's tasted the beans, the squash and even the okra, but tomatoes are his favorite fresh dish!

This will be the McKenzie challenge of 2008. The dogs set up posts all around the garden as dusk approaches and after sunset they begin what is eventually the most annoying patrolling on this planet. Between their three barks, highlighted by the additional bark of one ever so hyper chihuahua and the constant banging on the walls of the cabin, sleep is but a distant memory.

Three nights ago the plan was to enter into the garden after dark and chase the creature out of the borders. It worked but it quickly became evident that he had mastered the skills of Brutus evasion and yes, satan escaped into another safety zone. The sons- Spin and Slow Joe - caught on quickly but were so busy falling over one another and every stump on the ground that there was no challenge in evading them.

Within hours the next day, the tunnel began moving towards the garden again. We could see the ground swelling as satan dug from his home deep within the earth towards that garden. Plan B was to take a very large, very heavy, tamping rod designed for impacting posts into the ground and pierce the ground. Yes, this option was desperate and required the husband to maneuver as I can barely pick up that horrid object. We were certain when we heard the scream that he hit his mark. Armadillos scream a lot on farms where dogs chase them and people despise them. It's incredible how cute they are to look at and how evil they are to try to co-exist with.

Yesterday it was evident, however that satan once again was the prince of the farm. He returned with a vengeance making sure to simply destroy the plants in his path and eat his way through to the other side of the beloved garden. If it didn't taste good, he simply spit it out and moved to the next fruit! Oh this creature is going down!

Last night we came up with a new plan. We would trap him. So, we set out looking for the new live trap we had, laughing to one another as to how fun it would be to take this creature and simply turn him loose in some poor unsuspecting neighbor's yard. We were making a list of all the evils done upon us by different neighbors and deciding who would get it first! That's when we realized we "loaned" the trap out and would probably never see it again. We had a back up trap and set it in place only to realize this morning that it was more than likely too small for the vermin as he sprung it but didn't get to the food inside.

Tonight is Plan C or D or E...I've lost count. Tonight we will completely remove the back fencing. OH THE FUN as we hear Brutus capturing this creature. Of course, it will take several hours to convince Brutus that yes the fence is gone as Brutus is no fan of electric wire and will walk around where it previously existed for a year or so. Plan C or D or E may become Plan W by the time we get Brutus convinced he can cross that line.

We could just shoot the creature but that would mean catching him in the open and knowing fully it was him and not some unsuspecting cat or dog that belongs on the farm. My reflexes and eyesight after dark aren't that great and Dave's temper has already been roused meaning when shots are fired, he will not regret it if he hits everything in the way. SO shooting is not an option at this point.

As a last resort, we will get together with the community teenagers and place a bounty on the creature. This will more than likely lead to holes in the walls, dead cats, a completely destroyed garden and other calamity but hey, they will have had fun and satan will be gone!

This reminds me of the skunk I once hunted...stayed tuned tomorrow.

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