Living in the country makes every day an adventure. When you get up you never know what the day is going to bring.
This morning I let my dog and cat out through the garage. It was not long until the dog was at the door ready to come in to eat. I noticed the cat off in the distance sitting in a crouched position. Soon he whizzed by me on his way into the house.
I sat down to eat breakfast. The animals were uneasy to say the least. The cat started pawing in the corner. That is when I saw it. A field mouse snuck out from under a small cloth bag in the corner. The adventure began. Although it is somewhat irrational for a normal-sized human being, I panicked at the sight of the mouse. The cat pursued the little thing chasing it from spot to spot. Finally, in a daring maneuver the mouse ran for the pantry and took cover beneath the Hoosier cupboard.
Since we fixed up Hickory Heights mice have not been a problem, but I remember when there were holes everywhere and we had frequent visitors. Now, I did not want that mouse to dig in and find a spot in the house so I began pulling things out so my animals could get a better shot at the intruder.
I did not see him, but somehow he snuck back out into the mud room because soon the cat was sitting in front of the dresser out there in his pre-pounce mode. I think that the cat must have injured the mouse out in the garage, then, carried him in his mouth. The little thing was slower than normal.
My dog was as bad as the cat. She went from room to room following the scent after all she is part beagle! Finally, I noticed the dog sitting beside a small pile of something. I am not sure which pet got the mouse, but at any rate I no longer had to worry about it.
When we lived in the trailer down next to the farm house by the barn I had mice to deal with all the time. Now, I am not particularly fond of them, but I learned to empty my own traps. I often opened a drawer or cupboard and found a mess. Sometimes a mouse got into the bathroom cupboard and chewed up the towels to make a nest. Sometimes I found chewed up napkins in the kitchen drawer or had to dump out boxes of cereal that appeared to be tampered with by mice. The final straw was when I found my mixer cord chewed to the point that it no longer worked. My mixer was not that old at that point, but it no longer had a cord.
Another rodent, rats, frequently visited the barn. With all of the animal feed at their disposal it was the perfect spot. I remember my husband and the children discussing the feed bin. When they poked up inside it they never knew what would come out. Of course, they hated rats because of the damage they did in the barn.
The irony of that was the story my son had to tell about how he met this great girl at work. She brought in her sick pet rat. By the time he saw it, the animal was too far gone to save. After its demise he sent a note on behalf of the hospital to his client. That episode led to his finding a new girlfriend who eventually became his wife. When he told his dad about the pet rat, he prefaced it saying that pet rats were not like the rats in the barn. He knew that his dad thought that the only good rat was a dead one.
The deer was extremely loyal. He loved our dog, Ebony. Wherever the dog went the deer was not far behind. We found out through a fluke that he knew his people. When I drove over to Lander to rescue him we had a call he was there and caged up he followed me and the children right to the car and climbed in. We dropped him off by the barn where he reunited with the dog.
My husband had a good sense for animals. We were lucky. I certainly would not advise anyone to harbor wild animals as pets. With all of the rabies around these days it is not safe.
As for the mice, I will be more careful when I let the animals in. For now, the two pets are asleep recuperating for another country adventure.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org