Thursday, September 17, 2009

If you give a mouse a kitten...

This past Saturday was a rainy dreary day on the farm. We stayed inside most of the day, and by 7pm we were all feeling a little couped up (now I know how the chickens feel). I told the farmer it was time for us all to go outside to get some fresh air. The kids did not want to go out. I tried to force them and they just wouldn’t budge. So I said, fine, I’ll be on the front porch! The farmer went to feed the livestock, I sat in the rocker, and immediately heard shouting out the back door, “Edmund has a mouse! Edmund has a mouse!” Edmund is one of our little 5 month old kitties. The confusing part to me, was that Edmund was on the front porch near me and the kids were still in the house… evidently they had opened the front door, seen the poor rodent meeting his end and ran back inside and then made the announcement from the back door. I take a closer look at Edmund and sure enough, he has a mouse trapped behind our plant stand. Peter, his brother, has joined the scene and now the kids are back out front. The fat little mouse made a break for it across the porch and as the kittens chased and pounced on him, I turned around and said, “I don’t want to watch this”. 3 year old son says, “I want to!” So as anyone who has mouser-cats knows, for the next hour, the cats and mouse played cat-and-mouse. Son went to go get his sword, just in case they needed his help. I tried to ignore the whole thing, since I was trying to enjoy the “peaceful” sounds of the countryside. The cats were now growling at each other, claiming the mouse. Our dog was trying to get involved with the situation as well. My 6 year old daughter came over to me crying with tears pouring down her cheeks. “Please Mama, I want the mouse. I want to keep him. Please do something!” What?! A pet mouse? She must be kidding. The farmer says, “She didn’t cry when any of her pet chickens died, (all of whom she had named) when they were attacked by a fox or a hawk in front of her, but she’s crying over a mouse?” We took this opportunity to go over the food chain (again). We talked about how this is a cat’s natural instinct as a predator. Eventually she stopped crying. And she and my son found the giant mud pit in the drive way to play in. They got so dirty that they had to have a hose down shower outside before they were allowed inside, and all I could think about was them contracting creep interruption, or creeping eruption, or ground itch. The cold water from the hose made them get a new burst of energy right before bed time. They ran inside, soaking wet, filthy dirty, screaming all the way. They did manage to check on the status of the mouse before heading in. The poor thing was still alive, but he didn’t have long.
As soon as we all got inside, the farmer says to me, “So, how was that for some fresh air?” I had to laugh. This is my life and I love it. I’m glad that my kids can learn these lessons while they are young- it’s OK for predators to kill other animals, and it’s OK to get filthy dirty. Those are still lessons that I’m trying to learn!
Sunday morning, my son and I go out the front door to feed the cats. Sure enough, the fat mouse has found his final resting place on our door mat. I gasp. Son says, “Don’t worry, he isn’t going to move.” And so life in the country continues…

1 comment:

Judy Kay said...

I need Peter and Edmund in my life.