wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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The Treasury Board

Today I put dry chopped up leaves into my garden to keep the winter weeds down and add organic matter to my sandy soil in the spring.  I noticed that some of my strawberries had leapt overboard from the raised bed and were looking for a new home. To dig them up I moved the long board that lay alongside the raised bed (this board once helped to anchor the netting I had over the strawberries).

I pulled the board forward and found hazelnut shells, all empty, and all opened from the top (not cracked and left in two halves).

The stash of hazelnuts went down the whole length of the raised bed.

Each one was empty. Each one opened the same way, with the top eaten out, presumably by something with a small jaw and sharp teeth.

Not my Lincoln then. That squirrel would have hidden and stashed the nuts, possibly buried some near the trees where he sleeps, and the shells would have been cracked lengthwise.

Some weeks back I had seen a mouse in the strawberry bed, but this was a huge stash for a little mouse.

“It wasn’t me. Really, it wasn’t.”

My main suspect is Templeton (E.B.White’s rat). Since Charlotte’s Web, every rat in the world is named Templeton.

He is very brazen, but he’s cute, don’t you think? Once he tried to build a nest in our old truck. That was not so cute. He even went for a ride in it and came back without falling out. We had known he was in there but couldn’t get him out (until much later). After the Captain drove to the wharf to check the boat and came back home, Templeton was still hidden in a space  in front of the door hinge.

“How do you like my new digs?”

So tomorrow I’ll go out to the strawberry bed and see if there is a tunnel dug through my  newly added leaves that I put over the entrance at the side of the treasury board.

And then … we’ll see.

 


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The Beastie

The little yellow-green plums are ripe, and many have fallen to the ground.

I sit in my lawn chair, keeping the dogs company, but they want more. They want me to throw a glove to retrieve; anything to get my attention.

I’m too hot and tired to comply, so Emma goes over to eat a plum.

She looks over at me. “So aren’t you going to stop me?”

I’m too tired or lazy to care.

She runs to get another plum and takes it across the yard to be sure I notice her.

“Aren’t you going to stop me? I’m eating your plums….”

I just don’t care.

Emma repeats this attention-getting plum eating thing, and I lazily count how many times she runs back and forth from the tree to the “grassy eating place.”

At FOURTEEN plums, I think I’d better haul myself out of the lawn chair before she has an accident. I imagine her little belly full of pits. I’ve checked on this before, and they do pass right through. But FOURTEEN of them? And she’s a small dog.

I walk around the yard telling deaf old Ruby the springer spaniel to please hurry up and pee so we can go in. Emma has no interest in doing anything. She’s taken off into the shrubbery around the backyard.

It’s starting to get dusky. Time to go in.  Ruby is already at the door, but where is Emma?

I call her.

No Emma.

I call again.

No Emma.

I wonder if she has slipped out through the gate somehow, but she’s really too big for that.

I imagine her lying in the bushes writhing with gut pain from eating too many plums.

Finally she appears, but she’s not running to me. I have to call her over. She has her head down and comes reluctantly.

Then I see a feather in her mouth – or wait – no, it’s a tail. OMG! Does she have a rat in her mouth? No. Too small. A mouse then? Or is it a baby rat? I have mixed feelings. If it’s a rat, kill it (and I don’t want to touch it – actually I don’t want her to eat it either). If it’s a mouse, please let the poor thing go.

But she has her jaws clamped shut. Just the tail of the poor little creature is hanging down the side of her jaws like half of a Fu Manchu moustache.

I want her to give it up, but do I want this (possibly) rat in my hand?

Gingerly, I take hold of the tail and say the magic words that make her give up whatever is in her mouth. (It’s not, “Drop it,” or “Dead bird,” or “GIVE-IT-TO-ME-RIGHT-NOW!”) I have to be polite, and say, the way I’ve taught her, “Thank you!”

She opens her mouth and I pull out a

“Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!” (Thank you, Robbie Burns.)

The poor thing is a bit wet and scruffy, but still able to run, if only it knew which way to go. I hold back the Hound of the Baskervilles and give the poor wee beastie time to escape.

 

 

Then we come inside where Emma tells me she’s eaten too many plums and didn’t have room for a mouse anyway, and that, by the way, she’ll be getting me out of bed at 12:30 in the morning to go out the dark and deal with the plums once they’ve done their work.

 

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The Calico Cat

When the Captain and ten-year-old Ruby went for a pheasant walk through the fields, the first thing they scared up was a beautiful calico cat who was also hunting by the side of the road. Ruby was startled and made a few leaps in the cat’s direction but the Captain called her back. I was surprised to see that Ruby was so quick to obey when the chase instinct must have been strong.dscn6774a

The cat was taking no chances and leaped up into the safety of a nearby cottonwood, and there she stayed, long enough for me to get some pictures anyway.  dscn6790a

As I zoomed the camera in, I noticed what a pretty cat this was. Not just your run-of-the-mill stray hunter.dscn6789a

And what gorgeous green eyes she had! I wanted to ask her to move her head so that twig wasn’t in front of her face but she wasn’t budging. She was safe in the tree and that’s where she would stay until all danger was past.dscn6788aI didn’t want to think about the baby birds she might have killed this spring. I preferred to think about the mice she catches so the prairies won’t be overrun with them.

mouse

The calico cat

Is not getting fat

But she’s keeping the prairies clean.

Oh mouse, you should run.

For the kitty, it’s fun

Though I’m sure you would think she is mean.

The calico cat

Has no cozy mat

By the fireplace, safe in a house.

She still needs to eat

And she’s quick on her feet,

So run for your life, little mouse.