Friday, May 13, 2011

spring forward?

Is it that hope springs eternal or spring springs eternal or both spring eternally and ever after?


The mice disappear for now. I’m sure they’ll be back, but for now we have a day of quiet.

The warm air disappears as well. It’s cold and wet outside.

Blogger disappeared for a long stretch too, but for me, it comes back up. For me, but not for others. I don’t get it. Perhaps it’s just a passing thing.

In the meantime, despite it all, the fruit trees and the lilacs continue to push toward the time when they set my spring world on fire. Here we go, almost there...


still of the night

A beautiful Thursday morning of warm air and a cotton-like mist over the faintly green fields.


I can trace the sunrise between the branches of the fruit trees in the orchard.


It’s going to be a fine day!

A commenter asks – is Isis (the cat) a mouser?

Living in a farmhouse – you get the mice. Field mice, house mice, who knows what mice. Mice mice.

So you would think having a mouser cat around would keep the mice away. Indeed it does – from the sheep shed, where Isis resides.

It’s not that Isis wont come into the farmhouse. He’s quite vocal about wanting to join us there, especially in the evenings. And I’m okay with him coming in for a quick visit. But just that. I don’t want him to move in, suitcase and all.

Even as the guilt in setting limits has been severe.

DSC06755 - Version 2

There are two reasons to let him in forever and whenever – first, he wants to be with us and second – the fact that he is a mouser.

There are three to keep him out – first... he wants to be with us. And on us. Sleep snuggled next to someone, claws, long sharp claws digging into soft flesh (I’m not referring to Ed’s flesh which seems indifferent to claw grips), snoring, purring, clawing – all part of a blissful cat sleep. And more than any cat I’ve come across, Isis loves attention from those in his inner circle. In years past, when I used to visit Ed in the sheep shed he would jump up for a petting session the minute I’d sit anywhere at all and if I dared or Ed dared to log on to a computer, Isis would walk across a laptop or a keyboard until I (or Ed) stopped and focused on him. Ed doesn’t mind. His sheep shed keyboard is filled with cat debris. And I understand demands for attention. I do. But I also love my squeaky clean baby Apple to be, well, squeaky clean. And without Isis pawed additions to my text. Isis is very facile at adding irrelevant letters to whatever you’re writing. Or deleting the entirety. Or playing with function keys. The cat’s a regular geek. Like father like son.

The second (and related) reason for a limit-Isis-in-farmhouse policy is that Isis tracks dirt as if the outdoors and indoors were one. Mud? Debris? What, I’m a cat! I can’t be bothered with wiping paws. Sure I jump on tables and poke my nose into whatever you’re eating. I’m a cat! A typical do as I please cat! (Like father, like son.) Come and go out my own cat door, when I want, hey, a cat!

The third reason is the flipside of the very best reason to have him around – he’s a mouser alright. He loves nothing more than to catch the damned little mouse, play with it some, torture it ‘til the bitter end and then drop it down for you (the “entrails,” Ed’ll say) as a gift. Typically by your favorite chair. And if eating part of a mouse upsets his tummy, he’ll regurgitate that for you as well. Conveniently in the middle of the room (thus far, sheep shed), so that you will notice.

And my daughters are allergic to cats and he sheds and the sheep shed smells of cat ... oh, I guess those are reasons number four, five and six.

And still, it’s not an easy decision. Listening to him meow outside sends a worried Ed scurrying to spend quality time with the cat. If by chance we don’t respond to him, Isis goes for any window screen within reach. The most convenient one for him has a nice claw mark to show us he cares.

So for now, it’s peppermint oil for the mice. And an occasional short visit by Isis. With an addition of one little plastic box today that snaps shut if any small critter sniffs around inside. And a dab of peanut butter in it as an invitation.

As we all know, Blogger has been down for the past day. (Indeed, as of this writing, posts from the last two days have been taken down by Blogger, with promises of some later date fix.) I go to sleep without publishing the above text.

Halfway into the night, I wake up to a muted clatter, coming from downstairs. It’s quiet in the countryside. You can hear most any noise within the farmhouse.
Ed, I think we caught a mouse.
Go to sleep.
No, really, I’m sure of it.
Ed, can you check?
You check.
I realize I cannot. I am not exactly scared of mice. But it’s dark and I’m not sure how to handle the trap – it seems so flimsy. Easy to spring from and pounce, claw and maim its holder. Can you please go down?
Ed is deeply asleep.
Reluctantly, he does. You’re right. I’ll take it down to the road.

And so begins a life of catch and release. Ed is out delivering the mouse to the fields. Isis comes in to sniff the place out. It’s 2 a.m. at the farmhouse.

It’s 4:30 a.m. The noise is unmistakable.
Ed, we caught another mouse.