Monday, February 11, 2013

wild things

Anyone who is predisposed against farm living ought not keep reading. There's too much of the rural stuff. Too much of stray animals and their perverse habitats.

There's too much of the wild, the uninvited.

It starts in the predawn hours, when I hear the telltale thrashing of the mouse trap downstairs.
Sh, go to sleep.
I know we have another catch. And that I will be the one looking for a field in which to set this brat free. Ed's the stay at home guy now. I go to work, releasing mice along the way.

Farmhouse living. We eat breakfast at the kitchen table.

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We talk about how the weather people had miscalled the temperatures. Above freezing turned below freezing. We have a sheet of ice on the driveway. Ed stands ready to push me and the donkey car out onto the road.

But as I leave, I spot the intruder.

The intruder was around last night. Isis and he exchanged stares for a minute and then the cat retreaded. Maybe because the intruder has very large, sharp teeth. Or maybe because they know each other. The intruder appears to be living beneath the writer's shed. He comes out to hunt for food in the makeshift compost pile that we keep by the garage during winter months.

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'Possum. In the south, people cook them. Our region is as far north as these guys go. No one cooks opossum here. We leave them alone, they leave us alone.

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Sorry to interrupt your breakfast, Mr 'possum. Go hang out with your family now.

I take the trapped mouse and head to campus. I pass cornfields, rather submerged right now...

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Canadian geese love it here. We're less in love with them. They multiply faster than rabbits (it seems) and they squawk at you if you get too near. And, worst of all, they leave behind many tons of poop.

I stop at a snow covered prairie field and let the mouse out.

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He looks at me defiantly and scampers off toward a plant hole, disappearing somewhere in the snow.

In the evening, back at the farmhouse, Ed reads me passages from a book written by a woman (Jennifer Reese) who took to raising chickens, bees, ducks, against all odds -- against intruders who invented clever ways to get into the fenced off areas and raid them for her birds. She never gives up, building bigger and better (meaning more expensive) enclosures and I laugh at these stories appreciatively, as if this was my fate too -- protecting Isis, protecting the warm spaces inside the farmhouse from the wild things that roam the farmette fields.