Thursday, April 26, 2012



Mike and I have returned to town from a two-day stay at the farm. We have yet to connect the internet there, so I didn’t even take my laptop. I should have, though. The muse came and I could have done some writing even if I was unable to post.

Mike was very busy. He serviced the 4-wheeler, the lawn mower, and his dirt bike. He tried to mow but ran out of gas before finishing the front lawn. And then he started washing windows – outside first, then inside.

I dug out around the lilacs and buried a banana peel at the base of each. I was going to plant the raised bed garden, but we had left the little ‘tiller in town. I must have made 16 trips up and down the attic stairs putting away items left out since Halloween and Christmas, and that was tedious. It would have been better to have had a helper, but he was busy with his own agenda and besides, I wanted to poke around in the attic, even though I really hate to be there alone. I selected certain items for the upcoming rummage sale and even eliminated a box or two. And I found a box I’ve been wondering about – some of my doll furniture and accessories relating to my collection of 8- and 10-inch dolls. I have plans for these things.

About this box of doll furnishings – I removed a few things from the box and was startled to see some of the newspaper packing had been shredded. In other words, there was a mouse nest in the box. “I’ll deal with it another time,” I said to myself. But the inner voice – call it God, call it intuition – said: “DEAL WITH IT NOW!”

“Right away after lunch then,” I replied, and carried the box down the stairs.

At lunch, I mentioned the shredded newspaper to Mike. “Mice love shredded newspaper,” Mike observed. “It’s their nesting material of choice.”

Directly after the lunch dishes were done, I took the box out to the yard. I removed this bundle and that until I came to the shredded paper. What were those little pink things? At first I thought they were little plastic pigs. Then they stretched and moved and shivered in the breeze. It felt like the horrible truth was dawning on me in slow motion. It was an active mice nest! I found Mike – I couldn’t handle it alone – and he told me to call Nellie for assistance, which I did.
“Where are the parents?” Mike demanded to know. What he meant was, “Where’s the mother?” (I don’t think mouse daddies stick around for the birth event.)

I hoped that mama had abandoned the nest but I also knew she could still be in the box, and Nellie, my faithful friend, was right by my side fixated on the box. Slowly I removed doll furniture until I came to the last piece – Ginnette’s crib. As I picked it up there was a flurry of activity in the box. I screamed involuntarily and jumped back as I caught sight of the gray streak, but Nellie was on top of it, deftly catching the quarry in her teeth. So much for that.

I won’t use the word “defiled,” but I will say that I was disappointed. Disappointed that the little doll blankets my mother made for me had come to such an end. I threw a number of things away in the empty garbage can, but I’m still thinking that maybe I could salvage them. Or – maybe it’s just time for renewal.

The old textiles I didn’t toss I immediately washed in the sink. Memories flooded back – memories of happy times with my mother. The little doll mattresses were made with scraps and stuffed with discarded nylons that I cut into bits.

The revival of these things is a work in progress. KW

[This sequence of pictures was taken Tuesday night, April 24, as I watched a storm roll in at the farm. As the sun was setting the storm, which proved to be hail, caught the rosy hues of the setting sun and reflected it back -- a beautiful sight. When it hit at the house, hail the size of marbles fell with a great clatter on our metal roof. Mike drove the pick-up to the grove in an effort to shield it. We had several other heavy rain storms during the night.]


Chris said...

Oh my goodness!! Even guessing what the M stood for, I was unprepared for the actual story!! I can feel your pain, those memories--shattered! If you're unable to save anything, those memories remain. And now I'm wondering where my little furniture is. Maybe in Mom and Dad's attic?? If so, I'm certain it's met a similar end.

So glad Nellie was there! Trusty pal!! Buddy says to tell her, "Well done!"

Leah said...

Paper boxes are what critters like. Was the box with the nest paper or plastic?

When I unpacked Christmas decorations a few years ago, the tissue that I'd used to wrap some ornaments had holes like Swiss cheese. I was reminded that paper is favored by many bugs. Then I knew I had to get rid of all cardboard boxes in my storage shed. I bought lots of large plastic tubs with lids & did a storage makeover.

Strange but funny story. A few years ago when I had my first colonoscopy, I was on a gurney in the hallway of the hospital, waiting & staring at the ceiling. A woman & man were involved in a heated discussion in a room nearby, out of sight. The woman was in charge & the man was responsible for unpacking supplies that went into the room. She was critiquing his work & she was not pleased. Her voice kept rising as she told him over & over. "I told you, no cardboard boxes on the shelves. Everything has to be taken out of the cardboard boxes!" The word "bugs" was thrown in there somewhere. The hospital management knew that they had to keep the items in the storage room squeaky clean.

I hate to ask, but what did you do with the baby mice?

Kathy said...

So true, Chris. The memory is the reality. The item is just a symbol.

Yes, it was a cardboard box -- the packing box in which the things were moved. Yes, they should have been switched to plastic or cardboard with cap lids. However, time went by and I forgot. That's one of the reasons I was disappointed. I could have prevented it.

Well, to be indelicate, Nellie gobbled the babies as soon as she understood what they were. The babies must not have much scent because I had to point them out. Then she could smell the mouse in the box.

This year I also made the mistake of leaving my fur-lined slippers on the floor. The mice had a field day in them. I'm going to get a new pair and use this pair as a set-up.

Leah said...

Because of the mouse massacre, I forgot to comment on the striking cloud photography. Absolutely beautiful.

Richard V. Shields III said...

Obviously, the search for Nellie's future apprentice has taken on a new dimension. How does one evaluate pointer bloodlines for 'mouser' traits? Judging from my own experiences, you are correct in planning for the pup to receive some training through Nellie's example, but I had never related that to prey without feathers.
But talent is talent. And Nellie's clearly goes farther than helping Mike with a few wing shots.

Kathy said...

Hi Richard! You're right -- talent is talent. Nellie is bred to hunt, and when it's not birds,she hunts rodents. She's not as good as a cat but she's better than nothing -- especially if the rodent is cornered.

You might have read, though, that Nellie won't be training anyone this year. And that's fine.

Richard V. Shields III said...

I had read that. And it's probably just as well because if selecting a future mouseketeer has become part of the search requirement, finding the new puppy may take some time.
In my own experience with breaking in a new puppy along side of an older dog, it took the newbie a year+ just to figure out what he was supposed to be hunting. It was a long, sad story that I think I've already shared with Mike.