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Country Critters and Friends

April 8th, 2008

A few days of beautiful weather really brought out the spring. We’ve been busy moving plants, and generally tidying up the place. And there’s always something happening to get your attention. Usually I wander from one project to the other, often pulled by the “Daddy come here!” calls of the nearly wild youngster. Later he led the family on a hike through the woods to his secret spot and he was so excited to show us the big spot of pretty little flowers in the grass. He asked me to put this up here to show everyone.

Flowers in the grass

We didn’t find any morels, but saw lots of lush green moss.

Moss in the forest

Of course later I remembered that I left Sparky the cat in the barn. The cats will follow us everywhere and they have no idea about predators really. So I locked him inside while we went hiking around. We came back and found the cat nosing around a workbench. I didn’t think we had mice in the barn this winter, but apparently Sparky begged to differ.

Sure enough upon looking between some boxes on a shelf, two little beady eyes peered out at me. Cornered by the cat in back and me staring at him in front, the mouse didn’t want move from his hideaway. In a moment of unusual inspiration, I grabbed a large bucket and scooted the mouse from behind. The little guy thought he could outsmart me and leapt off the shelf making a perfect plunk! noise in the bucket, after which time he hunkered down realizing he was caught.

Naturally the young boy admired this mousy cuteness and wanted to keep him for a pet… not! And of course Sparky the cat glared at me after taking his prize away. So after much deliberation, and with the boy’s earnest concern, we took our friend for a walk across the pond and let him go.

A lucky country mouse

Be free little mouse! He was lucky I was delinquent on setting the mousetraps this winter. But the experience of helping the little critter and letting him go was important to the boy. I remember years ago when I was about his age, and catching my first trout with my Dad and brothers in a lake in Oregon. We fished all day to catch just a few for dinner, and then I pleaded to let my fish go back in the water. He helped me do that.

The weather warmed up enough to bring the turtles out. I think that’s why I like a few stumps and logs in the pond, as it makes for perches and hideaways for the critters.

Pond turtles in Missouri

Late in the afternoon yesterday I found two friends walking home together. Justin the Basset Hound and Sparky the cat.  Justin likes to follow the cats around, and they seem to enjoy his gentle disposition. He’s over 10 years old now.

Two friends walking home, Basset Hound and Cat

2 Responses to “Country Critters and Friends”

  1. Pabloon 08 Apr 2008 at 8:36 pm

    I love the notion that your boy has a secret spot in the woods. Every child should feel he has a retreat.
    (And did you really walk across the pond? Literally?)

  2. Beauon 08 Apr 2008 at 9:25 pm

    It’s wonderful to share his imagination and enthusiasm, and remember it from our own lives. Literary license, that word across. Somehow when we walk across the dam, it’s like walking across the water for me. The far side of everything. Now, going the other way? That’s certainly walking around… :)

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