Saturday, March 9, 2013

I Know, I Know

The rustlings and squeaks coming from the big medicine box on the milking room wall had made me curious so a few weeks ago I opened the drop-down door to take a peek.  I didn't write about it at the time because I felt so bad about what happened next.  The box was literally teeming with mice; I mean a lot of mice.  Mice of all sizes and they were in a panic at being discovered.  I couldn't shut the door right away because a dozen or more baby mice, fully formed but no bigger than a peanut in the shell, were in the crack and I didn't want to squish them.  As I hesitated, the tiny creatures began to fall or leap off the door to the floor.  I was able to catch a few by the tail and put them back in the box, but most scrambled away.  I felt terrible for the little kids and for their mamas.  I knew there was no way the adults could get the babies up the wall to the nest and thought the infants would never survive on their own.  I underestimated their resourcefulness and will to live.

My mother and sister (both terrified of mice) would call me six kinds of idiot to hear me say that I have been so happy in the last week to see the kindergartners come to get spilled goat chow for breakfast.  The waifs, now half the size of a walnut, have made their own colony burrowed in the used-wipe bucket, running up and down the section of broom handle I put in there to allow the wayward to escape.  I hope I'm not spawning a gang of hooligans, as this group will grow up without adult supervision to keep them in line.  They don't have much fear of me and will sit and munch on a corn kernel as I move about.  Five or six at a time will come out of the bucket to play hide-and-seek behind the shovel and rake.  Their antics make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud.

I know.  I know that mice are considered vermin.  I know they can be destructive.  I know they are costly in terms of grain wasted.  I know they are prey to cats and hawks or that I will find the corpse of one who zigged when it should have zagged in the goats' stall.  I know the chickens find them to be a delicacy.  I know all that, and I don't care.  I find mice amusing companions while I tend my farm animals.  Live and let live, I say.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Oh, HERE, HERE! I heartily agree and would be right beside you cheering them on and laughing at the antics. After all, they AREN'T in your bedroom or even close to your house! Play on, funny mice toddlers!