Morning Mouse (as in "Good morning, Mouse") continues to appear on a daily basis in the scratch barrel. He or she has learned to hop into the bucket to be lifted to freedom and I enjoy starting my day with this encounter. Meaning no offense, I assign gender arbitrarily when there are no obvious clues and mice keep their private parts private. It's easy to visually differentiate the sex of turkeys, but nearly impossible with vultures. Male plumage is so apparent in most avians, but not vultures. I wonder why that is. I wonder about so many things with the creatures that abound here. For instance, it's not unusual to occasionally find a dead mouse, small bird, or lizard, but why is there never a sign of a dead turkey? Are they like elephants and have a specific graveyard? If they just keeled over and were taken by the cleanup crew (vultures, coyotes, etc.), I'd think there would be telltale feathers or something. On the very day I'd been wondering about that, I found a deceased hawk by the clothesline, and that was strange. Earlier I'd noticed crows driving a hawk away; maybe he was victim of such an attack, but I don't know. Come to think of it, I've never found a crow on the ground, either.
As I've mentioned previously, my mother was not an animal person in any way and got hysterical at the sight of a mouse or lizard. My sister liked dogs, hated cats, and had inherited my mother's phobias. I'm sure there were times Mother wondered where her strange daughter (me) had come from. It was my father who persuaded her to allow me a dog, a cat, my horned toads, a bird, and a horse. They were, in all ways, my responsibility. When my Kids were growing up, we had umpteen dogs (kept two and found homes for the puppies; those were the days before spay and neuter), a cat, a couple of rabbits, a hamster, a goose, a tortoise, some sort of ground squirrel or chipmunk, many, many guppies, and an occasional bird (ill-fated parakeets), most at the same time. Mother wondered aloud then if I'd lost my mind. She'd not have to wonder now if she saw me milking goats and feeding mice; she'd know I'd gone bonkers. I'm a happy nutter (insert big smiley face here).