Its still kind of odd for this city girl to wrap her head around the fact that I live in the country – and I mean the REAL country, where there are deer and snakes and skunks and chipmunks and (shudder) mice running around the backyard, not a suburban decorated with a country theme.
Actually, the ‘yard’ is really an orchard, encompassing acres and acres of apples, peaches, plums, pears and prunes. (Did you know prunes grew on a tree? I didn’t, I thought they came from Wegmans.) Its a haven for all kind of wildlife, and is really quite beautiful to watch as the sun slowly sets over the leaves outlining the horizon. They are all just beginning to wake up as I am buttoning down the house for the evening; the onset of even earlier Autumn darkness signals the beginning of another task – survival. When its cold, whatever is out there wants to come into the warm, in whatever form that may be.
So it was no surprise to me last night when I came home from work to catch Miranda in pounce mode in front of the oven. Head down and haunches up, she moved slowly from one end of the stove to the other, looking behind it and then quickly running to the other side. I had seen this dance before and I knew what it was immediately.
Now, indulge me for just a moment while I explain to you my thinking. Where I come from, mice were a sign of a dirty house and unkempt grounds. They were filthy vermin, cousins to rats and bats, the result of poor sanitation and too many people living in too close a quarters. They were NOT considered helpful in the fact they ate other creatures, and certainly were not (dry heave) CUTE little creatures. But apparently out in the country (Oh dear God help me with this) they are considered just a nuisance, not a sign of wrath or pestilence. They are even considered friendly.
Last year at this time I urged Bear to set some mousetraps, and we did manage to catch one. That’s when I decided a hungry and blood thirsty decedent of the tiger would be much more humane.
Enter Miranda, who had no intention up giving up the stalk. She was in her element and could wait all night for her prey to unwisely make a run for it. In fact, she was so intent on Jerry’s capture (that’s what he calls them, “little Jerrys”) she ignored her dinner and didn’t flinch when I threw some catnip her way.
Good, I thought to myself. Maybe I’ll get even another cat to keep Miranda company.
Dinner eaten and the table cleaned up, we were getting ready to settle down for the night, when I heard Miranda howl – which was not strange in itself, this cat was the most vocal of all felines I have owned – but it was a different kind of song, almost a call to arms. She was warning Jerry she would not give up the good fight.
The wind began to blow in earnest later in the evening, branches and brush dancing in the moonlight against the backdrop of the orchard. I listened intently from the bedroom (yes its that small of a house) as Miranda stealthy danced around the kitchen, crashing into the china cabinet and the stove, back and forth and around & round.
I opened my eyes this morning to be greeted with the purr of victory. There was no evidence to speak of (not that I could see or smell anyway, oh Lord in heaven, I’m not looking under the bed) and I rolled over to go back to sleep.
Later that day, I found on the way to change the kitty litter a trail of guts and God knows what else….and knew that Jerry had lost the battle. For now.
Miranda was sitting near the cereal cabinet. I wrote on the note pad kept on the fridge with with a magnet in the shape of a mouse today’s tally : Jerry 0, Eileen/Miranda 3.
Lets’s hope Jerry’s city relatives don’t come to the funeral.