We haven’t had any chicken killings, no wild horse escapades, nary a snake has snuck up on me of late. The dogs have been calm, the skunks have been distant, no electrical or water outings to speak of. Save my 9 month old causing a ruckus, it’s been relatively quiet here at the J & A Chicken Ranch.
The weather is turning cooler, and if you live in the country, inevitably means the mice try to scurry inside.
For the record, me and mice, we don’t jive. I usually keep poison out in little hidey spots and have a trap or two set, but now that our little EK is crawling and nosing around, neither poison nor traps are a good idea.
In case it bears repeating, me and mice, we don’t jive. So I couldn’t just live with the nasty little varmints. I knew they were around, being the light sleeper that I am, I could hear them in the night and quite frankly I was just a tad creeped out. My mother told me she heard that rats ate a baby in New York City once and I just couldn’t bear the thought of mice nibbling on my tot’s ear or at the very least scuttling about throughout the house.
I had to do something, so do it, I did.
I brought home some cats.
Two little kittens were born under my mom’s house about 3 or 4 months ago. My mom and my niece worked diligently taming the little cuties, feeding them saucers of milk, getting them to come in the house, until they were just almost pets.
One is a little gray and white one that Ashy mistook for a girl and named Flower and the solid black one is name Bandit, Bandi for short. He’s a bit wilder.
I had to bring Flower out first, as we only had one cat carrier, and couldn’t fit them both in the carrier, much less catch the little black one. As soon as the door was opened, Flower was MIA. He took off and I didn’t hear from him for 3 days. The food was eaten each night, but I wasn’t sure what exactly could be chowing down in his absence. Finally on the 3rd night, we heard a meow coming from the tree so we knew he was still hanging around.
The next day, I quickly went to my mom’s and got Brother Bandi. Now this little wiry black kitten is skittish and wild acting, but when the door to the carrier was opened, he just stayed put for a while. Then he nonchalantly walked around the yard, sniffing around, venturing out of the front yard fence momentarily. I was pleased to see that he wasn’t going to run and was hoping that he and Brother could reunite shortly.
I sat out and watched the reunion closely as they began mewing at one another. Slowly the little gray kitten tiptoed off the haystack where he had stayed hidden and they scurried off together running underneath an outbuilding. I sat on my bucket on that beautiful fall afternoon smiling at how grand life is. Then I went in the house.
It wasn’t much later that the quiet, grand life was interrupted with yelps, and barks, and bangs, and growls. As I ran to peer out the back window, I discovered that Bandi had found his way into the backyard and the two dogs, Drew and Grace, were not appreciating their intruder. The backyard had turned into a boxing ring with 2 against one and the dogs were winning. I ran out there screaming and shouting, but our dog Drew will fight to the death and refuses to be called off of anything he has cornered. The only way was to open the gate and convince them to go outside where Drew could go chase invisible rabbits and dig holes under pipe.
Once the dogs were gone, the little black cat pressed himself against the back screen door, wide-eyed and panting. His fur was matted and wet from the battle and his heart was pounding. He stayed there frozen. I went to him to try to help him, but he ran away and climbed into a bush in the backyard where he stayed perched for at least an hour.
Finally, with EK in her stroller, I got a chair and stood atop to reach up and remove the little fellow. He quickly hopped down, found his way out of the dog’s backyard territory and has stayed hidden every since.
My mom and Ashy came out that evening after I called and told them the story and were able to woo the frightened little guys out of hiding for a few minutes of reassurance.
Needless to say, the dogs are back in the backyard, one cat stays hidden on top of the stacks of alfalfa, the other stays hidden under an outbuilding.
I don’t think they like their new home much, but on a good note, I haven’t heard from the mice lately.