City vs. Country
Silly me! I thought I was having a very "city" kind of day, one filled with errands, clothes shopping and a visit with friends. I started off the day by going to buy chicken feed, well, okay, that is kind of country. Then I went to visit a friend in the hospital. That is both city and country. Then I went to a winery tasting room to pick up some donated wine for a friend's son's elementary school in San Francisco. Hmmm...wine country mixed with city. Then I went to my favorite yarn store's new location and gave them crystals as a welcome present. VERY SONOMA WEST COUNTY. Not sure that could be called either city or country. After that I went shopping for clothes...at Ann Taylor... makes it city. Then to J.Jill for pants. Hm...city, I think. Then I went to Macy's for shoes and some lacy underthings. CITY!!! (but on a new country girl!) After the shopping was over, I went home.
Once home I could see the rats down in the chicken pen. YUK!!!!!!!!! Can't stand the little buggers. I immediately switched into country mode and grabbed the big bag of 10 rat traps I had been hesitating to use and smeared them all with a handy little dish of Niman Ranch bacon fat! Organic! (city!) After having slathered the trap, I set them and carefully carried them out on half sheet pans (city!) I placed the traps carefully around the pen and then stood very still to see if the traps were properly placed.
The sound of the rats rustling in the blackberry underbrush was creepy. It sounded like water running downhill in a gutter filled with dried leaves. It was a very fluid sound with barely discernable little squeaks and chatter. I could see the motion through the wire deer fence and then they entered the pen.
What I anticipated were the rats. What I did NOT expect to see was the sheer number of mice. There were streams of them flowing in, crawling under the fence and THROUGH the fence. So much for chicken wire keeping out mice! Another project: hardware cloth!!! I was so mad!!! Every once in a while, a rat would wander in but only if they could get past the mice!
I left the pen and came into the house to finish cooking dinner. All the while the rat/mice issue was going on, I have also been trying to trap the feral mama cat from the porch group. I am afraid she might be pregnant and really don't want to have another 6 feral cats to feed for 12 years. I already have the six and really don't need any more. I have been trying to catch her for 6 months and actually was able to pick her up the other day, so I was taking my chances AGAIN to catch her.
At the moment I picked up the flashlight to go out to check the rat traps, I heard the trap on the porch spring shut and a bit of a scuffle. I went outside but failed to take the flashlight, and since I didn’t have a flashlight, I couldn't tell who I had caught in the trap. I was really hoping it was Mama Joleen...but would also be happy if it were Tiger, the last kitten to be fixed. I got the flashlight and shined it in the cage and here you can see exactly who/what I caught.
That thing snarled at me, lunged at me, hissed and scared me to pieces. I had to re-group and come in the house! I called my friend that had supplied the trap to ask if it had a secret back door. It did...so I collected my wits, what was left of them, went back outside, and threw a cover over the cage. I carefully lifted it up, turned it towards the stairs and investigated how to get the back door unhitched, all the while with an audience of wild kittens. I am sure they were sitting back to see exactly WHO was in the cage THEY had all been in!!!
Once I got it open I had a chance to snap a picture of the poor critter, now with a slightly bloodied nose. Once the flash went off, it flew out of the cage and you could hear the cats running ahead of it, convinced the raccoon was chasing them!
And what about the rats and mice, you might be asking? Well, I had planned on putting Julian out there to catch the mice...but then Farmer Jeff heard about the rats again and off he went to buy a pellet gun.
See...we really do live in the country!!!