Last night, we had not one but TWO rogue bits of wildlife invade our lives and need to be…err…removed.
(**Warning, unfortunate fate of small animal to follow, sensitive readers are advised to sit this one out**)
The first involved me coming downstairs, seeing Winston (the idiot) with a mouth full of something that did not look like a cat toy, and yelling up the stairs "Kevin! Kevin, we have a problem…"
"I’ll be down in a minute…"
"Time is a factor, hon."
He came running, and we corralled the cat, who had caught a deer mouse and was attempting to defend it against two other interested cats, who wanted to know why HE got a toy that ran around and twitched and they didn’t.
Even mortally wounded, a deer mouse is a surprisingly agile creature, so we had to trap him under bowls, slide a cookie sheet under, and take him out front, where Kevin shuffled him off this mortal coil as rapidly as possible, a process that, even with a shovel, never seems to be as quick and painless as all those involved would like it to be.* Still, it beats the hell out of being tortured by cats for an hour. (I have been lucky–the two mouse-catching cats I have known have been executioners rather than playing with their prey. Winston, however, will play with kibble given the option, and the mouse was very exciting for him. We told him he was a mighty hunter. He seemed proud.)
The other wildlife disposal was less sympathetic and more purely awful, as I was undressing for bed and discovered a black spot on the hinge between thigh and groin. I brushed at it, unthinking, assuming it was a bit of lint and it…stayed attached.
Ah. Apparently our spring-like weather has brought out more than the spring peepers.
"Kevin," I said, with hysterical calm, "There is a tick. Near my nether regions. Could you remove it for me?"
He did so, while I stared at the ceiling and tried not to scream or faint or run around the room clucking like a chicken. He was then forced to inspect some fairly intimate bits for tick colonization, which is about as sexy as a root canal, although mercifully much briefer.
"Now what have we learned?" he said, returning from burying the tick at sea.
I stared at him, having thrown my clothing in all directions and begun frantically checking all of my freckles for legs. "What?"
"…actually, I suppose all we’ve learned is that it’s a very early tick season," he allowed.
I love living in the country, but sometimes…
*The exception to this rule was an old acquaintance of mine who was a large animal vet. When her husband, in one of those weird random chains of reflex-over-thought, wound up with an injured gopher pinned under a shovel–I believe he’d escaped from a neighbor’s gopher trap, and was trying to get back underground, and wasn’t doing well at all, and you can’t let them go at that point, they’ll just go die miserably underground–she whipped out her kit, panicked on the dosage, grabbed the Big Syringe, and proceeded to inject the gopher with enough sodium pentobarbital to drop multiple horses. The gopher expired instantly, so it was a success on the humane front, but since that’s a reasonably controlled substance, she had to go back in to her clinic and explain that she had just used approximately a hundred times the necessary dosage on a gopher and needed a refill. There was much amused inquiry as to the SIZE of the late gopher…was it perhaps six or seven hundred pounds? Had it been a dire gopher? Was there firebreathing involved? She was entirely humorless on the subject of gophers for some years after.
Now is probably as good a time as any to talk about the mole and residential pest control. Their holes are kind of unsightly on our lawns and they can do a bit of damage to the root systems of our grass. They will also do harm to the roots of any of our garden plants. So we really need to find a way to get rid of them.