Leif’s farm has a severe rodent problem. It’s probably a multiracial problem. We’ve already evicted a weasel, several chipmunks, and some field mice. But what I want to know is which brand of critter was responsible for last night’s escapade.
3:23 am. Vera begins barking. My room is above the kitchen and bathroom, and I can tell the barking is coming from directly below me. It doesn’t stop. I can hear her running about the kitchen, bathroom and dining room. I get up, find my glasses and a flashlight and stumble downstairs to see if Leif is up. Rupert appears, prancing in between my feet and Vera’s. Both dogs are on about something. I head for Leif’s room, he sees the flashlight and calls that he’s getting up to see what’s going on. I head to the kitchen, then I check the bathroom. I check the door to the laundry room. Vera is right along side sniffing the laundry room door intently.
Now, the laundry room also has a back door to the outside, however, this door doesn’t have a latch or a lock at this time. So, as I carefully open the laundry room door I’m watching Vera for signs of aggression or fear. Just intent sniffing. So, I open the door and quick flip on the light, half expecting a panicked raccoon or maybe a porcupine, or heaven forbid a skunk, to scream and head out an open back door with Vera taking off after it howling and snarling the whole way.
However, the back door is open just a smidge. Vera sniffs the door very intently, sniffs around the walls, and then bee-lines back to the door. I close the back door as tightly as possible under the circumstances, and she continues to sniff with great abandon. I wonder if her fascination is due to having heard something trying to get in the house earlier and she can still smell its scent.
Leif appears and takes Vera out for a sweep of the hen house and the outbuildings in case of predators or zombies. I mention Vera’s fascination with the back door as they head out and then I go over to the kitchen sink to get a drink of water. That’s when I notice something else curious.
There, beside the trash bin is the turkey neck and bag of giblets that I threw away that afternoon after putting a turkey in the oven. That was the only thing disturbed from the trash, and at the time I attributed it to Vera, who occasionally is unable to resist the temptation of dumpster diving for late night snacks. But it vaguely seemed curious that the items were pulled from the trash without displacing the can, any of the other contents, nor was there a single chew mark on any of it. I put the parts back in the trash and set the trash in the breezeway between the kitchen door and the front door where Vera won’t be able to get to it again.
I wait for Leif to return to the house with the report.
A few minutes pass, and no suspicious sounds are heard from outside. When Leif and Vera reappear it is with a report that nothing untoward was discovered: all fowl, cats, and dogs are safely accounted for and no vermin or predators, zombie or otherwise, were seen.
I mention the turkey neck and giblets. We’re both tired, though, so we just say goodnight and head off to our rooms. And I fall quickly back to sleep.
But this morning I found some additional evidence that starts me wondering anew.
Back in the laundry room I’m sorting clothes to do a few loads of laundry when I notice a box of Kleenex on the floor. I bend down and pick it up wondering how it got there. Then I go to get some laundry soap. The container is not on the shelf where it’s supposed to be. I stop, and I look again, because sometimes these days I’ve so much on my mind I seriously look right past what’s in front of me.
But, no, it’s really not there. I look around wondering briefly if Leif moved it. Then I see it on the floor, upside down with laundry soap spilled on the floor. And that’s when I wonder if some critter or critters were swarming the laundry room last night. I crane my neck and look along side the washer and the space between the shelf and the wall. There could be rodent poops there. Or it could just be dead bugs. It’s hard to tell in the dim light and at this ridiculous angle. But if it was a rodent (or rodents) the sound of it knocking stuff over could have roused Vera. Mystery possibly solved.
With the laundry underway, I go to the kitchen to make tea and get some breakfast. That’s when I notice mouse poop all over the kitchen counter. And I wonder some more. Did the midnight machinations of mice disturb Vera as she was about to have a late night nosh of turkey neck?
Or do we have the mice from NIMH who were going to liberate our turkey neck and giblets for some furry feast of their own? And Vera noticing the attempted turkey heist scared them off, causing them to drop the vertebral victuals as they fled the scene?
And, are these two scenes related, or separate incidences? Was there some rodent gang war going on last night between the Wicked Weasels of Wash Tub Alley and the Motley Mice of the Upper Cabinet Row?
The gravy thickens.