Each Spring I am delighted, giddy in fact, when the ice melts, the grass turns green and the summer-time critters show themselves once again. The peeper frogs begin to peep, the birds flit about building nests, the neighbourhood ducks waddle down to my pond and the tom cats spray the fence posts, repeatedly.
It is only a matter of time before the peaceful interlude ends though, and chaos commences. Small featherless birds tumble from nests, misplaced baby bunnies land at the doorstep, injured fawns stumble into the riding ring (okay just once) and the occasional catfish parachutes into the barnyard. (I’ll save that one for another time.)
I pride myself on being somewhat Snow White – like. I have an affinity with nature, I sing-song my way through the woods while fairy-tale animals present me with daisy chains as I spin about in my long flowing dress. La la la… and end scene. Let’s face it, the similarity ends with liking nature. I sing like a bag pipe and my milky white complexion is littered with age spots and dammit, I really shouldn’t have scratched those chicken poxes. I do however feel the need to protect the animal kingdom, especially those in peril.
Twice now I have attempted and perhaps succeeded (hard to know, they don’t ever write) to rescue muskrats. A few rent space in our pond. They swim about chewing up the shoreline, drilling holes in the lawn and generally wreaking havoc but they are delightful to watch and Captain and Tennille sang a song about them so nothing more needs to be said. Muskrat Susie and Muskrat Sam can stay.
My most memorable rescue was quite action packed and full of risk, for me, not the muskrat. It was a late fall day, in fact, it was snowing for the first time. Darken the skies a titch and add a little wind ~that’s right ~ now you are in the moment. I was in the kitchen, washing dishes or more than likely pouring some wine, when I spotted a critter smack-down occurring in our front riding ring. A small furry brown animal was carrying another small furry brown animal in its jaws while the latter flailed about. I did not have my “Furry Brown Animals of North America” book nearby so I quickly surmised, on my own – I am just that in tune with nature, that the perpetrator was a weasel and the flailing brown thing was a muskrat. Susie or Sam I could not tell but I donned my oven mitts, grabbed a recycling bin, and flew out the door. (after putting my wine down.)
The wind whipped against my face as I stumbled on the uneven ground, nearly falling but righting myself just in time. I’ll concede it could have been the wine, but more than likely it was the sheer speed with which I travelled that caused me to stagger. I flailed my arms about making intimidating large hand gestures and yelled, “be gone weasel,” or something like that – in any event they were powerful words because the weasel looked at me in utter shock and, for a moment considered whether I was just picking up recycling, but he soon dropped his prey and ran forthwith to the protection of the pond. Take that weasel!
The poor roughed up muskrat was stunned and unmoving when I arrived on scene – in his mind I am certain he saw a ray of light as I approached and felt comfort knowing help had arrived. Before carefully manhandling it with my oven-mitted hand to see if it was alive, I checked over my shoulder to ensure the coast was still clear … it wasn’t.
The weasel was careening toward me, prepared for a take down. Never come between a Nazgul and its prey. These wise words from the Lord of The Rings rang through my brain as I braced myself for a potential weasel mauling. I quickly looked around, but imagine it was slow motion, to make sure no one was watching and then hurled … no … I didn’t just hurl, I hurled my recycling bin at the charging mustelid (you might need to look that up) and then, channeling my inner demonic weasel voice, I yelled, “You shall not pass!!” No, that was Gandalf. I didn’t yell that; that line was not mine. I yelled, “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”, which could have been interpreted as I am going to kick your weasel ass or Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I am about to die. Either way the weasel stopped and stood on his little hind legs and just stared at me, agog. I gently punted the unconscious muskrat into the bin and ran for my wine, I mean the house.
I left the bin to the side of my fortress, protected and reasonably safe. I watched the slightly disoriented Sam or Susie leave when the coast was clear. (From the safety of my kitchen, wine glass in hand.)
Makes me wonder if the fox and weasel are in cahoots – collaborating in order to send me to a home for the bewildered. Can’t imagine what will come next… were they the ones behind the flying catfish debacle? Stay tuned my friends. Stay tuned.