We are not alone
It has plagued women for years, and it has sent women who never lived on the farm (until they agreed to wear a wedding ring) -up onto chairs and table tops, without even so much as a cat call or a big fat tip.
You don’t have to come from the city in order to need to garner enough guts to live on the farm. After all, it’s a gutsy way of life. But sometimes what requires the guts is that nagging feeling that someone … or something you don’t even know … is co-existing with you.
In these days of technology, (won’t that line be funny 30 or 40 years from now? It might even be funny as soon as next month) there are bazillions of ways we can be watched. But nothing compares to being watched with two little beady eyes.
I’m not talking about the occasional neighbor who happens to slip by just as I’m trying to hoist myself up into our International cabover truck (as you may have read about earlier). Now and then the woman of the house might find herself on the business end of a cleaning rag, broom or vacuum cleaner, and unearths the evidence.
Mouse muffins. Rodent bombs. Vermin raisins … right out in plain sight parallel to the base boards and behind the refrigerator. No matter what you call them, they mean only one thing. She either vacates the premises or creates a stand-off -the likes of which have rarely been seen by the FBI or the ATF.
It’s full-blown hand-to-hand combat … if she has the guts.
Rodents make up one-third of all living mammal species, so of course, with that kind of overcrowding, they will find their way to a farm woman’s doorstep. If only mouse governments would allow mouse parents to only have one offspring.
As rodents are lilted in song and lore, I consider the “Three Blind Mice” story to be truly a mob situation for that poor farmer’s wife. And her only weapon was a carving knife.
And as we are talking about being watched, here’s one for you.
It was a beautiful sunny summer day to lay out in the sun, with the yard work all caught up, no children yet, and a Saturday with nothing on the agenda and nowhere I had to be. I took advantage of a little down time and stretched out in a chaise lounge lawn chair, suntan lotion on and a soda under my chair, and facing into the sun.
During the afternoon I heard traffic on our gravel road drive by slowly, but it didn’t matter-we had neighbors then who always drove slowly.
It was all fun and games until I began to get an eerie feeling-like when your underwear starts creeping up on you in church and you can’t figure out a way to fix it with people standing right behind you. I dismissed it for a short time before I decided to investigate.
I opened my eyes, and there it was a billy goat, standing directly over me, just watching me.
Apparently, either he was downwind or the hog dust had settled into my nose and rendered it inoperable, because unfortunately, I didn’t smell him coming.
He scared the heck out of me and my sudden movement of tearing out of the lawn chair scared the heck out of him. He ran off in a full-blown gallop toward the barn, and I just stood there working to regain my strength and breath.
Then it occurred to me I wonder how many of the people in those slowly-driving vehicles saw what I had going on there that afternoon? Ladies, we may think so, but we are not alone.
And as in all small towns, sometimes our neighbors know it before we do.
Karen Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.karenschwaller.com.
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