Cats and Critters

I watched Ginger disappear down the driveway headed for his new life in the Southland, and turned back to my house, now empty. No Husband, no cat, all sons grown and gone. It was strange, not having anything or any one to spar with. How would I adjust? What was next?

There was no time even to ponder such heavy topics. Son No. 3 called. “Have I got an offer for you!” Ever the salesman, he continued, “How would you like to have a new kitten? Our neighbor was neglecting it so we did an intervention, but we really can’t add another pet right now, and please, please, don’t you need a cat? You do need a companion.”  Then he added, “It’s a beautiful Maine Coon cat named Natalie.”  Ah, I thought, a girl cat at last!

Ah, no. It seems that after everyone including the animal was happy with Natalie, the local vet announced (what is this, a family thing?) that it was indeed a boy kitty. Sigh. Yes, I will take Natalie, the boy cat. Isn’t he going to be a bit conflicted? Should I call him Natalie-he?

I soon learned he was a cat with an attitude. A royal attitude.  He would sit in my lap, but on his terms. He wanted his water source to be a slight flow from the faucet, if you don’t mind. When I went away for any length of time he would make his disapproval clear by turning his back on me for half a day, minimum. He had full confidence in and understanding of his identity; I need not have worried about any inner conflict. He was certain he was descended from the King of the Jungle.

Life took on a new rhythm as we both, Natalie and I, settled into our changed status.

Church had finished, and with gray skies gloomy above me, I looked forward to a quiet time at home catching up on my reading. The living room of our two story colonial had recently been redone.  Fitted with new paper on the walls, carpet on the floor, reupholstered chairs and especially fine sheers at the windows, it was warm and welcoming even on the grayest of days. As I settled to read, Natalie hung around close by; he was too royal a cat to jump in your lap at first.  He had to prove that he didn’t really need my lap and attention.

Quiet prevailed, disturbed only by his soft purring. Suddenly a thumpety bump followed by a crashing sound and screech brought us with a start to our feet.  In the fireplace behind the screen, a thoroughly dazed squirrel cowered, gathering his wits after falling down the chimney past the baffle plate. Instantly Natalie was on duty, nose to screen, tail switching madly.  He was on point like the best of our hunting dogs, fully focused on this interloper who responded by freezing his position.  We were at a stand off.

The question now was, what to do next? It would be impossible for him to get back up the chimney. If I moved the screen, the squirrel would be out of there like a shot and the last thing I wanted was wild life ricocheting around my lovely living room – or the rest of the house, for that matter. Clearly, we had a problem.

I called my neighbor for suggestions – no answer. I called the mayor down the street – no answer. Finally I called the fire department, explaining the situation in detail.  “I don’t need sirens and big trucks. Just please send a man who can catch a squirrel in the house.”

In short order a large fire truck with lights flashing pulled up in front of the house. Two young fire fighters, dressed in full regalia and large rubber boots came up the walk, empty handed.  “Where is your net? Won’t you be needing a net to catch him?”  My voice was getting a bit tight.  “Oh no, Ma’am, we’ll be able to get him all right. Don’t you worry.”  I was not comforted.

With cocky boldness the first man went up to the screen where Natalie was still on duty. “Surely you don’t want to move the screen,” I said, “because he will get loose, and then what?”  “I’ll just get him with my bare hands,” he replied. “Don’t you worry.”

He moved the screen. The next few moments were a blur of activity.  The fireman made a lunge for the squirrel, missing him completely. Immediately freed from his prison, the squirrel zipped to his freedom with Natalie right behind him, the two men behind the cat and me wringing my hands, worrying. Seeing daylight behind the sheer curtains, our home invader made a dash for the window. Cat made a dash too, climbing the sheers with his sharp claws.  “Do something!” I yelled. I could envision the curtains being torn to shreds. One of the men grasped awkwardly at the squirrel behind the curtain, hoping to capture him in the cloth.  “That’s the very thing I was afraid of,” I groused in exasperation.

Suddenly the squirrel managed to maneuver past lunging hands and guarding cat, streaking out of the living room, into the front hall and up the stairs. The chase was on. Natalie moved faster than I had ever known him to do, definitely faster than the two boot-laden firemen.  I stood there listening to the thump and thunder of feet going through the upstairs hall.  Our home had a back staircase as well as the formal stairs in the front; it led down to the kitchen which was at the back of the house. From there you could take a lower hall past the little office/den back to the living room.

The commotion continued.  I stood at the foot of the stairs and then looked into the living room noticing the door to the side porch just to the left of the fireplace.  Aha! If we could just get him to see real daylight…  Opening the porch door, I put the slider in place to keep it open and returned to the hall.  A grey streak zoomed toward me from the kitchen, paused a split second, saw the open door and was gone.  Natalie was next, tearing around the corner.  When he saw the squirrel was gone, he sat down as if nothing at all had just happened.  Making their appearance last, here came the two men down the back stairs working their way to the front.

“He’s gone!”  I walked over to shut the porch door, thinking to myself, no thanks to you.

“Yes, Ma’am, that’s good,” the first man said as they headed to the front door.  “If you ever need our help again, just give us a call!”

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Wits and Nitwits

Occasionally while on a website I read the comments posted in reply to a presentation on that site. And I am appalled. It matters not whether it is a YouTube video, news item, article on either side of the political divide, or heaven forbid, religion. The language – vocabulary, grammar, spelling and punctuation – is atrocious. Manners have taken a hike. Courtesy, gone. Civilized thoughtful discourse almost extinct.

The most common thought held by the faceless public seems to be to attack everyone, including their heritage, parentage and their character using every kind of vulgarity in the process. Many equate vulgarity with wit when it is the antithesis of it. I suspect they would not even understand that last sentence.

Now, to interrupt myself, I have read some discussion threads that amazed me because of the broad or detailed knowledge of not-so-recent current events being shared. In some cases I learned things done in different administrations which I had been too distracted at the time to become informed about. This is good; this is the Net at its finest. It is also not common.

The gift of wit includes the ability to see things from differing perspectives, to spin them as it were, and play with the presented ideas to the amusement of all. It requires a quickness of mind, without malice or meanness, yet meanness is what I see and hear in many of the exchanges on line.

H.L. Mencken is highly regarded as a man of wit. His quotes can be found and enjoyed on Brainy Quotes. Here is one example: “If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.” This has enough truth, with enough exaggeration and twist to bring a smile to the reader. It is witty. There is no coarseness needed to reveal the author as a person of power. His mind, and the words he chooses reveal that.

A gift similar to wit, but different from it, is a sense of humor. With common sense and a sense of humor a person will have all he needs to make his way in life. The ability to see something amusing at even the most troubling times has carried many people through. To be able to see the ridiculous, the absurd, the pomposities of the self-important is a gift to be treasured. Many of the best comedians are those who see with clear eyes and then tell the public the truth. They are the secular prophets of the day. Humor is a great defense against tyranny. When jokes start coming about something or someone previously held in high regard you can know a change is coming.

Those with no sense of humor, I posit, are easy to deceive. Without the ability to see the twists, the absurd, the funny, they will in their seriousness believe whatever is presented to them as factual. Satire will be received as truth. A play on word or idea is lost to them.
Yet playing with words and ideas is grist for the mill of the humorist, satirist or punster to the delight of the rest of us.

It is fully possible to be witty without four letter words and defamation of character. I submit Will Rogers as another example. “Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.” This will bring a wry smile to most people, with possible exception of the politicians.

Our words have power, more than generally realized. They reflect our personhood. Therefore, I suspect that the way to improve the public dialog is to begin within, to clean up the dark corners of hatred, insecurity, inadequacy and any other character issues which defile. The educated person who is secure in his own identity does not need to use his assault weaponry of foul, small-minded words. He can, instead, begin to work on his wit.

The Restoring Gift

While I have been watching the rapid decline and fall of much that I hold dear, it has been difficult to stay focused on the things which truly matter. I was one of the millions of Americans who poured out of their homes into the streets on V-J Day – a day of wild joy and abandon. Horns honking, people weeping with relief, hugging and kissing, yes of strangers even. We were overcome by unrestrained emotion. Pent up tension erupted all over the country as if a compressed spring had just been let loose somewhere. We had no place to go, but we had to go somewhere just to let the emotions of happiness and worry flow out. It was over, and we were safe. There had been a challenge, a huge one, and America had risen to meet it. We had made it through. Part of the emotional release rose from the very real uncertainly of victory. There had been some dark, scary times which we as a nation absorbed without wanting to acknowledge. But now we were safe.

Fast forward to today – and indeed it has been fast, trust me – and the nation that was celebrating then is not recognizable. The state of our country is in such disarray that if some Rip Van Winkle from that day came back he would think he had gone mad. Today I read that a school in Ohio had to take down a picture of Jesus because “it could cause someone irreparable harm.” On top of that they were assessed a fine around $90,000. Then I read of a busload of tourists, both American seniors and foreign travelers were turned out of a hotel in Yellowstone at gunpoint! I could go on and on, but the point is, we as a nation have gone mad. The division, rancor and restiveness increases daily. The war has been declared and many of us are just now realizing it.The question is, is it too late to muster the troops necessary to turn it around, to reclaim that which has been lost? Do we have the resolve and character to do it? The uproar over shutting the World War II vets out of their memorial says that at least there are some who honor who they were, and are, and what they represent in our history.

So as I watched, and grieved tonight, I started playing some of my music. Bach’s Passacaglia in C Minor filled the room and suddenly my spirit soared, lifted on the wings of sound, the work of a creative genius. Surrounded by weavings of chords, heavenly sounds indeed, restoration came to my troubled heart, reminding me there is a higher reality, an unchanging truth. There is where I need to keep my mind and heart. All else is chaos.

Cats

Cats

 

I’ve always wanted a kitty.  A nice kitty, a purring machine to nuzzle under my hand and snuggle in my lap.

But, no, there will be no cat in this house, declared my husband with his authoritative voice.  The only pet around here will be, and is, my hunting dog. Cats are extraneous, useless.  I mean, you can’t train them to point out in the field, or retrieve, either. Nope, I’m not having a cat. Period.

We did have one once over thirty years earlier.  He adopted us the way cats do, hanging around for days looking woebegone until someone in the house softens and puts out a dish of milk.  Then he was ours.  I started putting a few cat things in with the groceries as I shopped, feeling guilty at spending money, in short supply with the demands of our young and growing family.  “But you can’t just let him starve!” I argued.  He had obviously been well cared for before choosing us and did not appear to be scruffy or flea ridden. He quickly adapted to life in our household, soon learning it was safer to hide during the hours our three year old was awake, and come out to be that purring machine in the evening. One day I had looked out the window to see Mark, the 3 year old, holding  a wet, soggy, cindery cat by the neck, dousing him in the gutter after a rainstorm.  Another time  he baptized him in the bathroom sink. This perhaps explains why kitty was never to be found during the day.

Naturally, we had to name him. His black and white markings did it for us: Boots.  It wasn’t long before a few cat toys made their appearance in the grocery cart.  He was fully ours. Except, now and again he would disappear for several days.  Calling him, searching the neighborhood, was futile. He just vanished, leaving a hole in our daily routine. After awhile I would sadly put away the cat food dish thinking he had been killed, and just about then he would show up as if he had never been away, looking for his usual handout.

Has scolding an errant cat ever done any good? Do they ever explain their whereabouts? He had the insouciance of a man about town that said in cat speak “None of your business!”

Eventually I noticed he seemed to have another problem – something was the matter with his plumbing because he was always needing to go out.  (Buying and maintaining a litter box was not in our budget so the whole yard served as his “facility.”) Knowing little about kitty care, I assumed he had diarrhea.  Ah hah! We had just the answer to that problem: Pepto Bismol, our tried and true family remedy for such ills. I got the bottle, a spoon, and held the cat in my arms.

Have you ever tried to get Pepto Bismol into a cat? Have you ever tried to get anything into a cat forcibly? Pushing a peanut across the street with my nose would be easier.

The next few seconds – I wish I could freeze-frame this – was a whirr of spoon, pink stuff, yowling, pink stuff flying, angry cat escaping, spoon flying, me dabbing at blood seeping from cat scratches.

I guessed that was not a good idea.568679_36977298

His problem continued and seemed to worsen. Eventually I prevailed upon my husband that something had to be done; we could not just let him suffer. So with a fair bit of muttering about the expense, he drove the cat to the vets.  There it was learned that our wandering Lothario had a serious urinary problem, peculiar to cats, and he would not survive. It was not long before he was gone, out of our lives for good.

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Now, moving forward a number of years, I wanted a kitty. A purring machine to sit on my lap. We had had several hunting dogs in the intervening years, dogs that chewed on my chair rungs, or would escape the garage to rifle the neighbor’s garbage. Rusty, Rimbo, Luke… nice dogs, and good hunters, but not a pet that would sit adoringly at your feet, let alone warm your lap.

It happened again.

A scruffy, scrawny, back alley tomcat showed up at the door.  “Don’t feed him!” my husband warned.  “He will never go away.”  The thing is, he didn’t go away anyhow.  Day after day he sat outside the door looking pitiful, mewing and gazing up at each of us as we came and went.  By now our family had grown from two sons to five, and we had moved to another state. Life was full, busy. The current hunting dog was in a run outside our new home.  My husband was deeply engrossed, developing his new job. Did anyone have time for a cat?

Finally someone weakened, melting under the continual pitiful cries.  A dish was put out with a little milk.  And he was ours.

This sad excuse for a cat was obviously not from a good home, but had been a survivor on the streets of our town.  He was worm and flea ridden, with a bad case of gingivitis as well.  If he were to continue with us something had to be done.  Better able now to afford a vet bill, we took him to see what should be done.  Or rather, what had to be done to make him socially acceptable.  It was a lot.  Our “free” kitty ended up being quite an investment.

But there was something about him, some character trait developed by being a fighter and over-comer, which endeared him to us from the start. For reasons beyond understanding we named him Christopher.

Christopher always spent the nights out somewhere.  Sometimes on his return we would notice wounds from cat fights. Sometimes he would simply curl up on his bed to lie very still, and we would know he was in recovery.  He was a feisty old thing; once after another night out, we felt something in the fur under his chin. It was the tooth of another cat, apparently dislodged in the fracas. Another time, he did not come home for three days and nights. This was a cause of alarm to the house. Calling his name morning and evening was fruitless.  When he suddenly showed up at the door, it was with a serious limp. He dragged himself to his bed and stayed there for days, only leaving – with help – when he had to go outside.  It was obvious he was in great pain caused by an accident. I feared he had been hit by a car.

Time passed; he improved and got back to his normal self.  He did such a thorough job of endearing himself to us that even Husband would sit holding him in his lap, stroking his head. I had the purring machine I had always wanted.

 

It is remarkable how a cat can communicate without speaking the language.  After one of his fights he had to have another trip to the vet for repair.  A collar was placed to keep him from tearing into the repair while it was healing, and we were sent home with the admonition to keep him indoors for several days.  Right. Try telling him that. He sat like a stone statue with his back to us, staring at the door by the hour.  He was not to be placated.  For some reason that immoveable stance was more impressive, more annoying than if he had yowled and howled.

One day something happened to him as he jumped down from my lap, putting him in great pain, hardly able to move. Even with help he could not get to the food dish or outdoors. His old injury had caught up with him – his pelvis fractured.  We made yet another trip to the vet, cradling him gently.  “Please, sir, if you can do anything for him, let me know.”  Walking to the car, I burst into tears. Sadly, I knew the call would never come. That old scruffy back alley tomcat had worked his way deeply into my heart.

 

œœ        1262699_76533583    œœ            œœ            œœ            œœ            œœ

When a pet is gone, you have to deal with their “things,” the reminders of a life now past.  Bowls, collar, special food, toys, favorite cushion – all have to be put away, given away. It is a part of saying good bye, a closure if you will.  It is a necessary step in the grieving process.  Once we were connected to another life; now that connection is broken and we are aware of the loss at a deep level. It is one of life’s mysteries, seldom recognized, that we are spiritual beings and as such can experience  a connection with another life that goes far deeper than a casual knowing. This may explain the elaborate graves some people have for their pets. There was once a life, of whatever type, a life with which one had a relationship, and the broken cord has left them dangling. It is as if the break, without being sealed, continues to leak one’s very life away.

We do connect; it is written into our very structure, part of the original design. Moving into healing following a break in a relationship can be a long, slow process. We begin, by closure.          œœ            œœ            œœ            œœ            œœ

Time passed. The boys were all grown and gone. We had geese in the freezer and a dog in the yard, but no kitty for my lap.

One day I came into the kitchen and found proud Husband standing by a laundry basket with two kittens mewing and crawling over each other.  “What’s this?” A natural response, given his years of professed cat disdain.  “Well,” he replied rather sheepishly, “my hunting friend, Doc, has more than they can handle on the farm and asked if we would like one.”  Ah so, in the interest of maintaining their relationship, he volunteered to let me have my choice of the litter.  “One is a female. I thought you would like to have another girl in the house. If you pick the boy, Doc can neuter him at 6 months, but the girl would have to be done at the vet.” Since Doc was a urologist, neutering the boys was all in a day’s work.

Nothing is quite as endearing as a kitten, unless it’s two of them.  It was a hard choice. Orange as a sunset, they scrambled around on the kitchen floor.  The boy kitty seemed to be the sweetest, and would cost less, but yes, it would be nice to have another female around here.

Decision was made.  Girl kitty was mine. Since she did seem quite frisky, we named her Ginger.

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It soon became apparent the name should have been Fireworks; biting and clawing were her favorite activities. I was constantly under attack.  She would sneak out from under a chair when I was tying my shoes and bite me. Any time I went down stairs, holding the hand rail for support, she would jump up to bite my hand.  If I tried to take a swat at her to let her know what I thought about that, her eyes would get round, ears lie flat and the demon within would glare out at me.  War was constant. My dream of having a lap-sitting, purring machine was growing dimmer by the day.

The time came for a routine trip to the vet. I managed to get that little fireball in the carrier, with only minor wounds. Vet looked her over and raised his head. “Nice little boy kitty you have here.”

“What?! We were told it was a girl!”

“Sorry, Ma’am.  But sometimes it’s hard to tell, you know.”

Well, that explains a lot.  At least it won’t cost anything to neuter ‘him’ because Doc had volunteered to do it.  But we have to wait until he was 6 months old first.  I didn’t know if I could last that long.  Instead of a nice little girl kitty, Ginger, I had the “Cat from Hell.”

Warfare continued. Neither the cat nor I liked each other very much by now.  I kept my eye on the calendar waiting for “The Day” when Doc would come and hopefully readjust the cat’s attitude somewhat. At long last…

The kitchen island was deemed a suitable operating table.  Doc opened his kit bag.  Husband stood at the ready to help. Ginger immediately “smelled a rat” and took off for far parts of the house.  I finally corralled him, turned him over to the men and left the room to wring my hands.  Doc pulled out a big syringe, and pulled up the neck fur to sedate the very suspicious animal being held in a firm grip by Husband.  Suddenly there was a yowl, a curse, a clatter as enraged cat bit Husband’s thumb, jumped down with syringe still stuck in the fur and exploded out of the kitchen for points unknown.

 

I found him clinging to the back side of a sofa in the farthest room upstairs. As I reached over and grabbed him to pull him up, he actually elongated like a rubber band to twice his length, all the while still clinging to the sofa with a Herculean strength.  Desperation in his eyes, it seemed he was saying “You are going to do what? To me? No way, Jose.”  I overcame him by brute force, wrapping him tightly in a drop cloth from our current remodeling project.  Back down stairs we went, with his eyes wide, ears laid back, terror in the tension of his body. Swaddled as he was, he could not fight the syringe, the drug which was sure to put him to sleep.

Only, it didn’t work.  His eyes still darted and glared; his body was still a coiled spring in my arms.  Doc gave him another dose. He glared. We waited.  And waited. He never did close his eyes.  There was enough adrenalin in him to overcome any drug in Doc’s kit bag. At last, I felt the tension ease just a bit. Doc said, “he’s ready.”

The deed was soon done.  He was placed in the dog carrier to recover.

Three hours later we opened the carrier door to our “adjusted” cat.  He came swaying out, with the ease of a sailor on leave, or the town drunk trying to find his way home. Our beast of terror was now hopefully a transformed tiger, a mellow pussycat indeed.

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Altered he may have been; mellow he was not.  We continued in a Mexican stand-off relationship, he apparently having a good memory of the indignity forced upon him. No comforter, his sneak attacks continued.

Comfort would have been appreciated, as just a few months later I was suddenly widowed. Sons arrived, flowers arrived. The head-spinning, stress-causing requirements of a family loss kept me occupied and less focused on Ginger, the Attila cat. Then I noticed that when our youngest son roughhoused with him, he was a delight! No more unexpected attacks. What?

I had been missing it all along. This boy cat, with or without his identifying equipment, wanted a rough and tumble, playful relationship. None of the sissy sit-and-purr-on-the-lap nonsense for him. Since roughhousing was not my style, we were a mismatched couple all along. So when youngest son returned to his school there was a large dog crate in the back of his truck, with all the accoutrements a cat could want fitted inside. Ginger happily sat on the cushion inside as the truck pulled away down the driveway out of sight. You know, there are some relationships that were just never meant to be.

 

 

 

Better To Be

Truth spoken in a few well-chosen words. Love this.

Reowr

Don’t wish that you were just like me
Because you know it’s true:
You’ll never be a better me
Nor I a better you.

Though you can try your very best,
You’ll lose yourself this way,
So look inside instead of out
And find the words to say,

I can always be a better me
And you a better you,
And that’s the way it’s meant to be –
Ourselves we grow into.  Copyright 2013 © Sonya Annita Song

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Wild Life 3

New Hampshire Cabin 1971

Wild Life Part 3

If an archaeologist ever digs along the bank of the Ossipee River he may find a puzzling artifact.  Let me explain.
The A-Frame cabin backed by woods sits just above and facing the Ossipee. From the deck no other cabins are in view, just woods and barely moving river and the glorious deep blue of New Hampshire sky. Our personal retreat center. A get-away haven. Only problem, it was a 600-miles-away haven, just too far for frequent use.

My husband dispatched me to make the trek northward ahead of his vacation schedule in order to open it up for the season. Translation: clean everything, fill the fridge and get the beds made before the real vacation starts. Only two of our five boys were free to go with me at the time – camp and summer jobs kept the others from coming along.Spring Cleaning

Fifteen year old Kevin stepped into his role as “man of the house” in his father’s absence. Seriously responsible, he helped look after his little brother, then eight, who looked forward eagerly to delights of wood and water.

Low hanging branches brushed against the car as I drove up the curved lane. Pine needles covered the cabin roof and the driveway which was littered with a winter’s forest dropping as well. The boys bounded out of the car, running in all directions at once to work off miles and miles of stored energy while I climbed the steps to unlock the door.

Snapping on the light I surveyed the place. Yep, everything is just as we left it. Of course there was the stale air, the dust and a scattering of cob webs, but it wouldn’t take long to deal with that. I slid open the door overlooking the river and moved my favorite chair to the deck. Ah, the air up here is so restorative… but there is no time to linger on the deck.  I corralled the troops to help unload the car.

It was then I saw the hole in the couch cushion.  What?  Who did that? What happened here? Oh no! Mice had gotten into the cabin and set up housekeeping in that safe, protected environment.  There was no other sign of them, just a hole with stuffing removed. I concluded that they had just enjoyed winter within and now were long gone. The cushion was seriously ruined however; I would have to figure a way to restore the couch somehow.

While putting things in the cupboards I found a mousetrap!  Maybe it would be a good idea to set it just in case the creature was still around. With no experience and with trembling fingers I loaded the trap with a choice piece of salami and set it on the kitchen floor.

We settled in with the boys in the bunk room upstairs and my bed made in the small room next to the kitchen down. It had been a long trip. I sank into bed with a happy sigh of contentment. Good day, job well done. I would be asleep in short order.

SNAP!! Oh heavens, oh dear. Kevin! Come here! I flipped the light switch and there was   our mouse, in the trap, fully alive with just his hind quarters caught by the trap. He scrambled, or tried to, pulling the trap behind him like a draft horse working a farm field. Oh, Lord! Kevin had thundered down the stairs and joined me now watching this poor creature struggling across the kitchen floor.

Any normal family would have said, so what’s the problem. Step on it to kill it and end its misery. But there stood one very squeamish female and one kind-hearted boy  with a heart of mercy. Neither of us could bear the thought of squashing this fellow who was working so hard to get free.

We have to DO something! This can’t go on. Oh, Lord. Squishing was rejected as an option. Gore on the floor? AAcck. At last the bright idea came. I swept the mouse, trap and all, into a dust pan to carry it out doors. We headed outside where the porch light shed its feeble light into the darkness. The soil in the Granite State is sand, easy to dig sand. Kevin dug a hole down through the needles into the earth below that was just big enough for our project. In went the trap still gripping a very alive mouse. Hurriedly we covered it over, tapping the covering dirt in place.

The dastardly deed was done. The philosophical ramifications of this solution to a problem can be discussed at your leisure. Really tired by now, we turned off the lights and went to bed.