Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The stand off.

(note: I thought I shot these photos in large format. I was wrong. With a hand held camera at the longest telephoto setting, the quality is marginal. I apologize. I was in a hurry!)

Beginning in the afternoon and continuing into the evening, a six inch snowfall covers already deep snow. I walk upstairs to fetch a book to read during breakfast and notice the Pooch under the bird feeder. His activities are limited to walking in shoveled areas and to waiting under the bird feeder for some hapless bird not paying attention to its surroundings. Like Dawn who drives into the garage and runs over the broom I'd propped against the garage door as a reminder to brush off her car before driving into my heated garage.

As an aside, I'm three days into reworking an old church pew into a bench for the back hall. The time it takes to heat the garage via natural convection from the wood furnace in the basement through the breezeway and finally into the garage, slows the process. A water sopped floor doesn't help. On Sunday I remove one end of the pew, saw off the extra length and remove the nails used to secure the side to the seat.


The nails are machine made square nails which I research on the internet. Before the advent of wire nails in 1900 and after handmade square nails in the 1850's, a process is invented to feed steel sheets into a press. The triangular nail form is cut from the mild steel and in a second step, the head is formed. That makes the bench somewhere in the area of 110-150 years old. It's consistent with the age of the closest white clapboard frame church a few miles from Kickapoo Center which proudly announces it's founding on a nameplate above the door-1848. I shrug off the fact that I'd just ruined an antique by cutting it in half, noting that storage alone is difficult for a ten foot long bench.

From the second floor window I see the cat crunched up in a ball ready to pounce. When he pounces, he flings a brown fuzzy thing up from under the snow. The crafty little buggers are munching on seed cast off from the feeder above, under a heavy cover of snow. I chuckle when I see the field mouse or shrew sail across the tops of the snow, approximately two yards. The cat hadn't touched him. Fear of feline gives the mouse supernatural powers to dash across snow. In all the cartoons I watched as a kid, I scoffed at the antics by mice, ducks, dogs, rabbits, coyotes and road runners. I tried to emulate the Saturday cartoons by jumping off the garage roof in my superman cape. Besides my pride, I hurt my knees.

No fear. The mouse stands off the cat. Like Daffy Duck, it challenges, " Come on. Put up yer dukes. You miserable mangy fur ball." Or is it Sylvester the cat with a the slurred S's and spewing spit? The staring game continues past the time I'd finished my breakfast. Only an occasional chickadee landing in the feeder, diverts the Pooch's attention. The deep snow acts as a foil and safe haven for the mouse. The cat backs off for a moment and shakes the snow off of a hind leg. He's not too keen on wading through cold wet snow up to his ears. Imagine yourself, for a second, crawling on all fours in a snow banks. No thanks.

Mandy gives me "the stare" wanting to go out. She doesn't notice the mouse in the shoveled lane to the feeder. Instead she stands on the road gawking at cars inching down the highway. The cat gave up on the mouse and leaves the area to find a way to the wood shed without deep snow. Good luck. When I last checked, he was under the feeder. A picky eater, he chooses poultry over mouse steaks.

Call the county. Send out the ambulance and the men in the white coats. Can it be the end? Have I lost it? Is it that boring out here in the sticks? At least I haven't turned to drink like some of the locals.

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