I got derailed yesterday on the way to completing my post (definitely not making it into the Blogger Hall of Fame now), and this is why: I had a home invasion.
Let’s not forget, I am here in the country, so you need to think differently when I say home invasion. And I suppose it was less an invasion than an intrusion, and I gather it’s an intrusion happening all over Gunnison. We had our first appearance of rodentia yesterday. (Yes, I said first. I imagine it won’t be the last.)
According to Kara, Gunnison’s social media has been abuzz with complaints from all over about mice appearing where they have rarely, if ever, been seen before, including in many houses in town. Gilly, whose son Max has just struck out on his own in home repair/construction, said he had been summoned to a house west of town to shore up a foundation or skirting that was allowing ample egress into the house for mice.
We don’t know how, or when, our visitor arrived. All I can tell you is that I got up from working on my blog yesterday to take flower baskets outside, and in the space between the pink petunias and the edge of the basket was a ball of gray fur.
I had about three steps to get everything outside; I got in two of them before the ball of fur bolted — and immediately vanished. I was hopeful, but also doubtful, it had leaped forward and somehow vanished right off the deck. I couldn’t find it behind the open door; it wasn’t near the other plants.
It turns out, it beelined for the safe harbor of the underside of the couch, as I discovered a minute or two later. But this is the part where I wonder about my choice of housemates.
Not Lynn; she was off at work. But as I stood in the kitchen I watched the creature — I thought mouse, but Lynn is opting for vole (which my research this morning tells me is also called a “field mouse” in North America and Australia) — venture out from under the front of the couch to start nibbling at some crumb dropped on the carpet.
But it did so right next to — I mean, right next to — Na Ki’o, who was sitting, apparently completely obliviously, under the coffee table. I told you I don’t think he comes with a lot of cat skills. And his eyesight isn’t very good, but you’d think he might at least notice a strange creature creeping ever closer.
I found a pitcher with an open top and was within half a vole of completing my capture when — let’s just go with Farley — made her escape back under the couch. Where Oz was lying, also completely unconcerned, near the back.
So: one cat stationed in front of the couch; one dog at the back; one vole between them and not a care in the world. Enter, through the open back door (I was still hopeful Farley might see the light of day and make a safe break for it), the great hunter Marrakesh.
Who walked around the end of the couch and between the front and the coffee table without so much as a glance at the underside of anything.
Which is where things seemed destined to remain, until some minutes later when I ran water through my nose. Oz always takes that as a sign that we’re getting close to going, and he scrambled to his feet and rushed over closer to the couch — not after Farley, but on the attack against one of his stuffed toys. Farley didn’t know that, though, and she bolted out from under the couch to under the table.
Which is where Marrakesh finally got sight of her. Instead of pouncing, however, he settled in to watch — and she went back under the couch. That’s how Oz and I left them, Ki’o still nearby, oblivious, and Marrakesh on watchful alert near the end of the couch, Farley still safely tucked underneath.
When we got back from our walk, Marrakesh was nosing into the boxed-in corner of the guest room, so I thought the chase had mobilized, but later events suggested he was just nosing around.
Because when Lynn came home, there was Farley, all alone in a house with two cats (Oz and I were at work), hanging out under a certain blogger’s chair where a sunflower seed (or two, possibly three) may have dropped from breakfast. Lynn grabbed the nearby pitcher that had failed me, calmly scooped Farley up and delivered her to her new home close to the pond.
That left only the mystery: how had Farley gained entrance to the house? Initially I assumed she had hitched a ride in the flower basket I found her in, but as big as she was, and as quickly as I saw her when I got ready to take the basket outside, I don’t think that was the case.
As I’m getting on my useless housemates’ case for their lack of assistance with the Farley Eviction, I think Lynn and I need to confess to a certain amount of obliviousness of our own, in that all-too-clear hindsight.
The day before, we had taken note of Marrakesh, in hunter mode, highly intent on something in a corner of the laundry room. At the time I assumed it was a moth; now I think it was probably Farley. Lynn later saw Marrakesh on the prowl elsewhere in the house, but again didn’t think past the moth level.
I suppose the most likely point of arrival was an open door. There’s an outside chance Marrakesh invited her in and then lost interest, but I’m guessing she found her own way in. After all, Lynn yesterday discovered Chipper making full use of our deck. This chipmunk appears to have moved into his firepit condo, where the water fountain is but a short stroll away (very near the bird feeder with all its seeds, although Lynn also watched him pluck grass, bring it back to the deck, and proceed to eat the grains like an ear of corn).
Given Chipper’s proximity, and Farley’s mysterious breach of the perimeter, coupled with the Facebook dialogue over Invasion of the Rodents (word has it this portends a hard winter), I think this means I need to remain on doorman duty and not offer cats and dog the self-serve option for going in and out.
Because while Farley doesn’t appear to have been too awful a houseguest in her approximately 24-hour stay, and no matter how bad this might sound, her kind really aren’t welcome here.