Is it spring yet?

The Big Tease

This is the time of year when the slightest rise in temperature makes my heart go pitter-patter with the thought that spring is near. Inevitably, temperatures plummet and hopes are dashed. A lot of Montanans take off for Arizona or Costa Rica about this time of year, but we can’t do that with Steve’s business. It gets even harder in April, when we can get a genuinely warm day, followed by a blizzard. Mountain life is not for the faint of heart.

My Life May Not Be Trees (This Year)

Since we’ve been cutting up and burning construction scrap wood in our woodstove this winter, we’ve only gone through a cord and a half of the split wood stacked in our woodshed. Usually by this time of the winter, we’re starting on our fourth cord of wood. The good news is that Stevo probably won’t have to do much chainsawing this summer. The bad news is that he’ll have to find something else to do for his summer exercise, like mountain biking! Wait….that’s good news too….

The Slow Life

One thing we decided to do when we moved up here was to slow down. We started to drive slower. What’s the point of rushing when there’s no where you have to be? We’re lucky that our businesses are home-based so we can set our own schedule. I used to spend all day running errands when we lived in the big city. Now I “go to town” once a week for the big shopping. Nowadays I get nervous if I actually have to be somewhere at a particular time. Excitement for us is sitting on the porch with our coffee in the morning watching the deer. It’s all a matter of perspective.

The Mighty Huntress

The other sign that it’s almost spring is that our hunting cat, Little Miss, starts hunting again. She spends the winter yowling for me to feed her but once it starts to thaw outside she’s back at it, keeping the house and barn safe from pesky rodents. Right now she’s on a two-a-day schedule, but during the warm months she’ll be up to four or five a day. We’re thinking of putting her in a program. The other day I saw her sitting on the front porch, I walked in the house, and less than two minutes later (literally) she came in the dog door with a mouse. She must have mouse houses scoped out ahead of time and when she gets hungry she stops by one of them for a snack. She’s kind of scary…


Dooney’s Wild Kingdom

What! I’m just bein’ me!

Something I never experienced until I moved to Montana is having wild animals in my home. Our younger cat, Little Miss, is the one who has made this happen. Little Miss is a voracious hunter, sometimes bring three or four squirrels in the house in one day. (!) The good side to this is that she’s healthy and self-sufficient. The bad side is….she likes to share! Yep, as any owner of a hunting cat will tell you, they love to show you how great a hunter they are.

Little Miss will typically hunt in the wee hours of the morning (5 am), coming back in sometimes only minutes after she’s gone out and yowling loudly to let us know she was successful. Usually at night it’s a mouse. With any luck, it’s dead. Sammy usually runs downstairs to see if he can get her to drop it. Again, I always lay in bed hoping the mouse is already dead. Otherwise, I’m the one who has to hunt it down the next day and rescue it. One early morning she brought it up to our loft bedroom and let it go, so the next morning I woke up with a mouse on top of my feet!

During the day, just about anything goes. Little Miss has brought in birds, squirrels, mice (of course), and on two occasions a ruffled grouse that was bigger than her. Several times I’ve had to catch birds, and once I had to catch a squirrel that she thought would be a nice addition to the upstairs bathroom. In any case, she almost always brings her kill inside to eat it. Steve somehow taught her to take it into the downstairs bath and jump into the big clawfoot tub to eat it. That way, the mess is contained and easy to clean up, and if it’s a live mouse, it can’t get out of the tub and run around the house.

One day, however, I had the tub full of water and she jumped in there with a mouse. I heard a huge splash and she came running out of the bathroom soaking wet and without the mouse. So, I put on my mouse-catcher gloves that day. After that fiasco, Little Miss starting taking her kills into the shower in that bathroom, which works pretty well too. However, when we have guests I always tell them to check the shower before they step in. :-)

I’ve already blogged about the bats in the house, which Boots was kind enough to help me with. Our new roof will take care of the bat intrusions. Luckily, Little Miss seems to be slowing down a bit as she gets older, and this past summer she didn’t bring in nearly the variety of animals she has in the past, and I think all the squirrels in the neighborhood know to stay away from our house!