Monday, January 28, 2013

The Tiniest Horrors

Sometimes it's the tiny things in life that are our biggest nightmares. Things that make grown men turn as white as the snow covered prairies in the dead of winter and ladies full of maturity shriek like a two year old. Kids growing up amidst the wheat fields in cheerful, tidy old houses and worn trailers know of these nightmares and know how to watch for the signs of them. 

At a young age, I remember opening the drawer in my Auntie's beautiful old farmhouse to my delight to see a plastic mouse - some great thing I thought that she kept toys in her kitchen. My Auntie was working hard to overcome her fear of mice and thought that by becoming so used to seeing this dreaded creature in her cutlery drawer, it might fill her with the strength to stay on the home place when, yes folks, a mouse was found in the house. 

I suppose my Aunts' came by their fear of mice honestly. Engraved in my mind is my red headed Irish Grandma going after a tiny grey creature, with the strength of ten men, in the aged farmhouse with a straw broom in hand. Our Grandpa, a hulk of a man and hero in our eyes, perched atop his chair, face bleached white too full of fear to holler. Luckily in our house, our Dad took care of these lil' "problems" and when I heard a rustling in my closet one night, and came out to let my folks know, Dad emerged from the bedroom in a short time, after some thumping abounded, and let me know it was fine to go back to bed, it was only a "big moth."

We were carefully trained as children to take a peek in our boots before we'd pull them on to head outside, so strong are the memories of my mom's of pulling on her chore boots only for her foot to meet a wriggling mouse. I am not sure what it is that makes us shriek, holler, and claim them as some of the nastiest creatures to endure out here in the wild west. Those little field mice, out there destroying crops, carrying disease and seeming to pop out of nowhere like some sort of terrible Halloween prank make so many plumb near lose their minds. 

So many of these stringy tailed creatures meet their fate nowadays in a bale buster, but in days gone by when  everyone set out bedding with small square bales, a much more fearsome blow was found - not so much for the mouse, but for the one who came across them. Family members love to tell the stories on my dad while bedding the cattle, when all of a sudden the giant man was doing the hippy hippy shake, ripping clothes off, as a mouse ran up his leg - the memory of it scurrying around his skin making him shudder now. Similar things happened to others, like my Uncle, but both men are quick to mention the neighbor lady who had a similar experience putting her hand in her pocket and screeching like a banshee. As she hopped around hollering, ripping at her coat, she somehow lodged that balled up wad of Kleenex in her pocket to realize that the "mouse" was just remnants of a cold.

Now, I know all those outside of the Alberta border, who don't know about the Alberta rat patrol, are probably scoffing at our arch nemesis and you'd like to tell your rat stories, but for now let me revel in my mice stories. Come Fall, when we are all crying and fighting the battle with any of these dreaded creatures, we'll commiserate, laugh, and curse the dickens out of them. We'll also know in our heart of hearts that along with the Red Tailed Hawk, the swift Pronghorns, and the old mother Badger, that the bitsy Deer Mice are more a part of these prairies than us grizzled old folks who have taken up residence here. It still doesn't mean we have to like them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Miscellany Blah Blah

1.First things first, thank you to the few of you who have sent e-mails and left comments checking in on us. We are well and semi- sound of mind, nothing out of the usual really. It was nice to take a break from the blog world for the Christmas season, it just seems I took a bit more of a holiday than expected. This left more time for me to take leisurely bubble baths and eat bon bons like all mothers of young children do -  all. day. long. Isn't this how you fill your days?

2.As much as wintertime is part of what we are made of around here, I can't wait for the soil to start to thaw and when that smell of black earth comes alive in my nose. While I don't wish the Now away, the hope of the arrival of calves in a few short months, days filled with more sunshine and the chance to haul children outside without fifteen layers of clothes is a sweet, sweet thought. I may have already bought slush pants for the girls even though we have months of snow left. 

Iced up windows-ain't she warm and cozy in here girls?

3.Christmas was a great success as it is bound to be with a three year old and one year old. The girls sat a local Christmas concert in the lil' hamlet down the road. A small handful of families gather and any child who wants to get up, in their Christmas finest, and sing their own rendition of Jingle Bells or Rudolph can go ahead and haul up and belt 'er out. Taylin & Myla perched on chairs beside their cousin and we realized that these kids were the fourth, possibly fifth generation, to get up there and sing loudly in front of the wee crowd. History in the making, folks. 

4.It has been routine around here, with a few specialty days marked with the flu bug as all families seem to monkey with at this time of the year. There have been a few days following that flu where the eldest child has crawled out of bed in the morning and wondered if she might be a "little bit sick," only because in her mind, a  cartoon on youtube equates with those blasted sick days. For the love of Pete, for a kid with no TV, she is some kind of TV hound and certainly gawks when we are in Costco and go down an aisle where there is a TV in sight.

5.Our days are white, white - grey, and more white. My eyes hurt because of the glare of it all and I'm ever grateful for the rising of the sun, and the time of day when it falls to sleep - the colors that reflect on the snow are startling and beautiful. Despite the cold, I'm thankful for this old land. 

Hooray for colors, mountains in the distance, and that sense of  "home is best" as one particular three year old would put it. 

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