There was a mouse in my tipi! A cute little sniffing, curious rodent. There had been no sign that we’d acquired a new pet. No chewed edges of corn tortilla wrapper. No mousy droppings on my tub o’ dishes, that stows under the table, with remains of dinner clinging enticingly to the edges of well loved plates.
So the other morning, I was shocked to be face to face with a gray mouse, with beady little black eyes and long whiskers. I had awoken early to beat the masses out of bed, and catch a little one on one with my coffee cup and computer. My body was up before my mind was and so, as I bent over to get the water jug, I nearly jumped out of my skin, when I saw Mr. Mouse.
“Oh! What are you doing here? You can’t live in my house! You need to go back outside.” I said, like I was talking to our Border Collie. Mr. Mouse sniffed and looked at me. He wasn’t even following rodent protocol, by hiding, and not letting the big human know that he existed. This was when I noticed that he was trying to man handle a walnut…with mouse hands. He grabbed at it, unsuccessfully, all the while keeping one wary eye on me. He rolled it cunningly behind the water jug. Oh boy.
I grabbed a wide mouth quart canning jar. I attempted to lean my pregnant self under the camp stove, and over the trash can, to slip the jar on the mouse. It didn’t work. He hid behind the walnut basket, still rolling his prize with his nose, like a circus mouse…if there ever was one.
I couldn’t help but like this new little addition to the tipi. He really hadn’t bothered me. I attempted to catch him, with one more clumsy thrust, but to no avail. He slipped out of sight and I went on about my morning. I thought about mouse traps and cheese. I thought about setting the little metal hook and then hearing the trap snap in the middle of the night. Ugh…mice.
Later that day, I remembered to tell the girls about Mr. Mouse. I described in detail, our interlude, and grinned as they bounced around, imitating my mouse trapping skills, or lack there of. We all decided, right then, that he was our new pet. “Until, he starts breaking into my food stash and pooping on things…then Iwill set a trap,” I reminded them. I am, after all, the one who shops for, prepares, and cleans up the food. They nodded, in agreement.
When my husband got home from work, I told him about the mouse. I expected him to say something along the lines of, “Well, we’d better set some traps. We can’t have a mouse farm.” And he did. Then I told him about how brave and friendly Mr. Mouse had been, and described the walnut rolling maneuvers he had preformed. My daughters reenacted my jar trap dance for Daddy and we all laughed. “Well, I don’t mind having a mouse in the tipi. He sounds like a good mouse.” I smiled. The girls cheered.
Now, I am not an animal rights activist, by any means. Mice aren’t like dogs or anything. They don’t follow you around and wag their tail in greeting. Also, for the record, it creeps me out to see mice, in little cages, as pets. Ew. But, that being said, I don’t like killing things. I believe that, naturally, humans take care of animals. We don’t instinctively jump out, and sink our teeth into little furry beings. And, the older I get, the softer I become.
So, when I saw the mouse a week later, I greeted him like a buddy. “Hey! What are you doing here?” He peeked out from behind the towel basket, beside the bathroom hutch. My husband was making coffee at the time, and looked over curiously, to see who I was talking to. He laughed.
The mouse sniffed and ducked back behind the basket. Then he made a break for the door, but chickened out half way there, and bolted back to his hiding spot. “Watch him and see if he goes out,” I said, as I moved back behind the hutch to rustle the tipi canvas and herd him towards the door. He did.
About that time, the cat ran in. (Wild Kingdom, I know.) She glared at us. We looked away. She settled herself on the rug by the door, and watched the “crack” with determination, twitching her tail.
Now, when we see our black feline flipping mice around the yard, we all tell each other, “I don’t think that was our mouse. His face looked different than that.” Then we say, “Good cat,” because that’s what she’s supposed to do. But, as for me, I’m going to share my walnuts for a little while longer.
Shoshannah Hollon is a 35 year old wife, mother, and tipi dweller from Riggins, Idaho. She married her darling hippie boyfriend that wooed her at the fire lookout when she was 19. She has three beautiful girls and one on the way. Shosh has spent the last three years traveling around the Northwest in a fifth wheel camper, following good paying hubby jobs, and homeschooling the girls. Now, after the recent purchase of five creek side acres, her family has settled down in Salmon River Country, the second deepest canyon in North America. Shoshannah loves to write, draw, sing, hike, sit around campfires, laugh, visit, cook, grow and eat produce, read, study, and spend time with her beautiful family. Her dream is to “grow up” and run a little artsy health food store full of colorful, delicious creations, on the creek. Read more about her tipi living adventures, http://mommysmantras.blogspot.com.