Hey, fellow children of the 70's - Remember 1976? Gerald Ford was in the White House. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cowboys in the Super Bowl. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak formed Apple. The Blues Brothers made their debut on Saturday Night Live. Charlie's Angels were on your TV and on every teen-aged boy's bedroom wall. Every girl wanted a Farrah Fawcett hairdo, and this little ditty was on the radio:
Adorable little cuties, Muskrat Susie and Muskrat Sam, jitterbugging, nibbling on bacon, chewing on cheese, rubbin' her toes, giggling and floatin' like the heaven's above . . . Awwww - so cute.
Wrong! What were these people thinking? Muskrats are not cute, nor adorable, nor do they giggle. They are mangy, ugly things that show up in the shelter-belt next to our house. According to the encyclopedia, they live near rivers and ponds. Well, I know at least one muskrat who didn't read his Funk & Wagnalls. He's dead now. Killed by ignorance. Well, actually killed by our dogs, but only because it didn't do it's homework and didn't know that our trees are not it's natural habitat. There is a pond about 250' from the house, but this is one muskrat who seriously needed a Tom-Tom, because that's a fair distance to be off and that last wrong turn cost it dearly.
That was Monday. Dave cleared the remains from the yard, the buzzards are full, and it's safe to go back in the yard - or so I thought. Today, I was sitting in a lawn chair on the driveway, feet propped on the fire pit, talking to Amanda on the phone, enjoying the cool breeze, dog's playing nearby. Sounds idyllic, right? Wrong again! Well, actually it was - right up until the moment that I saw Gabby snatch up a pile of fall leaves and trot towards me. Being a total idiot, I said "Gab, whatcha got in your mouth?" So she dropped it. It scurried, and so did I! I scurried my butt all the way into the house and then cheered from the door, "Kill it, Gabby, kill it." Oh, if only I had pom-poms, it would have been so much more effective.
I watched the scuffle for a little bit, but I don't know for sure how it ended. Either there is once again a dead, disgusting thing in my yard (large mouse? small rat? mole?) or it got away and there is a LIVE disgusting thing in my yard. Whichever way, my shiny vision of Green Acres is beginning to tarnish. Enough with the ugly, creepy wildlife already! Where are the cheerful cardinals, the dainty hummingbirds, the elegant deer, even a furry bunny (although they should stay out of the garden)? So, I looked up the muskrat's natural predators and found that they are hunted by the Red Fox (those are pretty, but probably wouldn't get along with the dogs), racoons (got lots of those around, but they're also ugly), snakes (hell, no!), owls, hawks and American Bald Eagles. Now we're talking! A pet eagle - beautiful, majestic, killer of vermin. Yes! There's the issue of the Bald Eagle Protection Act which prohibits the "possession" of a Bald Eagle, but who can really "possess" an eagle? I will just be providing it with a comfortable, target-rich environment in which to live. Where's the nearest Petco?