Friday, October 25, 2019

Welcome Home....




Illustration by Tasha Tudor from Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows.


 When we were out walking today, Millie got her first mole of the season.  She can accomplish the feat in just a second or two, and comes away holding the poor, innocent little critter ever so gingerly in her mouth.  She knows what I am going to say. "Oh, Millie, give it to Momma," which she so gladly does.  I praise her, and she is happy.  And, the mole is happy to be free and able to go back to tunneling his way back home.

 I decided at the last minute that I should get a shot of Millie's trophy, the silky, soft little critter that I had saved, but when, in just a minute or two, I went back, he was already gone.  So, this illustration from The Wind in the Willows, which was done by Tasha Tudor, will have to suffice. Don't you just love it?




Look at the intensity in those eyes.  When Millie hears a mole underground, she freezes for a moment, crouches somewhat like a cat, then jumps, and quick as a flash she digs, pushing her nose deep into the hole and pulls Poor Mole out with her mouth. She rarely misses!

I didn't mind so much when she rid the yard of this menace, but along the trail, through the woods and meadows, those little critters are doing no harm that I can think of.  And, besides, I always think of Mole, who was such a congenial character in the book I mentioned above.  Or, maybe, my heart is just too soft.

Our blogging friend Henny Penny wrote in a post yesterday about her soft spot for mice.  And, they really are awfully cute.... as long as they stay out of the house.  Lil' Red Hen composed an excellent piece on "A Mouse in the House."  (Click on both links to read  their tales.)

Awhile back, we had a Momma Mouse in our house.  Why, she even raised a family, right under our noses, under a cushion in my fancy sofa in the living room before we finally got her.  She had chewed a couple of fair-sized holes under the cushion (which I patched), and had made a soft bed there with things she stole from my sewing room.  She was such a thief that she had taken a couple of brand new skeins of embroidery floss there for the little ones to snuggle in!  But it really got serious when...

She tried to take my prized needle book that I called the Embroideress - the one I oh-so-meticulously  appliqued and embroidered by hand. I found the little cloth book crumpled one morning on the floor in the sewing room.  The Embroideress's hair was a total wreck, with lots of threads that seemed to have been cut, as you can see in the second picture below.  

My daughter said that mouse surely did have excellent tastes!  It took us three days to finally trap her and all of her young 'uns.  And, I am afraid they didn't fare so well as the Lil' Red Hen's "Mouse in the House."  







When we went out walking today, I pulled on my old wool coat.  It felt mighty good, too, for it was a coldish, rainy day.  When I read of Mole's "great joy and contentment" at being home, I was reminded of how good it  is to get back home to a warm fire after one of those cold, wintery day walks.


"The weary Mole soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment.  But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him...  It was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome."


~Kenneth Graham
from the chapter Dulce Domum
The Wind in the Willows



21 comments:

Lady Locust said...

I don't like voles/moles! That said the only time I've seen them is in my yard and garden where they eat my veggies before I can. And I do agree, mice are adorable as long as they are in a field somewhere and not in my house. They plowed the field behind us and we got 6 in 1 week - in the house! I'm glad she did no more harm to your gorgeous needle book. Did you create the design as well? - it really is a piece of art. Also, thank you for the links. I will check them out.

Hootin Anni said...

With the exception of snakes, I love all God's creatures. We don't have moles (that I'm aware of) but the stories I grew up with about 'possums I soon learned living in Texas, they're roach eaters. I LIKE THAT, so I'm happy to see them roaming the 'hood. And....LOVE Wind in the Willows. Plus I can picture Millie mole hunting!

jenclair said...

Many years ago, I saw a mouse in the house after my husband went to bed. I left a note for him, "We have mice inside!!" When I got up, he'd already left, but he had replied to my note: "Sweetheart! We have a dog--we cannot afford to feed both--you'll have to give the mice away! Sorry--Love you, Your Husband" I still have that note posted on my craft room door. :)

Vintage Keepsakes said...

The moles out at my son's property ( where we lived for awhile) are destructive! Mole hills are abundant. Gophers are the worst; holes all over the property. Dangerous for the littles grands when they run around. They had mice too; but for the most part stayed outside. Hawks stay near by and I think that helps to keep their numbers down. And the neighbors cat's help too. Anyway, I really liked your post. And Millie reminds me of our son's dog Oakley the Husky; he loves to keep his eyes and ears open for critters and will pounce on them! I'm sorry for your couch and the happenings in your sewing room; especially the needle book. I remember your posting on this and just love it! Hope you can repair it as you did the couch. There is cuteness in these little critters! I guess there is a reason for all these critters. My question is why do they always choose near the house; when there is miles of open spaces near by? I guess it could be the vegetable garden and fruit trees and flowers! Dress warmly for those walks of yours and take care.

Aritha V. said...

I really love to read it.

Hill Top Post said...

I think moles actually feed on insects and their larvae, earthworms and grubs. Of course, they tear up the ground to get to those things much to the aggravation of the gardener. I did draw the design for the piece, but I was inspired by the work of Janet Bolton.

Hill Top Post said...

I'm also pretty soft on all the critters, big and small, around here too! I think I would have liked Kenneth Graham.

Hill Top Post said...

This is pretty funny! Your husband must have a great sense of humor. Lucky you!

happyone said...

I've come across a couple dead moles in the street lately.
Can't say I'm really fond of them or mice either!!

Hill Top Post said...

Thankfully, we don't have gophers! Moles aren't a problem here through the summer months, but from now through spring we start seeing their runs. I haven't tried repairing The Embroideress's hair. Two thicknesses of cloth are sewn together, so I would have to take the book apart to redo it. I think it will just be what it is. Someday, I may make another. I really enjoyed the needle-turned applique.
I'm just never quite ready for cold winter days. I so dislike having to wear caps and hoods over my head. I'm sure that will make a North Dakota girl laugh! :~)

Hill Top Post said...

Could be that one of your doggie friends is leaving them behind. If Millie kills one, she just leaves it, so dogs may not care for eating them. She doesn't eat rats or mice either.

Hill Top Post said...

Aritha, thank you for visiting and becoming a follower.

lil red hen said...

Now you know how I feel about moles! Actually, one summer I got quite good at hunting them and flipping them out of the ground. It takes "special" talent. lol I have enough cats on this farm there shouldn't be one mouse on the place. In the fall of 2017 I caught 11 mice! The farmer was leaving too much feed out for the dogs inside the furnace room, enticing the mice, and then somehow they got inside the house. (Henny, I didn't rescue them.)

The Wind in the Willows sparks my imagination; I love it! Thanks for mentioning my poem.

Rose said...

Oh, I so love the mouse tales...was so glad to see this post. At times I need Millie for our yard. i have our Bubbie cat who does occasionally catch one, but he cannot dig fast enough, but he does dig. Like you, I would probably let it go out in the wild.

As for mice, my girls had pet mice. people thought I was crazy, but they are quite the family. We had mice that had mice...we had to separate the males and females, or it caused quite a stink. But one little mouse, Chelsea could not havw babies for some reason. But she would 'babysit the other babies and was the perfect little mom. Then there was one baby that where ever his dad was, he was beside him copying his every move! So, so sweet.

I have a couple mouse tales...one is osmewhere on my Pics and pieces blog, but have never told the other one. one time it was fall and I was picking Gala apples, so early fall. There was this mouse nest in the tree...I didn't dream there was mice in it and grabbed it to tear it out...out run a mommy mouse with a bunch of babies clinging to her nipples! I felt so bad.

I came to tell you I ordered O Rugged Land of Gold last night...just long to read it again...if our library had it I would have gone there, but it doesn't...so will just have my own copy.

Hill Top Post said...

I never could get that little poem of yours out of my mind! Cats really are an essential on the farm. It was after we lost our big ole cat here that we began to have a problem with mice. We still have three cats at the barn. They seem to be doing a good job.

Hill Top Post said...

Your mouse tales would be so fun to hear. I can only imagine all the mothering your girls did over the little ones. Our library didn't have the book in its system either. I have temporarily put my book aside until I get over whatever I have. I have never had a book that smelled so musty and nasty. I keep imagining that it is making me sick. I am on Chapter 18 and so want to finish the story.

Granny Marigold said...

OH! Too bad the mouse messed up your needle book. It doesn't look too badly damaged though. Mice can be quite destructive.
I love Wind in the Willows. Every Christmas season we watch Mole's Christmas and enjoy it as much as ever.

Kim said...

I am afraid little 'meeces' don't fare too well in my little abode. I must prefer them to stay outside. Our Boo (cat) and Maisie (dog) patrol the environs wonderfully. Your "Embroideress" is beautiful. My, the mice in your neck of the woods have excellent taste.

Prims By The Water said...

Mice in our home usually don't make it a day or two as our one kitty will get it. We have non poisonous snakes that seem to find them in our garage too. Not so fond of the snakes, but they keep the mice in control and then go away. until more mice come back. Millie is a true hunter indeed! Janice

Bonnie K said...

Loved this post. With the exception of having a soft spot for mice. They have eaten my garden and ruined my shrubs. I just found last weekend they girdled my favorite lilac. Sorry to hear about your mouse in the house. You are much calmer then I would be.

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

Oh dear. I was reading with interest thinking I would love to have Millie's talents in my yard! I lost close to a hundred dollars worth of tulip bulbs to the moles this year, not to mention all the damage they did to my garden. I wouldn't mind them doing what they do a bit, except when they intrude and eat expensive plants, lol! I enjoyed hearing your thoughts about Mole though, and agree, he was a very nice sort of character :) It is very cold here today as well, and a nice wool coat would be a wonderful blessing to put on! It was 7 degrees, but has now warmed up to about 28. Not bad, at least it is sunny! Blessings to you :)