Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Tail of Four Mice

A lot of crazy things happen on the farm some weeks. Hornets fly into tiny houses (that's waaaay too close for comfort!) slugs decide to Autoban and find their way into the grill (escargot?) sliming over everything just because they can and poor weed choked strawberries still yield little bits of yummy goodness.

This past week a crazy sad thing happened with a big fat lesson rolled right up in it. My husband killed a field mouse with the string trimmer. She had babies. They survived but weren't old enough to have their eyes open yet. They scattered this way and that once their mom was dead. In other words, they were cat bait. Except that they weren't. Because my husband felt very bad and because nursing baby wildlife is kinda my thing. Just ask my mom. So yes, I ended up spending a few sleepless nights trying to keep four impossibly tiny creatures from dying from a mistake we humans often make. A lack of patience. My husband could have walked the area before he trimmed it (and swears now he will) or used our scythe. A slower route but better. Faster is not always better. 

So we went out and bought goat milk, Qtips, and a container and with a paint brush and dropper, proceeded to try and keep these tiny beings alive. We pulled grass and cut pieces off a wool dog blanket for bedding. I fed them every two hours, even at night, and hoped they'd live while wondering how on earth I was taking the time, in the midst of settling our wild little 1/3 of an acre farm and working two jobs, to even try. But I did. I tried. And here's where the story gets sad. 

I won't sugar-coat it. They weren't eating much. And despite their tiny stomachs I kept trying to get them to eat more and more. I got impatient. I had other things that I should be doing. I opted for speed rather than great care and in only 2 days they died from dehydration which I read later is caused by feeding too much. One by one they passed while I held them in my hand and silly me, I cried. Faster is not always better.

We buried the four tiny things at the back of our property, humbled by the lesson we were taught. Patience is a virtue and rarely do we get such clear examples of how it's so much more than that. Patience is love. Patience is great care. Patience is faith, hope and peace: things that cannot be had quickly.