Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
October 2010


When did chipmunks become socially acceptable?  Don’t get me wrong, I love me a little ‘munk, but aren’t they really just mice in better outfits?  I ask because a small army of them have been gathering up their provisions for the winter – like Floridians preparing for a hurricane.  They are attractive, sweet, and look like they’d be good conversationalists.  Not ugly and dirty like those pesky mice.

But mice are cute too.  And when I see them on TV or in a pet store I am mesmerized by their constant movement.  If I see one in person, however, in some unplanned moment, I scream.  Irrational I know.  They’re small and usually running in the opposite direction.  For some reason, though, I treat them like a rattle snake.  Like they were sitting at breakfast figuring out how they were going to freak out the human today.  Chipmunks, however, don’t scare me in the same way.  When one runs my way, I feel like I’m a groupie, saying hello and smiling like Derek Jeter just walked by and pinched my butt.

Overall, I’m rather ambivalent about the rodent community.  Yesterday, I saw a mole running along the side of the carriage house and surprised myself by standing there and watching it.  It helped I had a dog at my feet – to protect me from the dangerously blind, and, if The Wind in the Willows is to be believed, incredibly boring mole running away from me.

For now, everyone on the farm – from rodent to deer – can rest easy.  No one will die…for now.  But if I must tell the truth, groundhog, your days may be numbered.  And Mr. Mole, if you keep up with the escape tunnels like a POW in Dusseldorf, something is going to have to be done.  And it may not be pretty.  But chipmunks, your position is safe.  Recently, some friends were telling me how they killed all the chipmunks on their property.  I was shocked. And still am.  But then again, one man’s chipmunk may be another man’s mouse.

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We’re back.

Please excuse our absence over the past week. We’ve been on a cruise. The Oasis of the Seas, in all it’s grandeur, took us to the Caribbean. While we may have discovered we’re not cruise “people,” we did learn that St. Martin is gorgeous, and it IS possible to gain 10 pounds in one week eating only mediocre, wedding-like food.

We returned home to learn that all our animals we alive – even if Jack the cat was foaming at the mouth in a window up-stairs!  All the plants survived. Thank you Mother Nature.  The blueberries even have new growth on them! Oh, and we also discovered it’s fall.  We left in summer, and arrived in fall.  It is freezing and I must, tomorrow, I must, plants the bulbs!  And I must finish tilling the strawberry bed!  Tomorrow.  There is always tomorrow.  Oh, and I have to cook dinner and take care of the animals and do cruise laundry and I have to paint a few, er…maybe 10 rooms.

I’m not complaining.  Really.  Well, um…no, I’m not complaining.  I live in the country.  My dog rolled around in fresh deer poop today and needed to be washed down this afternoon.  That wouldn’t happen in the city.  I registered to vote AND voted today.  That wouldn’t happen in Maryland.  I took my Bob Evans to the vet today and learned that he is healthy.  That could have happened anywhere but it’s still priceless.

While there may be tons to do on the “farm,” and the work may be strenuous, I look on the bright side of things.  My job is to plant strawberries and design a huge house.  I don’t need a gym membership as the 1 acre strawberry patch is my cardio.  I looked at Martha Stewart’s list of things to do for October. Actually helpful.  But still, I don’t think Martha is doing it all herself.  She has over 200 chickens.  My four take about 20 minutes to feed and clean each day.  (And as an aside, Martha is raising the heritage turkey breeds I’m planning for the spring – so know now, I am not copying her, although it does increase my cred as the new Ohio Martha!)

Time to go…while the dogs are sleeping, I’ve spied some chew toy stuffing on the kitchen floor.  Which one did it come from?  And how much has already been eaten?  I know you’re jealous!  Or at least you should be!

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