"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Rodent: The Rule of Three

Of course this would happen today, when I post a 2-rodent cartoon and 2 photos....

After hitting send on my morning blog post I hopped in the car and rushed to town for a meeting on the diocesan budget, slipping out of the Bishop's conference room and rushing off to Main Street for my mandolin lesson, followed by a follow-up exam for my new contacts at the mall and the return of a pair of shoes purchased last week. Back in my own town, I stopped at the printer's to collect 4000 campaign flyers for insertion in a weekly newspaper and pay the bill.

My musical accompaniment for this journey was Warren Zevon. I always like listening to Warren at this time of year, especially the 2-disc set of his best known songs--loaded with 40-something tunes.

Singing loud (all about the exploits of Frank and Jesse James), I drove the flyers to the newspaper office. On my way I spotted a residence with lots of political yard signs--for US Rep, US Senator, Governor, President--all in my party. Hmmm, thinks I, maybe they'd display my sign, too, if I asked. (I had several in the back of the car.)

So, on the way back I pulled in the driveway and went to the door with one of my flyers in hand. There was no answer. The two cats--absolutely gorgeous cats--looked at me in a friendly way. One was busy with something in the grass. I left a sign on the porch anyway, with an explanatory note and my phone number. I was leaning the sign against the door when I heard a high-pitched squeak.

The cat was pawing at the thing in the grass, and each time it squeaked.

The sound roused my concern that it might be a bat...I went over to investigate. There was a tiny ball of squeaking fur in the grass. I scooped it up with a folded flyer.

I could tell it was a rodent. Not a mouse. Not a rat. Something with a little short tail. It was very much alive and apparently unharmed.

I wasn't about to leave it there for the cat to dispatch. So I carried it to my car and placed it in the box top that came with the extra flyers.

As I headed out of the driveway, Warren started singing "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner."

For that reason, I christened my tiny passenger Roland the Rodent.

Soon as I got home, I transferred Roland to another container the better to examine him. I left him alone under a warm light and retrieved the ubiquitous aquarium from the loft.

It has housed 2 baby chipmunks (successfully rehabilitated and returned to the wild) and 2 baby turtles (which we kept for a couple of months and released in the little lake.)

I dug up some grass tufts and created a habitat. I re-hydrated Roland, then introduced him to his new lodging.

Then I settled down with the nature books to do some identification.

He's a microtine rodent, either a baby meadow vole or woodland vole. I'm doing additional research online. He's nowhere near full-sized. I didn't think his eyes were quite opened, but was mistaken judging by this photo. If you follow the curve of the blade of grass, there's his little eye looking back.

While I was typing this my telephone rang...it was the homeowner. Not only is he willing to post my sign, he volunteered to help me campaign at the polls on Election Day!

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