I have a fire going in the wood stove at this lunch hour. There is rain and a chill in the air and the fire feels good. Since this is the first fire of the season, little man and I had to go out and bring in a load of wood. He helped me push the green wheel barrow down into the side yard where we have a long, two row deep line of split firewood stacked. I love looking at that woodpile. More than the items in my pantry and my pairs of hand knit socks, this sight says "security" to me. This is heat. We will be warm this winter. I get a deep satisfaction at seeing a good stock of fuel laid by. And using words like stock and laid by just make it a little sweeter.
We loaded up what looked to be the driest pieces and pushed the wheel barrow to the front door where we carried the pieces up the stairs and stacked them on the covered front porch. I had noticed that Bailey had left us a little gift when we first came up to the steps but I did not draw attention to it. A large dead mouse with an obvious cause of death lay on the bottom step and I had no doubt it was a present from Bailey.
I didn't draw attention to it since I did not want to get into a half hour long question and answer session with the little man, followed by excessive observations on his part. I did not want him getting his face right down there to check out the huge chunk missing from the back of the mouses neck and commenting on such things. There will be a time for these kinds of discussions and learning experiences but I was just not up for it this morning.
I had not seen Bailey in about a week and I was very worried for her. Friends had come over before we left for the Mother Earth News Fair, (which I will post about later), and she was around when I was showing them the location of her food. No one had seen her over the weekend I was told and all week I was thinking about her and hoping that she was ok. They coyotes have been out every night this past week barking and howling, and we also have a resident fisher cat who's screams are a constant after dark.
But last night I saw her, waiting patiently by her food dish just inside the barn door. I went out and she jogged a safe distance away while I filled her food bowl. She will get within 4 feet of me now but she will not come any closer or let me pet her. I was so glad to see her safe and sound. I am moving the food dish a little bit further inside the barn each day so she will get used to going inside to get her meal. I am going to get a sturdy box and fill it with warm blankets for her next to her food so she knows she has a warm place to sleep this winter.
And she left me a present. Some sort of offering as a thank you for the food and the consideration. A nice dead mouse. Just her little way of acknowledging our kindness.
Telling myself these things goes a long way in making the half decapitated mouse on my doorstep less creepy.