Muskrat Mornin

We’re always having a little something fall into the window wells of our basement. Usually a shrew or a vole will plummet the heights of three-ish feet, and most times, we’ll end up finding it, all of us squealing at its cuteness and inviting it in to breakfast.

Well, not really, but there was the one time we thought the mouse looked scared and hungry so we fed it a small plate of scrambled eggs before we sent him back on his way.

All of the critters that have come to visit our basement from on high have lived, unless you count poor little Tippy, who we think must’ve suffered a terrible spinal injury in the fall and could only walk in a herky jerky circular motion once we freed him. Sorrowfully, we thought it best to end his little life as he’d have no chance in the wild, and my son did what strong men do and quickly and mercifully sent Tippy into eternity with the help of his Red Rider BB gun. {{Things sometimes get sad round here…}}

Minus Tippy though, every time something has been “discovered” in one of the window wells, we’ve captured it, released it, and sent it back into the wilds of our property, where they can roam free and wild, or get tortured and eaten by our barn cats.

Our dogs somehow have this keen sense of knowing when something has fallen DOWN THERE. They have a special “THERE’S SOMETHING DOWN THERE” bark and will pick up the yipping in unison and force us to come investigate. The household stops, we ooh and ahh over the cute fuzzy creature that has come to visit us by unconventional means, we strategize a plan of capture, and we delight in its release.

So much for a morning routine.

Never a dull moment as they say right?

So the other morning, the THERE’S SOMETHING DOWN THERE bark commenced right after clearing the breakfast table and the kids all muttered as they put on their jackets…sounds like somthin in the window well.

And sure enough…

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Except sweet little fuzzy little vole wasn’t what greeted us. I’d been tempted to fry up another egg and bring it to whatever mousy friend awaited us when I heard the yipping start up. But what greeted us was NOT a guest I’d want at the breakfast table.

MAY 2015 021It’s a MONSTER right?!

Okay okay, so it’s only a muskrat. But those sharp rabid teeth! That long creepy black tail! I had the urge to push my children back like a bouncer at a rock concert and get them out of the way of danger.


Then one of those babies, my man-child, he got right to work fashioning a noose out of paracord attached to a BBQ skewer (he said it was the only long thing he could find but I think maybe those sharp little teeth got to him too) and he and Annie went on recognizance.

MAY 2015 028

Then Annie had to go in the house because of course she wanted to eat it…

So little sister joined in the rodeo.

MAY 2015 034


And it soon became obvious that while my son has excellent noose skills, this muskrat knew how to slip a knot too.

It became time to break out the big guns.

That’s right.

The manure rake.

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After a fun little ride on the manure rake, and then hopping off to skip across the yard and enjoy a relaxing visit with our barn cat Joe while they both rested under our canoe, (our Joe is a lover not a fighter) the muskrat took us on a wild goose chase when we decided we should’ve put him in a bucket and relocated him to the pond up the road.

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A half hour later, panting and defeated, bucket empty, we decided we’d have to concede to Mr. Muskrat and let him run free.

We learned a few things.

When you capture a wild critter, put him in the bucket FIRST before you do anything else.

We knew this but our barn cats confirmed it. Watch your animals. They will speak to you by their body language. Both our barn cats told us which tree root the muskrat had gone under when they went rigid and their tails started twitching.

Flip flops are not a good option for wildlife chasin.

And I learned again what I already knew…

…that it’s true.

With kids…and dogs…and farm animals…and muskrats…

…there really is never a dull moment.

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Epilogue: My friend up the road texted me later in the afternoon to tell me she’d seen a muskrat scurrying quickly through her yard and out of our neighborhood.


All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.

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