Sunday, September 02, 2007

to a Wee mousie

So today I'm out in my herb garden pulling catnip plants. It was too easy to let them grow, thinking I might dry some for the resident cats, but these self-sown volunteer plants have had a banner year, growing tall and wide, and now they are in flower. The decision to pull is easy: I'm sure to find a few seedlings next spring, and if I don't act boldly now, I will have nothing but a catnip jungle next year, ga-ran-teed! So, I hack my way back to the bee skep artfully placed on the floor of the hops arbor... do you see anything amiss?

Not bees under the skep...

It looks to be composed of grass, dryer lint, unknown mammal fur... a nest...
Look carefully_
Can you see her? This is about as good a photo as I could get on short notice... she's hiding in the duff under the deck. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can make out a large ear, mommy, and a small ear, baby.
She was exceedingly noiseless, the several babies stayed "attached" as she jumped out of the nest, and when I returned to the garden with my camera she was wary and shy, and well camouflaged.

Funny thing, she'd built her nest under the bee skep on a deck right next to the huge catnip plant, and my brave feline hunters never found her... do you think the odor of the catnip, or even the hops, lulled their feline senses and provided her a natural defense?

Of course, me being me, I had to Google The Scottish Bard...

I agree with Our Rabbie: let wee Mousie live, and her brood. Winter'll come soon enough, and only if she comes indoors will she have to deal with me then.

Robert Burns (1759–1796). Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

To a Mouse

WEE, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
’S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell—
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

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