Friday, March 20, 2009
"you're a little low on the food chain to be mouthing off"
When Enviro-Girl and her family moved to the country, she was unprepared for the infestation of pestilence that is common in new houses. She should've expected it--their construction disrupted a huge space in the middle of an alfalfa field. All of the displaced bugs and critters would have to find new habitats. Enviro-Girl spent the first summer coping with swarms of mosquitoes, flies, wasps, ants and some microscopic crawly bug that ate mildew according to the lady at the exterminator's office. Without birds, bats or frogs to help keep these populations in check, they infiltrated every crack, crevice and cranny of Enviro-Girl's pretty new house.
She spent hours that first summer with her vacuum cleaner and newspapers--swatting at the flies in windows and whisking away the carnage. She baited traps for ants and scrubbed the tile floors daily. She did this in the midst of a muddy field covered in grass seed and straw--whatever spare time she had when not killing bugs, she spent it cleaning up the mud clumps Mr. T dragged in.
One fair morning she spied a baby mouse in the flower bed by their garage door and mentioned it to Mr. D over supper that night. "You'll want to get a hose and flush out the whole nest, Enviro-Girl," Mr. D cautioned. "We don't want mice--just kill them now before they are old enough to leave the nest."
"But they're babies!" Enviro-Girl gasped in horror. She couldn't kill baby mice. They were half blind yet, innocent and dependent on their mother who Enviro-Girl thought Mr. D had killed earlier that week. Enviro-Girl was certain the baby mice would toddle off to the nearby field as soon as they got a little older and that would be the end of them. Besides, she was 6 months pregnant with Mr. B--her maternal instinct was stronger than her fight instinct.
The next day while working the flower bed she spied the baby mouse. Trapping it with a trowel and bucket, she carried it, squealing and screaming (the mouse, not Enviro-Girl) far into the field and flung it into the weeds. The mouse spun through the air, tiny balls of poop expelling from it's hindquarters while it flew far into it's new habitat. Enviro-Girl felt bad, but really, that baby mouse belonged in the field with it's cousins and kin. It would be fine.
Twenty minutes later another baby mouse crawled through her flower bed. Enviro-Girl trapped it with trowel and bucket and hiked it out to the field, telling the mouse to join it's brother. Or sister. And live in peace. She repeated the process with a third baby mouse another half hour later.
Fifteen minutes after Enviro-Girl had carried the third baby mouse to it's new habitat, yet another baby mouse came creeping along the wall of the garage. Enviro-Girl called Mr. D. "You're doing what?" he yelled into her ear. "Enviro-Girl, they have like 7 babies at a time. They'll be ready to breed within 2 months. By fall there'll be 20 mice out there--not counting the ones inbreeding with their cousins out in the field."
Enviro-Girl hung up and went back outside and found that baby mouse blindly groping it's way along the edge of the garage wall. She grabbed a rake and nudged it to the side of the driveway. She no longer saw a wee innocent creature. She saw the future--generations of mice who'd overrun the field and squirm into her garage and basement. Mice who'd eat their way through her gardens and breed like crazy. Closing her eyes, Enviro-Girl brought the rake down with a quiet thud, crushing the baby mouse. Mortified, she opened her eyes and watched it wiggle. She thumped it again with the rake. Then she grabbed a shovel and really took a whack at it. When the deed was done, she swallowed her nausea and scooped the carcass onto the shovel and carried it to the field where three of that baby mouse's siblings were scurrying through the grass.
The mouse tally at the end of the day: 3 living, 4 crushed to death by Enviro-Girl's shovel. Nature is a cruel place, populations are kept in check through the constant battle of predator and prey. It's about survival of the fittest and Enviro-Girl's instincts were to kill and dominate--she's at the top of the food chain in her ecosystem.