I came home from work, with the following plan: I would chop a large freshly harvested pumpkin up, roast it while icing my ankle which was still bad, and then blend and make soup from a recently downloaded recipe when the pumpkin was roasted and cooled. I’d let our two, now sizable puppies out for a run-about while I collected the eggs for the day. And then I would ice my foot, put some lovey essential oils in the diffuser, and relax. That would be it, and my ankle would get well needed rest. Not exactly what happened.
I let the puppies out. I collected the eggs. I heard the puppies barking and playing at something around the corner, which isn’t uncommon, and I saw the cat had cornered something. I assumed that that it had to be a mole, but shoo-ed the puppies away out of concern for their loud excited barking would be pissing off the neighbours. Returning to the house, I realized that the Chef had started the automatic vacuum cleaner, our Roomba named Vinny, and it was now sitting on the front hallway. Perfect. The house looked better, as with two big fluffy farm puppies that bring in the amount of sand suitable for a beach everyday, that vacuum is handy. No, not handy. A lifesaver. We have enough to do around here, and Vinny is a godsend. Since the house is also under renovation, Vinny not only picks up dog hair and sand, but dust, drywall and the odd screw as well. He’s fabulous.
Which is why I was a bit surprised when I lifted Vinny up and he smelt, a little, well… off. I looked underneath and he looked fine, but when I pulled out his containment portion for sand and hair, the smell hit me. Crap. Literally. Now, how Vinny managed to pick up a dog turd from our ornery twelve-year-old pug, without spreading it everywhere is beyond me. I can only imagine that the amount of sand and hair managed to coat all stickness on the vacuum, and therefore saving our house from a turd smeared mess. The flattened and attached turd had only attached itself to the back of the unit, interior areas, rolling bristles and rotating spinner… mostly. I look over longly at my diffuser, awaiting my couch time and now wondering what kind of essential oil should I diffuse for covering the smell of squished dog turd in an automatic vacuum cleaner. It was then when I heard the dogs barking excitedly again.
Investigating the matter more throughly, I came across one excited cat, and two very excited puppies playing hot potato with what I had hoped was a rat – which upon closer inspection was a very sad little squirrel instead. Instinctively I scooped it up, and the poor thing was stunned… and it let me conduct an external exam. No puncture wounds that I could see, and no broken limbs. Seeing nothing, except the most sorry little squirrel giving me slow blinks, and breathing what I am worried might be it’s last, I figure that I had to do something. Even though I’m sure it’s second cousin is a disgusting rat, that furry tail for some reason makes me take pity, and enter into emergency mode.
Holding squirrel in one hand, grabbing a metal bowl we have on the front porch for water for the pooches, I dumped out the water, and loaded in some hay from our barn and settled the poor squirrel into it’s new nest. Upon my previous examination, I noticed that the squirrel’s spine was… well.. feeling quite prominent. This sad little squirrel was boney… undernurished and clearly now, after it’s mauling, not doing so well. Of course, doing this transfer to it’s new nest, I realized that the insect activity on the little squirrel was in full swing. Not one, but two types of lice or fleas were now on my hands, which I quickly crushed and killed. No wonder the squirrel was such bad shape… it’s vampiric friends were hanging on for the free ride.
So, it seems to me whenever we have a problem mammal, the instant goat milk comes out. I don’t know why, but it seems the most logical. It’s a goat milk replacer actually, and we have a 40 pound bag of it in the pantry. Initially bought when a piglet wasn’t doing so well… this is now the instant go-to when any mammal isn’t doing well. But for a squirrel?
Well, for a half-dead squirrel, mixing up the goat milk replacer and applying with a syringe wasn’t the best of ideas. After all, if it was unconscious, it could possibly choke, and then where would my karma be? Congrats, you drowned a half-dead squirrel – go directly to hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Good luck explaining that to St. Peter.
I needed something to bring that squirrel around, or at least make a damn fine last meal. I started to turn my head to look toward the pantry, when the heavens clearly opened up and a ray of white light shone down on a jar of peanut butter left by the Chef on the counter. That’s it! What could possibly bring a squirrel back from the other side, but the lucious wafting scent of creamed peanuts up it’s snout?
As I grabbed the smallest spoon I could find, I started to have second thoughts. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe peanut butter was really bad for squirrels? I decided that the amount of fat, sugar and protein, combined with the scent was a good idea, and a poor little emaciated squirrel would let me know if it liked it or not.
With a scooped spoon of peanut butter, I very carefully, placed it near the squirrels nose. Nothing. I then very delicately smeared a small amount on a paw and lips, and pulled back the spoon. Waiting, watching… and suddenly the squirrel was awake, licked and eating the peanut butter from it’s paw before nodding back off. Motivated by this, I leapt into action, mixing the smallest amount of goat milk-replacer in warm water, and drawing some up into a 1 ml syringe. At the squirrels mouth edge, I carefully started to slowly depress the syringe. The squirrel awoke and drank, slurping at the syringe. Not completely it’s normal squirrel self mind you, but at least I wouldn’t have to explain to St. Peter that the rescued squirrel died of thirst.
Due to the squirrel’s on-board guests, I decided not to put the squirrel in the house, but to tuck him into our small greenhouse for the night. In his warm nest, I hoped that he would come around after being mauled by one cat and two 70 pound puppies.
Back to the house, I scrubbed, disinfected and cursed while cleaning out the vacuum, and all it’s poop filled bristles. Every little corner was poopified. It required soap, water, bleach wipes – which we usually only use for chicken culling nights – and Q-tips. 45 minutes of cleaning left me lots of time for contemplation, and I realized that we had unknowingly been training our dogs to be viscous squirrel killers from the start. See exhibit A:
I reviewed the toys we had been giving them. In this photo alone, 3 bears and wait, what? A squirrel? Crap. There would have been a stuffed gorilla in the picture as well, but it was completely unrecognizable with it’s face entirely chewed off. Clearly as doggy-parents, we were training them to be squirrel-killers!
Well, I’d like be able to tell you our little squirrel friend made it. But alas, he went to the big acorn-filled park in the sky. I’m sure there’s a family of squirrels somewhere that is giving him a toast, remarking on what a great guy he was, and how he’ll be missed. Or maybe they’re the revenge plotting kind… oh dear, suddenly our woods don’t look so peaceful anymore…
So how is all this relevant? Because this is a prime example of life on the farm, so when my physio-therapist whom is treating my ankle asks, “You are resting your ankle, right?”, and I relay this story, it explains a lot. And of course, explains why the pumpkin soup will have to wait till another day. Well, at least the floors are clean…