I moved to New England on April Fool’s Day, 2008. I was finishing up my MBA, and received a great career opportunity just north of Boston. I had been trying to break into the junior executive ranks for quite some time, and the combination of experience, education, and this one opportunity all lined up as if by magic, and the kid from the desert packed up and headed to New England.
I was in New England last spring, but I was bouncing around among extended stay hotels, and I missed out on the season. One month into this year, it’s a whole new ball game. We have three acres in the woods of New Hampshire, and it’s a whole new experience for me.
It’s a whole new experience for Muffet, too.
The Taming of the Shrew
Muffet’s a hunter.
As an all black, green eyed cat, he doesn’t get hung up in New Hampshire’s pesky fish and game rules, he just goes for it. When we first purchased the house, Muffet went to recenoiter some of the local woods, and strayed a little too far. Muffet got lost, and we feared he had been eaten by a fisher cat, coyote, or fox. There are plenty of other critters that could contribute to his demise, but as we had seen foxes near the house, we usually blamed them. We put up posters, went door to door, but Muff was gone. After a month, I reluctantly took the posters down. A week later, someone called, saying they found a black cat with green eyes (I guess they wrote the number down from the posters just in case). I rushed over, but the cat they found wasn’t Muffet. After turning down the opportunity to “take this cat instead,” my neighbors offered the less than helpful suggestion that they recently saw another black cat about two miles southwest of our home.
Two more months passed, and it started to get really cold. On her way to work, Claire received a phone call asking if she was missing a cat. In the background, she could hear Muffet’s pattented “two sylable meow.” He managed to keep his collar on the whole time he was lost, and with temperatures dipping dangerously below freezing, he decided that it was time for him to approach some strangers in hopes of finding a warm place to sleep. He lost about four pounds, picked up a few ticks, and broke one of his fangs, but was none the worse for wear. For a cat with no front claws, he pulled off quite the accomplishment. Best we can tell, he’s down to six lives (he used a couple up in Phoenix), but we’re so pleased to have him back. In his first two months back with the family, he killed eight mice (that we know 0f). Now that Spring is here, he’s back in full swing again.
The above photo is Muffet’s first shrew (click to enlarge). Apparently there are over 250 varieties of shrew, the world’s second smallest mammal being one of them. The lovely Claire is modeling this one with a $20 bill so you can appreciate how small it is… apparently this one is full grown. Shrews eat nearly their body weight in bugs every day, so I admit I scolded Muff just a little bit. It didn’t seem to help, a few days later he brought in another one.
So far, Muffet’s known kill count for 2009 is five. Two mice, two shrews, and last week he gave us a chipmunk. Cute little buggers… just don’t necessarily want them on my entry way rug.
Froggy Went a Courtin’
It’s time for the spring peepers, and we live with a wetland just north of the property. They are a noisy bunch!
Whilst doing some yard work last weekend, I was pulling some weeds on the back of the property and noticed this guy sitting next to my boot toe. He totally blended in with his surroundings, and while it’s a good defense mechanism for predators, I nearly killed him because it worked so well! We’re lucky that Muffet hasn’t brought any of these bug killers home yet; my guess is not too many of them stray so far from the water as this guy did. We returned him to the frog party in the bog, and all is well in Chester.