Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life and death

I still haven't managed to dig out the camera to share trip pictures.  There is still a lot of laundry to do.  (B. leaves for Philmont Scout Ranch in two days and needs to repack.)  Plus, we have had a series of small events that make it difficult for me to sit down and upload pictures.

The first is that the monarch caterpillar which B. found a couple of weeks ago ate and ate and grew and grew and then left his jar.  B. found him... firmly attached to a wooden planter we had on the window sill.  It is actually quite a convenient place to watch him metamorphose into a butterfly.  Once he has finished forming his chrysalis I will take a picture of it to share with you.  They are really quite beautiful.

The second involves baby mice.  (Those of you who are squeamish about mice might want to just stop here.)  Yesterday, when down in the basement moving some laundry for me, B. discovered two baby mice, with their eyes still closed, crawling out in the open along the basement floor.  Let's just say it's never a good thing when your 15 year old son comes up from the basement, obviously carrying something in a towel and wants you to look at it.  So, now we had two mother-less baby mice, which are fairly cute.  To A., they were very, very cute.  She wanted to nurse them adulthood and keep them as pets.  But I've been down this road before.

When M. was 3 or 4, we found three baby mice, about the same age as these, crawling along the patio in the backyard.  Since M. was there at the time, J. felt he shouldn't put them out of their misery then and there and so we brought them into the house.  We lined a shoebox with soft cloths and set them under a light for heat.  For the next two days, I donned gardening gloves and carefully fed the baby mice milk with an eye dropper every one to two hours.  It was to no avail and they slowly died, one by one.  It was an agonizing two days.  Every time I smell sour milk, I immediately think of helpless dying baby mice.

Needless to say, we didn't try to feed these.  We put them in a box and set them on our shaded back porch where it was warm.  Over the course of the morning they have quietly died and A. has just finished burying the second one.  It's sad.

And as to the fact that B. found them in the basement?  Well, I'm just not thinking about it and am making sure I'm wearing shoes when I'm down there.

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