Well….there’s your problem.

My parents were real city people. Total urbanites. They barely kept houseplants, much less a furry pet. They loved living in an apartment, and could only sleep with the sound of traffic to lull them.

How how I sprang from that concrete-centric set of loins I will never know. I must be a throwback to generations past – either my gentle German ancestors or my soft Scot.

From the time I was able to express an opinion, (pretty damn early I am told), there was nothing I wanted more than to be surrounded by animals. At four I had a ‘Little Golden Book’ – remember them? – about National Velvet that was my favorite. There was one memorable illustration of Velvet patting her horse over the fence, in her own front yard!

That was the epitome to me – having horses that you could see when you looked out your kitchen window. And of course, the numerous large dogs that went along with it, and the cats and constant kittens in the barn.

Now I have that, and I do love it. (Though, come February, shoveling the frozen horse crap does lose some of its charm) But riding on days like these, no bugs, dry ground, breathtaking leaves, is sheer joy.

There are, however, the downsides to farm critters once you get inside the house. A most persistent mouse kept appearing just out of the corner of my eye last week and was able to avoid all my efforts to catch him – but only for a while. I am nothing if not persistent.

The best was the furnace man that came this week to repair my furnace. It would turn on, but would not ignite. Once you opened the window to look inside it would fire up just fine but it was apparently not getting enough oxygen to keep running.

I called ‘the guy’ and it took him only a matter of minutes to determine what was going on. Reaching up into the air intake hose he brought out a desiccated and overdone squirrel, which had probably been in there for months. “Well”, he said, with no hint of humor, “there’s your problem.”

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