The mouse trap under the kitchen sink had caught a mouse. But when the Mountain Man opened the cabinet door and peered underneath the sink, he said: "Not a mouse. We caught a pack rat."
"No," I replied. "You're joking."
He motioned for me to peek. Yes indeed. A pack rat about half the size of our cats looked at me with annoyance.
|Here's the pack rat we caught underneath our kitchen sink. I moved to the dishwashing liquid to the countertop. No need to accidentally grab a pack rat when I'm washing dishes.|
Then he pulled the trap with him as he escaped into the bowels of the camper, where we couldn't reach him. Eventually, we caught him in a live trap. I snapped his photo as evidence of yet another critter that's invaded our tiny home-camper.
Was finding a pack rat under our kitchen sink more alarming than finding a snake curled up on my pillow? No, it actually wasn't. The snake-on-the-pillow incident was more than a year ago. I've moved on.
Since then, we've been invaded by frogs, mice, yellow jackets, tiny spiders, stink bugs and flies. Lots of flies.
I'm a tough Mountain Woman now, and I'm less flappable than I was when I first moved to wild Eastern Oregon nearly two years ago. When a dozen tiny spiders descended from the shower ceiling while I was washing my hair, I squished spiders with one hand while I shampooed my hair with the other.
The other night when yet another frog had hopped out of the living room vent and started making his way toward me, I calmly caught him and released him outside.
Last night we were listening to a Maisy Dobbs mystery audiobook, when the quiet of the night was interrupted by the insistent whinny of the horses.
"What would make the horses spook like that?" I asked the Mountain Man.
"Maybe a cougar."
I armed myself with my dragon walking stick and a flashlight. The Mountain Man grabbed his gun. We stepped outside into the black night and walked toward the fenceline where we thought we'd heard the horses. But the horses weren't there. They'd likely galloped up the hill.
We peered into the night. But we didn't see any movement. No cougar jumped out at us. We headed back toward the house. I was in the lead. And I was surprisingly not afraid.
I wanted to check whether either the horses or a cougar were just behind our house. So I walked quickly, shining the flashlight through the tall grass and sagebrush. But I didn't see anything.
The Mountain Man noticed my fearlessness: "Wow. You're not afraid."
I turned toward him and replied: "I'm not the same woman who moved here two years ago. I've had a snake on my pillow and a pack rat under the kitchen sink."
We walked back to the house and I smiled. I am braver than I was two years ago. But I'm also grateful we didn't run into a cougar in the blackness of night.