It is definitely the season of death here on the Mickel compound. Our two remaining cats seem to have a quota of kills that they are capitalizing on constantly. Every day a headless mouse appears at the back door, a host of bird feathers and assorted parts are strewn by the other back door, and just yesterday a lifeless chipmunk with a gouged out stomach was being tossed about by killer cat number two, Shadow. This morning half (the back half) of a rat was placed neatly by the outside freezer. This was quite possibly the work of killer cat number one, Darcy, who enjoys the crunch of a good head for dinner (or breakfast.) She also has a history of hunting rats, and for this we cherish her. To date, no bunnies have been detected, thank goodness, as they have caused undo agony in our happy household in previous years, but that is a topic for another blog day.
It seems appropriate, then, that our two feeder mice (the ones that were spared from becoming gourmet snake food) cuddled up together inside their little plastic house and died as brothers should: together and asleep. Of course little monkey found them when she was taking them fresh vegetables and the tears ensued. Lucky for us, she didn’t take them out and give them baths, like the bunnies of years gone by. But I digress. Ballerina girl instead gently scooped them up and put them in a Ziploc bag ready for burial.
We have accumulated quite a larger number of animals in our mini pet cemetery located next to the garden inside of our gate. Bunnies, mice, and birds all rest together because “dead animals need friends too” said little monkey solemnly when she placed the two brothers in a freshly dug grave. Ballerina girl decided that a proper gravesite should have a proper headstone and so after a short search in the dry streambed, an appropriate rock was found and a memorial script written upon it: “Four bunnies, two mice, will be missed as they were loved by the Mickel family. RIP.” Then flowers were plucked from my garden, prayers said, and final farewells for the afterlife mentioned.
A few days later the chipmunk was placed gently next to the rock. The very next day another mouse was added to the pile, entombed in a plastic bag, and then the head of a bird. Now the girls are not bothering to bury the carcasses, but instead simply piling them by the rock. And the pile continues to grow with each passing death/day. Soon a mountain of deteriorating carcasses will begin to smell, and quite possibly be hauled away by monster dog (he’s fond of all things smelly.) The September sunshine is also speeding up the smelling process, lucky us. But I think it is cute that a basket of flowers, a dishtowel, and assorted toys are now being added to the shrine. And it is a very good thing that my kids are used to death in the fall as soon the rains will come and even the plants will die until the spring. Everything must die, but at least the animals die with their friends.