Notes from the Urban Homestead – Day Three

Log of my chores & activities at the Urban Homestead for Wednesday, June 3  2009

It is cold and rainy today – unseasonably so for Chicago (meanwhile, my friends back in Seattle are emailing me with tales of 90 degree heat and blazing sun -blast!).  More weeding in the afternoon; this time the chickens get everything.  As I’m cleaning up after dinner, I have a slight water mishap when I dump the water bucket under the sink.  I move the bucket slightly so I can scoop the water, and then forget to move it back under the drain pipe.  There is some spillage and subsequent wipe-up.

I take a walk to the grocery store (and the adjacent thrift store), which has tons of Mexican food and, according to Nance, is the only place in the neighborhood with even a small selection of organic and better quality foods.  Lots of the stores in this neighborhood seem to be just phone cards and sugar snacks – it’s a fairly poor, predominantly Mexican neighborhood that is probably not deemed worthy of fresh anything, much less organic.  The store sells the “local” tortilla chips that are made at the tortilla chip factory right up the street.  I pick up some plus some avocados, plantain chips, Malta Goya, some grape juice for Nance’s vinegar mother and some olive oil.

At about 4 AM I am awakened by Carlotta, who is meowing in that special way that a cat does when she has caught something.  Nance had told me that Carlotta is an expert mouser, so I pay little attention, just assume that she has indeed brought a mouse home, and fall back asleep.  I am soon awakened by the sound of Carlotta eating said mouse on the foot of my bed.  It’s a hideous crunch crunch crunch of little bones and impossible to sleep through, but since Carlotta doesn’t seem to be making a mess, I take some photos and wait till she’s done, and then put the last remains – the head and one foot – on the windowsill for later disposal.  The next morning when I am relaying the story to Nance I realize that the mouse was actually a baby rat.  In my sleepiness the night before I had failed to put together that elongated head + slightly larger size + naked tail + creepy handlike paws = RAT.  Ugh.  I was quite proud of Carlotta for not letting it get into the house, and for doing such a neat and tidy job of ruthlessly eating (almost) the entire thing – all despite the fact that she is quite glamorous and fancy-furry.


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