|The Rat Catcher|
One of Mark’s most significant jobs in our household is the “inviting” of non-human visitors to the yard, not the house. Spiders are escorted out on the backs of envelopes, young, stunned possums are carried out by the tail—bare handed!—but his real specialty is the rodent. “You just have to think like a rat,” he says.
This skill was very clear last fall. It was about ten o’clock and we were reading quietly in bed when the neighbors erupted. First, there was a crash, then a shout. “It’s by the fireplace!” someone screamed. “Now, behind the couch,” another voice chimed in. Obscenities filled the air. The front door slammed as one young man ran out into the street. “I think,” Mark observed calmly, “that they have a rat.” At that moment, something crashed to the ground and another young man ran into the street. We heard the sound of a baseball bat hitting something. There was a moment of silence while they reconnoitered. Then the thumping started again. Finally, after another loud crash, they were done. Either the rat was dead or outside.
A few nights later, I woke up to a familiar, but still ominous, sound. The cat door shut, followed by heavy cat feet, heading to the bedroom. Then I heard the story of the hunt. “Lucy has a rat,” I nudged Mark awake. He sighed, turned on the light, and looked down. Yup, it had just run behind the laundry basket. I gathered up the cat while he headed out for his tools—a large mouthed canning jar with lid and ring, and a towel. “Think like a rat,” he muttered as he placed the jar along the edge of the wall near the basket and covered it with a towel, creating a dark tunnel.”They always run towards the dark.” Then he moved the basket just enough to send the rodent scurrying towards the jar. It ran in. He capped the lid on. “Yup, roof rat, but a baby,” he said, screwed the cap on tight, and moved it to the front porch. In the early morning, he’ll move it across the street to release it in the yard of the awful frat near-by. A Master Rat Catcher at work.
March Dinner: Beans and Greens on Toast
Find a jar of home canned beans in the basement. *
Sautee the last storage onion in olive oil. Chop a big bunch of spicy mustard leaves and add. Pour the can of beans over the greens and warm it all up.
Toast four slices of home-made whole wheat bread. Place on the plates. Pour beans and greens over in a huge pile. Toss a handful of cheese over all.
Eat. Repeat the next week.
You need a pressure canner for this one…Wash pint jars. Pour a heavy third of a cup of dried beans in each. NO salt. Cap and place in canner. Pressure can for 70 minutes. When the pressure is down, the beans are both cooked and canned, beautifully. They are much softer and richer than cooking them on the stove and they keep for years. I process large bunches of our locally grown benas this way in the fall and have them all winter.