I was doing some early morning watering in the greenhouse this morning and remembered to check upon the freesias, located at the far end in a small separate area. As I was splish splashing around something brown and furry darted about my feet; brown, furry and larger than the average mouse. At this point I took the opportunity to practice my Irish dancing whilst singing a little ditty something to the tune of “that’s all we need, bloomin’ rats!”. In what could have been a stage-managed affectation a little face poked up behind the staging and I realised that this was not Rattus norvegicus but Mustela erminea or Mustela nivalis, either a stoat or a weasel (there was absolutely no popping so I had my suspicions). So after opening the end door to allow it an escape route, I closed the inner door and went back to the potting shed to consult my I-Spy Book of Brown Furry Creatures. Sat on the sofa contemplating whether I had actually saw a tail let alone if it had a black end, I looked up to find myself being watched by, yes you’ve guessed it, my new bessie mate, the stoat (probably). He scurried off again only to reappear about half an hour later, this time scuttling away underneath the work bench. It was both a bizarre and a pleasurable encounter. If he decides to stay for a while he will hopefully keep in check the mouse population of both the greenhouse and potting shed, absolving me of the moral maze faced each year. Another plus is that as long as he is with us he wont be terrorising Damages chickens. Now all we need is a couple of wolves and we can sort out the deer problem.
ps I didn’t get a picture of the stoat, this primula is however his favorite flower.