“Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas” From The Critters & All

It’s that time of year where holidays stack atop one another-Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, all while (presently) the festive fall leaves have blown mostly all away while the winterly north winds threaten for an early winter arrival in Minnesota. Temperatures dipped into the 20’s overnight. Snow is in the forecast teasing to fall in the days and weeks ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Living in the prairie lands of Minnesota, with South Dakota knocking at our door and North Dakota sitting right above it geographically speaking, there are ample opportunities for high wind speeds to roll through the prairie lands and cross the border waters where we live, wreaking havoc on anyone with outdoor plans in the tristate area.

Plans? What kind of outdoor plans?

Well, plans for hunting for instance. Minnesota’s deer hunting opener was just yesterday, Nov. 5 as I write today, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 (Daylight Savings Time). Pheasant, goose, and duck hunting have been open for many, many weeks already. And then, too, are plans for people to get outdoor fall chores wrapped up. Chores such as: loose leaves mulched for lawn soils to eat nutrients out of, or leaves gathered for elimination, lawn furniture covered and tucked away, garden debris removed for a clean start next spring, and perennials cut back or covered before freezing temps threaten their life spans. Also, cleaning of windows and home exteriors of bugs, spider webs and all. And let us not forget, those who yearly hang brightly colored Christmas tree lights on their homes or on yard trees, or who put out winter decorations for all passer-byers to “ooh” and “ahh” at! For some late bloomers or procrastinators there’s never a good time to get any of these nagging fall chores started.

Although while our kids were growing up, we did the seasonal outdoor light hanging, mostly our family no longer puts up outdoor Christmas lights. Rather, my husband, Darren, has put up interior Christmas lights in our pole shed building for his, and our, great pleasure. Darren did this project many years ago, having a passion for Christmas lights blinking on and off, which also make a way for light to be present inside the pole shed building at all times. A security system of sorts.

However, our son not only has sparkly Christmas lights up inside his house all year round too, that he can turn on at any moment he desires, he has an outside house wall and his deck decked for jolly light viewing too! He is much like his dad in the arena of lighting up his life with colored displays that bring him much joy seasonally and otherwise!

Outdoor lights have long past disappeared from our, Darren and my (and Kelly’s too) yard…until this fall. Something changed. In an error of my doing, I’d ordered too big of a “lighted Christmas tree” online for an upcoming local “Lighted Christmas Parade”. The oversized tall tree was put it in our yard… the night before Halloween!

“Tricks or Treats!” We tricked! The lighted Christmas tree standing 12 feet tall (with 442 lights) is a contemporary Christmas tree, one of its own kind, like Charlie Browns’ but more appealing.

We have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the office here at “Helping Hands Therapeutic Massage & Body Work”. If you’ve been to our shop in town in the last six years around this time of year, surely, you’ve seen it! It’s small, taking up no more that 5-6″ of space on the upper counter. It is the perfect size and sends out the simple message of Christmas just like in the “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” TV special this time of year. Good vibes all around!

The newly ordered six-foot tree (with 202 lights) was placed online to replace my purchased 12′ tree error for the parade outing. The first 12′ tree arrived before Halloween. Kelly, having executed putting it together and testing it out overnight inside the pole shed with Darren’s always on Christmas lights there, thought it should be transported into our yard for displaying it’s pretty colors so we could see it every night. She was correct, it is dazzling to look at as dark approaches, the preset timer set for the lights to come on at dusk and go off at midnight.

The replacement six-foot tree really is the perfect size for the parade float (“Shores Edge Excavation”) we are creating. SEE “Shores Edge Excavation” on FB or look up Kelly’s brother, Troy, on his website https://shoresedgeexcavation.com. He has many creative wall structures for view at his website!

If you live in Big Stone County, MN, consider coming to the “Lighted Christmas Parade” on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 5:30pm on main street (2nd Street) of Ortonville. We really hope and pray the weather will be accommodating to the activity! Old-man winter and his whipping wind are not welcome.

As I stated, the wind is howling outside of our windows and doors presently as I write, allowing me to remember and embrace seasons’ past of holiday happenings. Good memories, filled with holiday festivities, foods, family, fellowship, card games, and stories of the year all shared around the table. Don’t we all get mesmerized by Christmas memories past? Feelings of good cheer, love for family and friends gathering, and food? Although, I’m sure there are dear ones who do not have such fond memories of holidays past–who do not wish their fate upon any of us. That said, I hope and pray for every individual to have their socks blessed off of them this year with an especially kind Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season and love abounding around them.

The howling prairie winds are now gusting to speeds of up to over 40mph. It feels like WINTER. We had to relocate the 12′ lighted Christmas tree during this writing, moving it out from the open space we’d placed it into outdoors–a more protected area in the yard. It’s not a LIVE living tree, so mobility is pretty easy. It’s a metal portal with electric wires having colored lights in rows shaping it to a triangular sphere tree. Now, in its new location, it will blink and wink through our main floor kitchen window and lower two-bedroom windows. Perfect.

Since the cold weather has seemingly really arrived for good for at least the next few weeks, and frost has implanted itself into the top soils, the outdoor animals (and pests) are scrambling for cover. How do I know? Well, there’s a story brewing here, if you’re up for more reading!

Fall is the time of year where outdoor rodents, like mice, will try to relocate to protected and warmer spaces. The inlet into our home for these scurrying rodents is unknown, at least unknown specifically. There are obvious places like the overhead garage door being opened to put my car in and out of. We’ve not been overburdened in years past with these rodents. But this year is a whole new story. Where once downstairs occupants slept mostly but not always unburdened by noises of mice scratching inside the walls of the downstairs bedrooms, this fall we’ve been put on alert to their presence within our home on a nearly nightly basis.

Around the upper Midwest, people put out mice traps or poison bait to capture and kill these pesky rodents. We, too, have joined thousands of others in rodent elimination by putting a dab of nut-butter onto a “Jaws of Death” trap inside areas in the house where the mice will find the treat and not resist the temptation to feast on the easy meal. We’ve killed two mice already in the death traps. Did I mention we have two indoor cats?

Yes, you read that right! Two indoor cats–Chloe and Cubbie (Little Bear) are permanent INDOOR cats–fully declawed, having arrived to our home three years ago, or so. The two of them do love the game of cat and mouse, proven after human bedtime many a night this fall. The most recent of those games being last night.

Being all tucked in my bed with no visions of sugar plums dancing through my head, I heard a squeak out of Kelly in the nearby bathroom, announcing, “Cubby has a mouse in her mouth!” Then the little feline dropped the mouse off in the laundry room across from the door. Minutes later, we heard multiple mammal creatures running down the hallway. The game was back on! Then, it got quiet again. My last thought before dozing off was, the cats will capture and kill the mouse and all will be well in our home once again.

When I awoke well-short of two hours later to a MOUSE scrambling over MY hand, my hand which was laying outside of my blankets, not only did I stir to full awareness to the happening, but exhaled a yelp of complete disgust of WHAT just happened! Others awoke to my yelp of disgust. I knew not where the rodent flew off to from my shaking hand, which then became a BIG burden for my mind to quiet in the next hours.

Yes, I did just say hours of being awake. The bedroom light was turned on to inspect the entire room for occupancy of the insanely pesky rodent. This was OUR house. The mouse was not welcome here, now or ever. The mouse’s presence was not found…so the light went off, while my mind stayed on. Minutes, then hours, passed. Getting up to take a look at what time it was, 1:25am, I thought, I’ve been awake since 11pm. Later, checking the time, it was 1:02am. Oh. Yep. That’s right. Daylight savings time, was taken into account. I’ve been awake for almost three hours. Not online on my phone. Not reading. A little praying and mostly thinking and trying to go to sleep. What a chore! My restless mind over-ruled sleep for those three-plus hours, while occasionally taking my cell phone and flashing its flashlight into crevices behind the bed, along the bedside floor, and over the bedspread on the lookout for the mouse.

In the room or out of the room, I was alert and awaiting. Awaiting what? What would I do if the pesky mouse came up on the bed again? Then, my thoughts went to ideas of vengeance towards the mouse, which expanded onto people and creepy ideas one should not speak of. Man-o-live. This one mouse incident created a whole swarm of bad vibes and thoughts. I needed to repent.

And repent I did. Soon after, I drifted back into peace-filled thoughts. More so, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, while thoughts of sugar plums danced through my head, I slept at last uninterrupted by mouse visitations or creepy thoughts turned to dreams. Thank God, peaceful sleep won out for the remainder of my rest.

For the next 24-hours, after awaking in the morning, the mouse finally lost the game with the cats…or the dog. We do not know which. Pets love to show their catches to their owners. And that is just what one, two, or all three of them did. They left the pesky, dead mouse, out atop of a bed inside our house, for the three of us to SEE their victory in hopes of tasty treats rewarding their good deed! See our pets below.

In the photo are Kelly with Chloe, Darren with Cubbie, I with baby Aggie (last year’s Christmas photo), and Troy with his two cats, Oscar and Felix–such an “odd couple”.

So, to you, our friends, family, and clients, as Kelly recently said to me while giving me some pairs of unused socks she didn’t want yesterday, proclaiming in her jolly holiday voice, “Merry Christmas!”

In reply, an attempt of humoring her, I snickered, “And ‘Happy thanks giving’ to you!” So dry is my humor that the cold, wintery winds lifted up the dry words and blew them far, far away.

See what I mean? Very dry humor, indeed.

“Happy Thanksgiving” and again, “Merry Christmas from the critters (minus the mice) and all of us to you and yours”.

Until next year, rest, replenish, rejoice always, and be well in heart, mind, physical health, and spirit!

Peace on earth and in our atmospheres,


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