Sunday, July 23, 2006

Meet Buster, the Work Shop Mouse

The other day, while visiting my friend Dan's woodworking shop, we noticed that a small field mouse was wandering around the shop. He stayed quite close to the humans, in fact, he didn't seem to mind humans at all. As Dan was sitting in his chair, this little gray mouse sat at his feet. We talked and laughed, moving around the shop, and the mouse just ambled about, always in close proximity.

After more than 30 minutes of this friendly behavior, we decided that the mouse needed a name. After all, if he was going to be part of the work shop
landscape, he may as well be the shop pet! So Dan's wife Miriam named him Buster, and we've been calling him that ever since.

Buster seems to be quite curious about humans. He gets closer and closer - the photos I took of him were from only one foot away. As I photographed him, I spoke to him, telling him his new name and that he'd have to keep an eye out for those giant human feet which could easily squash him. As I spoke, you could see his ears swivel towards me to hear me better. It was sort of a weird experience - I'm not in
the habit of conversing with field mice - but Buster is sort of endearing as he be-bops around the shop, checking for anything on the floor which might be edible.

He doesn't panic when we step over him to get to another part of the shop. Sometimes he moves aside, but most of the time he just sits and twitches his nose. In fact, one of the photos seems to show him sneering slightly, as if to say - "This is my home, and you are being a bit bothersome with all that table saw and power sander noise!"

When I'm in the work shop and Buster happens to be around, I tell him that he has to be respectful of humans. I noticed he was quite interested in perching on the base of Dan's swivel chair - not a good idea for a little mouse who could easily end up under the chair's wheels. Even worse would be for Buster to want to get really close to humans, i.e., maybe thinking about a fun run up someone's pant leg. I don't think Dan would take kindly to a mouse up his pants. That might be the permanent end of Buster. So Buster will be learning some mouse-manners as I shoo him away from chairs in the work shop.

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