Many have asked what’s been going on in MouseHouse Village these days, and I’ve been sadly remiss in writing, I know. You have to understand though that getting to BackPorch is more difficult with every frigid winter storm. So bundled like an Alaskan—or maybe just a hearty New Englander since I recently heard that Alaska has a mere 8 inches of snow at present, and some New Englanders are battling with more like 8 feet of the icy stuff--I ventured out.
Crunch-crunch. Every step I take reveals that our summer haven is currently iced in—carpet and all. I peer up through impressive icicles hanging off the gutters, to the tiny door in the eave that leads to the Sir Fivel home. All is quiet, only that tiny wisp of white smoke winding from the chimney attesting to small creatures dwelling inside.
Just as I’m about to hurry back inside—its abominably cold out there—I see Sir Fivel, well-wrapped in a warm woolen coat, his cap-flaps pulled down over his ears, a long scarf wrapped several times around his face, huff-puffing his way up the icy Downspout Staircase. He and the boys have chinked out hand and footholds in the ice, but regardless, it is a risky climb.
“Good morning, Ma’am…” he calls in his raspy, somewhat breathless man-mouse voice. “Hope you and Papa Hare are doing well during this long winter siege.” He pauses just outside their doorway, steamy little puffs arising from his snout as he catches his breath.
“Yes, Fivel. We are, thank you. I was concerned about all of you. How is the family?”
“We’re well, thank you, Ma’am.” And then his eyes sparkled in joy. “We are grandparents now, you see! Bret and Betina are the proud new parents of four wee ones—two boys and two girls. As you can imagine, things are quite busy in that house these days.”
“Oh Fivel,” I exclaim joyously, “What wonderful news! You must all be very happy!”
“Yes, Ma’am. The boys and I, along with Bret’s help, have made an inner doorway to their home from inside Hare Hollow—I hope you didn’t mind the noise.
Bret and Betina’s home is under FrontPorch overhang you see, a fair distance in mouse-miles from Sir Fivel and Fivelina’s abode at BackPorch.
“I did notice a bit more activity in the attic of late, I have to admit, Fivel, but no, we weren’t disturbed by it. It’ll be good that the new parents can have family visits despite this hard winter weather. I know most of The Village is isolated underground now, and unable to do much more than stay warm and sleep the winter away.”
He grinned. “Yes, Ma’am. There’s not much going on in The Village just now. I was just over to the shop to pick up some things I needed, but it surely is a challenge to get there and back. We are most thankful for the Underground Tunnel! Most of the time though, we are staying in our homes where it's warm, working on our winter projects. Fivelina is busy helping Betina with the babies, of course. And yes, it’s reassuring to know she can travel safely back and forth under your roof. Thank you, Ma’am for your kind generosity.” His whiskers trembled in the cold.
“We are glad to share our bounty, Fivel, and we appreciate your respect and courtesy. Now we’d both best get back in where it’s warm. Give my best regards to the family and especially to Bret and Betina. I hope the babies do well.”
“Thank you, Ma’am. I’ll pass on your greetings.” And with that, he slipped through MouseHouse door.
Smiling, I gazed further up at the snow-pile on Hare Hollow roof and the expanse of stalactite-icicle display at the edges. The smile faded. With another measureable snowstorm forecast for the weekend, and yet another blockbuster for next Tuesday, could the windows will be the next thing to be covered?
Shuddering, I slip back into our cozy kitchen, shed my bundling and turn on the kettle. Sitting by the fire with our winter projects… yes Sir Fivel, that’s the best thing to do.