All creatures great and small

Posted on April 21, 2011


I was exchanging pleasantries with a friend on Monday when a glossy little vole darted out from under the propane tank and into the pasture grass. This was a very busy little vole, and looked suspiciously rotund. I wondered how she would get back into the vole hole, but she managed.

The vole thought I bore watching, and kept her beady little eyes on me.

She was right. I had concluded that she was building a nest because she was not fat but ripely pregnant. I was thinking it would be interesting to peer through her window to get a picture of the nest. Just in time I thought of what I would feel like if a large rodent peered into my window, and gave it up.

All of this reminds me that I must keep an eye on the smaller rodents in the neighborhood to see if they are slender and fit. I am reliably informed by the University of Michigan Health System that someone over there has done a five-month mouse study underwritten by the Cherry Marketing Institute. Unsurprisingly, the study reveals that a cherry-enriched diet makes for heart-healthy mice. (Importantly, the mice eating the cherry diets had a 65 percent reduction in early death, likely due to improved cardiovascular health.)

This is interesting stuff, but I am dubious. The release mentions the unbearably spammy term for the dread abdominal avoirdupois, which pretty much always turns me right off. However, I am a loyal cherry muncher, and I share the general conviction in Antrim County that regular quaffs of cherry juice help ease the aches and pains that plague us. The evidence, as my physician likes to say, is anecdotal but persuasive. If I find that the mice are buff and bright-eyed, tummies tucked, I will become a true believer.

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