The Mystery of the Magic Box

The other day I cleaned the blood off the container holding the chicken feed. I couldn’t get the blood off the other parts of the coop. Our brother-in-law (EJ’s sister’s husband) has chickens and he said that the blood was probably from a mouse. He said that he has seen chickens peck a mouse and shake it to death before they swallow it. Surprisingly, chickens are good mousers. JJ said chickens are a bit scary–they are like small vicious raptors.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said that it’s time now to bring in the bird feeders because the bears are waking up now that temperatures are warming up. (Although this week has been cold, with overnight temperatures dropping into the teens or single digits.) After a winter of hibernation, the bears wake up very hungry and bird feeders are a wonderful food source for them. I don’t want bears so as the birds and squirrels and deer emptied the feeders, I took them down and put them away until next winter.

Well….except for the tray feeder, which both EJ and I have refilled. I also must confess that I sprinkled a little seed on the large rocks for the wildlife. It’s kind of hard to ignore them when they come expecting to enjoy a treat and they find nothing there. I swear that they look at me with sad, disappointed eyes. I really do enjoy them and am reluctant for their visits to end. We don’t see much of the wildlife in warmer months beyond a rare glimpse now and then. They have no reason to risk coming near the house when they can find plenty of food in the forest.

Mostly in the summer we just see the crows and ravens. Not that I’m complaining. I really like crows and ravens. I am awed by how very intelligent they are. An article titled 6 Terrifying Ways Crows Are Way Smarter Than You Think said that they can remember people, have long memories, and can share info with other crows. It said that

In Chatham, Ontario, crows began using the town as a sort of rest stop along their migration route. The end result was hundreds of thousands of birds taking refuge in the city, and because Chatham is a farming community, and crows tend to ruin crops, you can imagine that there were problems. It got so bad that the mayor declared war on them, hopefully by screaming those exact words into the air before hefting an axe and charging at their nests. The townspeople set out, hoping to bag at least 300,000 of the 600k birds currently ruining their livelihood. Unfortunately for Chatham, word spreads fast in crow communities. The first day after the announcement was made, hunters went out and shot a crow.

One.

The rest flew off and, presumably in a dark room lit by a single ceiling lamp, began to spread word about the incident. After that, the Chatham crows always made sure to fly high enough above settled areas to avoid getting hit with bird shot. No more were killed that year. At all.

One crow dead out of more than half a million.

…Crows have been known to change their entire migration pattern to avoid farms where even a single crow has been killed in the past. Generations upon generations later, they still remember specific houses where one measly bird has died. Sure, they’re only avoiding those houses for now — those houses that they remember, those houses that they know have taken one of their own — but there’s just something deeply unsettling about the possibility that there are millions of crows out there right now that know your address.

I read that incident to JJ this morning and I told him to make sure he always treats crows with the greatest respect…because we really don’t want to get on their Enemies List.

A crow flying across our snowy property last week.

Crows are quite awesome. I enjoy seeing them fly overhead and hearing their almost understandable speech. And, by the way, crows tend to scare away hawks and other flying predators that would attack our poultry. So they are part of our coop defense.

I would also like to get a couple of geese because they are also good guardians. However, I think it would be wiser to wait until next year. I’m trying to be strong and not give in to temptation.

A couple of weeks ago my oven quit working. The stove is still working so EJ believes that we need a new igniter. We stopped at a couple hardware stores last weekend, but neither had the correct igniter so he finally ordered one from Amazon. It was cheaper on Amazon anyway. It was being delivered by UPS and was supposed to arrive yesterday.

The Magic Box at the end of our driveway.

The UPS man refuses to drive up our driveway in the winter so he puts packages in a wooden box located at the bottom of the driveway. We were told by neighbors that the previous owner of our house used to put his trash in the box to keep it safe from critters until the day the garbage trucks came to collect the trash. The box hasn’t been used for several years; it’s not messy or smelly but is sturdy and well-built so it’s perfect to use for packages. I call it the “Magic Box” because sometimes we open it and “magically” find packages in it. When I walked down to the mailbox for our mail yesterday afternoon, there were no tracks in the snow so I knew that the UPS man hadn’t been there. (I took the photo today; yesterday we had more snow.) I texted EJ to tell him that if he saw footprints in the snow leading to the Magic Box when he arrived home from work to please stop and get our package–because any footprints would belong to the UPS man since I had not walked up to the Magic Box so I had left no footprints.

Tracks from the UPS truck.

Later EJ called me to tell me he was at the bottom of the driveway, and he saw the tracks of the UPS truck as he had turned around in our neighbor’s driveway, and he saw footprints leading up to the Magic Box, but he had found no package in the Magic Box. He looked at the tracks further and noticed two different vehicle tracks and two different footprints, so obviously our package had been stolen. The Magic Box can be seen from the road so someone driving by must have seen the UPS man put the package in it. We have heard that people sometimes steal delivered packages from porches, etc., but we have never, ever had that happen to us. Bummer. I am appalled that people steal from others and a bit disappointed that we would have to wait to use our oven.

After supper, EJ called Amazon to report that the package had been stolen. Usually I handle delivery problems, but after my experience trying to get Sears to deliver our mattress a month or two ago, I figured it was EJ’s turn to deal with delivery problems, especially since he had ordered the part. Amazon said that they would send a replacement part on Friday morning. Yay! We almost called the police to inform them that we had had a theft–not because it was a huge amount, but so they could be alerted and track any patterns of packages being stolen in the area. But we were both a bit tired and didn’t want to deal with it last night.

Since JJ didn’t have school or work yesterday, he left in the afternoon to take a girl on a date. Later that night, he came home and told us what a great time he had. Then he said, “Oops! I almost forgot!” and he handed us the package from Amazon. It seems that as he drove down the driveway yesterday afternoon, he just happened to encounter the UPS man delivering our package and rather than put the package in the Magic Box, the UPS man handed it to JJ. Which is fine except that JJ didn’t let us know that he had the package. JJ never, ever stops to pick up the mail unless I am with him in the car and ask him to stop so I can get it. I think it doesn’t occur to him to pick up the mail–and if it does, he doesn’t want to bother with it. So it never occurred to either of us that JJ might have the package. I did briefly consider texting him to see if he saw any strangers on our property, but I thought the chances of him seeing anything were slim and I didn’t want to interrupt his date.

EJ called Amazon back but he got a pre-recorded message that they were having a large number of calls so it would be better if he communicated through live chat. So he initiated a chat session to inform Amazon to notify them that–oops–the part wasn’t stolen after all and that he wanted them to cancel sending the replacement part. The support person he chatted with was obviously from another country (probably India?) and kept saying that he would cancel the order and send us a refund. EJ kept typing “No! The package we thought was stolen was NOT stolen so we don’t need a replacement and we don’t need/want a refund.” Round and round they went with the support person insisting on sending us a refund. We think it is unethical to accept a refund for a replacement item that we didn’t need, but finally EJ gave up in defeat and texted that he wanted to go on record that we don’t need a replacement or want a refund but Amazon could do what they wanted. The support person then verified that a refund was on its way. It is very frustrating deal with support people from other countries.

We told JJ that we really appreciate him taking the package from the UPS man, but next time please, please send us a text letting us know that he had it. LOL.

Even though our package wasn’t actually stolen, we do hear that people sometimes steal them so EJ and I are considering moving the Magic Box a short distance further up the driveway where trees will make it less visible from the road. (We can’t do it yet because it’s frozen to the ground.) We also thought it might be a good idea to put a padlock on the box that we can leave unlocked when we expect a delivery. The delivery man can lock it when he puts a package in the box.

 

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2 Comments on “The Mystery of the Magic Box

  1. Why does it have to be so hard to be honest. I will bet the man on the end of the line did not have a script for someone being honest about not needing a part or a refund. What a world we live in. Love your stories.

    Like

    • Thank you, Lucindalines. You are probably correct in that the guy didn’t have a script for honesty!

      We sure hated to accept a refund when it wasn’t really ours to have, but EJ couldn’t convince the guy that we didn’t want the refund.

      Like

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