The Kern River Valley Historical Society is celebrating over 50 years of operation! Our mission is to preserve and communicate the rich and colorful history of this region. The Kern Valley Museum in downtown Kernville, next to the Post Office, welcomes visitors to explore our rich history.

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If you enjoyed reading Rod Middleworth's Column in the Kern River Courier all these years, don’t miss your chance to get a copy of his book, Things I Have Noticed: The Collection, containing all of his weekly columns --- over 12 years of fireside stories.  Rod urges us to read them aloud in the home.  -

Books still available at the Museum's Country Store, while they last.


"Mr Mouse Takes Last Ride"   2009

     Recently at 4 a.m. (that’s very, very early if you’re retired) I was awakened by a racket outside my bedroom window. I noticed that it sounded like somebody was scratching on a blackboard. I turned over and said to myself, “Whatever it is, it’ll go away.”

     Well, it didn’t, and again there came this scratching and a sound like something jumping up and down on our aluminum porch roof.

     It was enough for me to get up and go outside with my million-candlepower spotlight. (I bought the spotlight at Harbor Freight and it really is one million candle-power!) It’s big and sports a huge battery. When you turn it on it tears a hole in the night like the beam from a lighthouse. Not only is it a spotlight but it also livens up the dark, like lights on a football field. (Imagine, if you will, a million candles sitting in your front yard all lit and glowing.)

     So I flipped on the spotlight, and squinting from the glare, I aimed the beam onto the porch roof. There, framed like an Audubon bird, was a Great Horned Owl. He had a mouse. Part of the scratching was the mouse trying to get away; the rest was the owl dancing around, anticipating breakfast.

     I’m not sure who was the most surprised, me, the owl or the mouse. But with a rush of wings the owl took flight, leaving the poor mouse behind. But not for long. Suddenly remembering breakfast, the owl turned in midair, swooped back and grabbed Mr. Mouse. I could hear the beat of his wings as the owl flapped away into the darkness.

     It’s a fact that I don’t like mice and have gone to great extremes over the years to catch, remove and destroy each and every grey rodent that I have found. However, my heart briefly went out to Mr. Mouse, who at that moment was dangling in the clutches of Mr. Owl as he soared over the countryside in the dark.

     I’m not sure what this little guy was thinking, but what with his capture, the million-candlepower light, briefly attaining freedom, getting recaptured, and dangling over the landscape 100 feet high at 20 miles an hour, I’m guessing that Mr. Mouse was scared sightless.

     I almost felt sorry for him – until I remembered who had awakened me at 4 that morning.

Good work, Mr. Owl!