Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Country Mouse


It is impossible to live in the country and not have a relationship with mice.  At one point, I even wrote a blues song with a friend of mine called  “Dead Mouse in the Water Bucket Blues”.  I’ll spare you the lyrics, but there was a time when I realized I was going to have a bad day if I found a dead mouse floating in Silk’s water bucket when I fed the horses their breakfast. It was a real, true omen.  The heated bucket has the exotic lure of a Jacuzzi, but once they jump in, there’s no way out.  It makes me so sad to find a floater, and even worse, to discover a mangled victim in the house left by our cat, Velcro. If at all possible, I try to make my husband “take care of it” to avoid having to confront the tragic reality.

For the last few weeks, as the weather warmed up, “someone” kept leaving the garage door open, despite my protests that the mice would come waltzing in.  So it was no surprise that we had several unwelcome dinner guests in our kitchen.  One mouse in particular found a way to get inside our stove and bury a stash of rice crackers in the insulation under the warming unit.  The first clue was the terrible burning smell and smoke. It required dismantling the stove, which was not easy or fun.  This critter was persistent and very industrious, working through all the chocolate cookies and cinnamon bread that I left in a basket on top of my refrigerator. Finally, we decided to make Velcro earn his keep. 

Our cat is a reluctant mouser. He often catches his prey and then, gets bored and drops them before finishing the job. On the first night, he did get one prize which he left for my husband on the chair in his office.  Unfortunately, the clever little scavenger that was busy dragging stuff off the refrigerator, across the kitchen floor and into the stove was more illusive. And this routine of having to dismantle the oven wore on all of our nerves.

I was greeted by a meowing cat at my bedroom door  at 5 am this morning, and as I questioned Mr. Velcro about his nighttime affairs, there was a loud banging in the kitchen. I forced my husband to wake up and go check it out while I cowered at the top of the stairs. With the cat firmly under his arm, he marched into the kitchen and found absolutely nothing. Growling and snarling, he climbed back into bed. I timidly ventured down to make some coffee.


Suddenly, the banging started again, right above the refrigerator. There on the shelf, was a pitcher with a lid that I like to use to make lemonade. Our little friend had managed to get trapped inside. Delighted, but afraid that I would drop the pitcher if I climbed up to get it, I went back up to the lion’s den and woke the sleeping beast again. My husband heroically set the mouse free in the backyard, as I told him that in the eyes of mice all around the world, he was a saint among men.  As for our intrepid little visitor-- No more chocolate and rice crackers for you, buddy, you’ll have to get used to eating nuts and berries again – that is, until you find your way to a garage door that “someone” might leave open.

7 comments:

Kate Rantilla said...

Ah yes, so true. We add chipmunks to the list here, mostly outside, for which I am grateful. Great post.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, Kate - ah yes, chipmunks and little red squirrels. I made the mistake of letting one move into the tack room one winter because she was so cute. What a mess - won't make that mistake again!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Better out than in. Those snack stashes in the stove can be flammable!

I relocated a cooperative rat snake to my tack room last summer et voila - no more scattered poo pellets, no more shredded cotton batting rodent nests. Circle of life and all... ;D

Oak in the Seed said...

It's another life, isn't it? And deserving of its chance at survival so why not in a nice, warm oven with rice crackers and CHOCOLATE for snacks? Sounds like it could become a children's story....

Victoria Cummings said...

I can testify that the snack stashes were flammable - but I am pleased that this story has a happy ending. I'm glad that Velcro is so inept. I tell him that all he has to do is scare them away.

billie hinton said...

Glad the culprit is out and hopefully in search of a less dangerous home! The stove sounds like a possible disaster in the making.

With six cats very adept at hunting we don't have any more mice - and thankfully they rarely bring them in - they usually make it to the back yard with their prey and it gets eaten by one or more of them!

Every year for the past few years we have a black snake in the feed room and between the cats patrolling the barn and the snake, we don't have mice in there either.

But your story reminds me of the children's book my daughter and I worked on for awhile - but never have finished - called The Mouse Who Came For Christmas. It came from a similar mousy tale. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad your little friend finally left peacefully. We get them every so often and it's not my favorite animal to be startled by. Now that we have a cat in the barn there are less mice but he also leaves them half eaten which is disgusting.