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.