Sunday, October 17, 2010

This Is War


I have a heart. I do. And it’s generally soft where small creatures are concerned. Except now, when with the whole outdoors to romp in, the meadow mice decide my house would make a wonderful “their” house and move in. I discovered droppings in my utensil drawer one morning when I reached for a can opener. Disgust is a mild word. I filled the sink with boiling hot water and an anti-bacterial cleanser. I put on a pair of rubber gloves and dropped the utensils into the foamy water. I left them there all day, then drained the water and rinsed everything in more boiling water. They gleamed and twinkled from the large bowl on the counter but I couldn’t help washing each one again before I used it.

I baited the small Have-A-Heart trap, set it in the drawer, admonished the cat to start earning his keep, and went off to work. The day netted nary a mouse. But much later, when the cottage was dark and I was deep in a dream about sea creatures about to devour me, I heard an unfamiliar noise. I sat up, my soft heart pounding, and listened closely. What in the world…?

Oh. I’d caught a mouse, that’s what.

Sure enough, in the morning there was a wee furry creature in the trap, its eyes bulging, its feet scrabbling on the slippery plastic floor. I carried it gingerly across the street and along the road toward the pond, scolding the whole way. I tipped the trap sideways, the door swung open, and the mouse fled into the undergrowth.

Where there’s one mouse there’s more so I baited the trap again that night, repeated the morning release and by the third morning and the third mouse, began to wonder if it wasn’t the SAME mouse. The next day I began the Mouse Deportation Program, driving each mouse ever longer distances in ever more circuitous directions until one morning, there was no mouse. Nor the next. I have been mouse free for three days now. I have grown used to reaching toward the bowl for utensils.

Still, this is war. Perhaps I will bait the trap one more time…

photo credit: www.coolnotions.com

14 comments:

Marion said...

Oh, I remember having field mice in the house. I don't believe they had those have a heart traps then or else I would have used it. I had to wake to the snap of the mouse trap for a week and a half before they were all gone. I felt like a murderer!

But it was better than a bunch of mice eating my grains!!

Brian Miller said...

hehe...the mouse deportation program..good job sticking with it....here is to hoping you are done...

Paul said...

Watch out, Pauline – if members of the Border Patrol read your post they may expect you to start doing the same with Mexicans.

They seem to figure that just like field mice, Mexicans become so disoriented and distracted when driven a long distance that they forget to come back – or heck, that even a wall can befuddle them.

brianhayes said...

Heck. If I show up in your utensil drawer, will you drive me out to the pond and the woods for my vacation too? Lucky mouses. Club Mouse Travel Bureau without a Homeland Security pat down. I'm jealous.

Jo said...

What are you using as bait? It sounds like the mice are running off into the fields telling their friends and family, "Hey, there's great grub at Pauline's place ... AND she even gives us a ride home afterwards..."

Tabor said...

I live in the woods and so every winter the field mice come inside to get warm in the basement by our water heater. We have to keep the bird seed stored in plastic containers. I also have other food on shelves down there. Unfortunately we do not have a heart and send them to their maker.

Tabor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pauline said...

Marion - they have acres of land to forage. I don't mind them out there.

Brian M - I've invited the neighbor's cats inside as well ;)

Paul - I hadn't thought about a wall... nor had it occurred to me that Border Control reads my blog - eek!

Brian H - your comment made me guffaw. If you show up in my utensil drawer, I'll take you anywhere you'd like (provided you don't leave any telltale "droppings").

Jo - I use peanut butter. As it turned out, it was the same mouse. Day 5 mouse free and counting (said with fingers crossed).

Tabor - the snap of those spring mouse traps gives me the shudders as does emptying them!

Hilary said...

I have so far been very lucky with mice. They seem to arrive alone and are very easy to remove. My cats tend to alert me and I've even picked one up in my hands and put it outside, only later thinking about that it could have given me a nasty bite. The other handful (ha) of times, I've used live traps and once, a kitchen towel which I then discarded. I'm glad you appear to be mouse-free now. Thank you, thank you for caring enough to use live traps.

Reya Mellicker said...

I use the old fashioned traps that snap their necks. Is that cruel? I feel it's me or the mouse, and that the war cannot be won by deporting them.

They are cute, so it's kind of awful.

Worse are the glue traps. Talk about NOT humanitarian. Yikes.

Reya Mellicker said...

Also meant to say: antibacterial soap helps strengthen the bacteria it doesn't kill by making it resistant to antibiotics. Plain old soap and hot water will remove anything gross from your utensils.

May you prevail in the war!!

Barbara said...

It doesn't take many mice to generate a lot of poop. I always joked that the little mice we caught in out Have-a-Heart traps made it back to the house before we did. Even I, champion animal lover, have resorted to killing them when the poop reappears. It seems to work and it is usually just one or two.

Pauline said...

Hilary - I can't bear to hear that snap!

Reya - you're right about the antibacterial soap so I'm back to regular suds. Thanks for the tip.

Barbara - I really think I was catching the same mouse over and over.

Ruth said...

I didn't know about Have-A-Heart traps, thank you. Our barn cat does pretty well outside, but indoors we have an occasional visitor, mostly in the basement.

I like your humane approach very much, even if your heart is at war. ;-)