This is a post script to Mouse Traps Gone Missing because I am officially labeling this the ‘Winter of Mice’. Rather like a rodent El Nino, although one can probably say that about most winters in the country.
We live in a house that is warmer on the inside than the outside, at least as old farm houses go. Mice like to be warm, so they see nothing wrong in setting up residence with us, despite the fact we have a killer cat. Oh, yeah, that’s right, Bubba brings them in new friends from time to time in his catch-and-release program!
Mice in the pantry are ‘de rigeur’, I suppose, since that is where the food is. Mice in the kitchen cabinets, wherein reside all the mixing bowls, serving plates, pots and pans, push the farmer’s wife to her limits since she has already shared her chocolate chips, her noodles, and her beans. The biggest problem with mice, as she sees it, is that they can’t seem to walk anywhere without pooping and peeing. It’s downright disgusting and means that anything pulled from under the cabinets always gets washed anew, just in case.
Since all my mousetraps started disappearing this winter, I decided to buy new, shiny traps with fake cheese trip plates, primarily, because my jar marked ‘mouse peanut butter’ was getting low. I wasn’t sure whether a mouse would really be fooled by plastic cheese, but the traps seemed plentiful (and colorful) at the hardware store. Abandoning the tried and true, I was enticed by Modern and Efficient.
Here’s the thing. I put out my new traps and Bam! I caught a mouse. I did it again and caught a second. The farmer’s wife was on a winning streak. Then the streak went totally cold. I changed the location of my traps. I left enticing crumbs around them. I cleared paths through the crockery for easy mouse access. I checked my traps daily. Nothing.
It was at this point that the farmer made a comment that (almost) offended his wife. He said with a slight chuckle, “The mice are laughing at you!”
“What? Laughing? No, I figure they have abandoned the house for happier lodging at the barn.”
“Well, yes, I am still seeing mice poop in the bowls and the cat’s food is disappearing at an alarming rate. But, these traps worked so well before!” She sighs.
Okay, so maybe I had caught the only two mice in the house to win the Darwin award. Looking back at my almost empty peanut butter jar, I scooped out a dob and spread it on top of the fake cheese tab. My traps were once again placed strategically: amongst the mixing bowls, in the pantry, in the food cupboard, next to the cat bowl (this last one made me nervous because who knows if cats like peanut butter?).
The next morning I was four for four. The following day was the same. Apparently, the mice had been laughing at me!
There have been days now with no bodies to dispose of which is just fine with me. There are also no pots and bowls to pre-wash, although I check every time and wash them just to be safe. It’s spring so I expect the Darwin awards to kick in with the next batch of newbie mice.
Which goes back to my theory about “super mice”. I guess I am partly responsible for creating them as we winnow out the weak and dull-witted. For now the farmer’s wife if having the last laugh. The mice should know she also has a carving knife.
Photo: mouse trap teased with peanut butter
All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2011 Scottie Jones
Old farm houses like ours have resident mouse populations. It just comes with the territory. It’s probably true that their claim to the property goes back farther than ours in terms of genealogy. So, does this make them super mice or something? I ask this because my mouse traps have been disappearing at an alarming rate. I set them at night and they are gone by morning. Is this some sort of mouse game to drive the farmer’s wife crazy so she cuts off their tails with a carving knife? I know the song.
As any good farm wife will tell you, mouse traps are a must in a house like this. Returning to the store on a regular basis to replace them is ridiculous. I am now beginning to understand why the former owner always had her traps tied with pink string to a post or a hook. She must have had the same problem with these super mice and had no interest in driving to town every time she lost a trap.
I suspect, in the pantry, there is a larger rodent at play. The hole in the floor looks big enough for a rat. I shudder to think what that rat is finding so tasty in a pantry that is filled mostly with canning jars and wine bottles. I know from trying to catch the thieves that a rat won’t fall for a rat trap once a buddy has been caught, so I am surprised it would fall for a mouse trap. Unless it is careless with a tail or something.
Every now and again, I will find a sprung trap flung far from where I set it. Sometimes there is something in it and other times not. I debate from time to time whether I am being totally inhumane with these traps, but poison seems worse and too dangerous for our other animals. Glue traps just seem cruel. Spring traps when they catch the neck are fast. What to do when it’s just a leg that has been caught? I let the animal go because it wasn’t its time to die.
Did I mention we have not one but two cats that are supposed to keep the mouse population in order? Bezel is retired, but Bubba is a killer when he isn’t playing catch and release in the house. That would be, catch the mouse outside and release it inside. When he’s focused, though, there are no second chances. Maybe he could focus a bit more on the trap thieves so I don’t have to go back to the store.
Photo: cat toy in the trap (didn’t think a dead mouse was a good idea)
All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2011 Scottie Jones