My elderly mother cannot tolerate rodents of any shape or form. This amazingly strong woman, who raised six children (in the country!), ran her own business, accumulated a closet full of ballroom dancing trophies, looks like she’s 70 instead of 89, still has her own teeth and can hear you talking about her just fine from across the room – will leap on a chair and scream bloody murder if she sees a mouse. Except she has an artificial hip, recently had foot surgery, and more recently abdominal surgery, so leaping is definitely out of the question.
So imagine my horror last week when, as my poor old mother was snoozing in the easy chair while I sat nearby at the computer – a deer mouse appeared from the baseboard heat piping and scampered behind her chair, ran along the wall, and ducked down the piping in the kitchen. Thankfully, Mom was asleep and missed the whole thing. Had she seen it, what followed would not have been pretty.
The occasional mouse in the house is one of the perks of living in the woods, without neighbors, without cats. Normally, the little fellows stay outside where they belong (except when they are planting sunflower seeds in the violets). Come winter, that scenario changes. The little boogers are more prone to finding their way inside. Mice are not stupid. Why freeze their little buns off outside, when access to the basement pretty much opens up the whole house to their nocturnal ramblings? Access only requires a dime-sized opening. In this house, only four years old but never really ‘sealed,’ that means where a pipe comes in or out of the basement, the mouse-door is open wide.
A thorough inspection of the kitchen revealed no droppings or signs of invasion, but I knew from growing up in the country that where there was one mouse, there would be more, and that once inside, they would have a free-for-all with my stuff. Not acceptable.
It’s a sad state of affairs today. When I was a kid, mice were part of country living. We didn’t get panicky about hanta virus and other diseases, we just got rid of the mice. Actually, we didn’t have that many that survived anyway, because we had cats. Today, in our disease-ridden messed up out-of-balance environment, a mouse in the house is unacceptable. While the chance that these rodents – mostly deer and white-footed mice – are carrying any type of deadly disease is rare, who wants them pilfering around in my stuff? Especially when they have several thousand acres of their natural habitat just outside my door?
So, after delivering Mom to my sister (she actually lives there, and was just visiting me), and placing all mouse-attracting foodstuffs in mouse-proof containers, off I go, in search of the perfect mouse trap.
I think the standard mouse-trap is horrific. Even more horrific, however, are poisons and those insanely inhumane ‘glue traps’ that I saw in the stores. What idiot thought of those? And what idiots OK’d them for public use? Whoever it was should be covered with glue and hung out to dry. No, really.
I opted for a $12 live trap that holds up to 10 mice. Yeesh. It’s a no-contact kind of thing made of plastic. The little devils go in and a trap door drops them into a holding tray. They stay there until I drive them to Kansas and slide the tray cover aside, allowing them to scamper out and go bother somebody else. It worked beautifully for the two mice I caught. Last night, no visitors. Invasion appears under control, for the moment.
I’m hoping the two little cuties I released deep in the woods will spread the word of the horrible abductions that take place in that house, and warn their friends to stay outside. Stranger things have happened, I’m sure.