Living in the country is not all freshly picked roses and sipping lemonade on ivy-covered porches. It can be chopping kindling every morning and battling the deer and raccoons for your freshly grown fruit and vegetables all summer. It involves battling the wrath of storms, with trees falling all over your hydro lines and enduring long power outages. But the biggest battle I have ever had was with—
I have lived in many different properties on a small gulf island, and some houses have been better than others when it comes to keeping out rodents. But lets’ face it. Wherever there are humans, with warmth and food scraps there will be mice.
I remember fondly a place that we lived up on five acres. It was a cute little log cabin surrounded by ferns, apple, cherry and plum trees, and a big huge network of mice families. In fact, sometimes I felt that I was living in their house and not the other way round. I tried all of the traditional ways to get rid of mice. We had a cat. I went round and stuffed all the holes with steel wool. I tried to leave the doors closed at all times and had a cover on my compost bin. I eventually set traps for them and even this did not keep them from coming. I remember one day I had bought a flat of peaches because they were in season. I set the cardboard box out in the middle of the kitchen table and in the morning, each peach had one tiny bite out of it.
I thought I could outsmart them. When I made bread I thought, well, I’ll just leave this nice loaf in the oven and in the morning I’m sure it will be safe for our breakfast. Well, the next morning, I opened the door and there, sitting on the top of my fresh baked bread was a little mouse having his own breakfast. He looked up mid-munch and I’m sure he waved at me and said,” Hey! This batch turned out great! Thanks.”
At night I could hear little mice fights- there were so many of them. I had had enough. I went to the local hardware store and said, give me poison and lots of it. I set it out under the sink and was shocked when it was empty within the hour. I set out more. Empty again. This happened too many times.
I couldn’t believe how much poison they ate. Now here is the horror story part of this tale. It was summertime. A few days later, I noticed flies coming out from behind the stove. My poor husband was asked to investigate. We pulled the stove out and he pried open the wall. There was a whole panel of the wall filled up with dead mice! It was the stuff that Amityville horror movies were based on, but worse.
This seemed to keep them at bay for awhile. But soon the next generation of mice descended upon the cabin with a new vengeance. They were mad about the murder of their cousins and grandmothers and grandfathers I suppose, in the great rat poison extermination of 2003.
One day I opened up the compost bin and sitting at the bottom of it was a tiny cold and shivering mouse. He looked up at me with his sad little eyes, and I couldn’t take it. I carried that bucket as far away as I could manage and let him loose in the forest, even though I knew he would be back, scratching in the walls, or chewing on my earplugs under my bed. Ah well. Times are tough for all of us. That was his lucky day. But tomorrow may not bode so well for him if I don’t feel infused with the milk of human kindness.