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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Season of the Rodent

Mouse rodent cute, animals.

I had a dream about rats the other night. It’s no wonder. Rodents seem to be popping up all over the place these days. First, at the cottage. My husband bought us a lot on Bass Lake and he is building a cottage there. He uses an old trailer on the lot for shelter from the elements. He eats his lunch and waits out the rain on the screened porch. It’s old and worn out but it’s quaint.  I tried to convert that old trailer into a summer cabin earlier this year. The resident mice were against it.
I did my best to make the place hospitable. I swept and cleaned the cracked linoleum floor. I washed and disinfected inside all of the cupboards, closets and cabinets. I put fragrant fabric sheets inside all of the drawers to deter mice building nests within. I cleaned windows, stocked the kitchen with camping dishes, pots and pans and utensils, and I strung up my porch lights.
We stayed one night. It was pleasant enough, and there is nothing like waking up on the lake, to sip your coffee on the porch, listening to the birds. But one night was enough, because the mice were only mildly put out by my fervent sanitizing activities. They returned, full force, and they brought their friends.
“I don’t know why you bother cleaning,” my husband remarked as I once again emptied the cupboards and scoured the shelves. “The mice will just come back when we leave Sunday afternoon.” I looked at the mouse droppings in the towel closet and realized he was right.
I have only made it back to the lake for short visits since then. The Farmer is there nearly every second day, working away on his cottage. He sweeps out the trailer and eats his lunch on the porch. I think the dog sneaks up onto the bed because no one is watching him. I shudder to think what is happening in the cupboards.
“I opened the cupboard to get the tin of soup crackers and the mouse was in there,” my husband reported one day.
“What did you do?” I asked.
“I asked him to pass me the saltines,” he laughed.
I told him to make sure he builds that cottage in a way that is decidedly rodent-proof.
Back at home on the farm, I can hear something in the sloped ceiling right above my pillow. I may not have bats in my belfry but I do have squirrels in my attic. The Farmer emptied my closet, climbed up into the attic and set live traps for the little creatures, who are obviously busy preparing for a long winter. I can see them running across the yard, huge beechnuts in their mouths. We have dozens of nut trees on this farm, so they won’t go hungry. But it would be really nice if they would store their nuts in hollow trees like they are supposed to – not my house.
The squirrels are able to take the food that my husband so generously leaves for them, without tripping the traps.
And now there are mice under my kitchen sink. I came down to the kitchen at 2am and there were my cats, lined up in front of the sink, staring at the cupboard door. When I opened it, Sammy darted in and grabbed something. He popped back out and ran past me toward the basement. A long gray tail was dangling from his mouth. I closed the cupboard door, and heard a ‘snap’. The next morning I told my husband he had a mess to clean up under the kitchen sink.
“Sammy caught one and you caught another,” I reported. But when the Farmer opened the cupboard he saw that the trap was empty. Either the rodents are getting smarter or the traps are getting worse.
This evening we were watching Netflix when I noticed a puddle forming outside the dishwasher. We turned the machine off and emptied the cabinet under the sink, again. We found the source of the water. A mouse had nibbled his way through the hose that feeds the water from the sink to the dishwasher. Tonight we won’t put the cats to bed in the basement. They have been given strict instructions to eradicate the house of rodents. I’m not kidding. This means war.
My daughter is storing her sports car in our barn for the winter, and I was worried about rodents getting inside the vehicle and nesting in her leather upholstery. I don’t know what I was worried about. Clearly there are no more mice in the barn.
They’re all in my house.


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