RURALITY/BLOGS

By Eric Poor

RURALITY

We had a bit of a melee in the living room of the poorhouse the other night when our cat, Dot, discovered a mouse in the house. When the hubbub was done the mouse had escaped and Dor looked confused by the event, unsure what to do about the interesting little intruder she could have easily caught if she’d had a mind to.

Dot, an arthritic teenager, isn’t much of a mouser. The only rodent I ever saw her catch was the live mouse she once carried into the house and released, only to watch it scurry to safety under the couch.

This is a good year to have a cat that’s a real mouser. There’s no shortage of mice, the result of an easy winter last year and back-to-back abundant acorn crops – all the right conditions for a rodent population explosion. My mousetraps are full on a daily basis lately.

I saw this coming. I was out in the woods in the fall deer hunting, sitting in a favorite spot next to a remote stone wall waiting for a buck to come along. To pass the time I found myself watching multiple mice running from nook to cranny and back again in that rock wall. After a couple days of this the mice started getting comfortable with my presence. Maybe they thought I was just too big a predator to bother with such small prey. They became downright bold.

The little guys got closer and closer. Eventually I looked down to find one standing with its front feet on the toe of my boot, looking up at me like some cute little Disney character.

They’re not so cute when they get into the house, something they tend to do when the weather gets cold. Because they’re shy you might not realize they’re there at first – until you find their spoor – little mouse turds. Yuck! Time to bait up those traps with peanut butter.

A word of warning here – be careful where you place your traps. Back when I built my home the mice moved in before we did. Things were still half finished, including the kitchen, which didn’t have much in the way of cabinets. We addressed that problem by temporarily storing pots and pans in the oven of the antique Glenwood range where the door was removed for repairs.

One day we found evidence of a mouse in there. I set a trap.

Which went off at about 2 a.m. BANG, CLANG.

Unfortunately this was not an instant kill. The mouse, now firmly attached to a mousetrap, began flipping around CLANG BANG CLANG in the metal oven full of pots and pans BANG CLANG BANG. We lay in our warm bed waiting for the mayhem to stop BANG CLANG CLANG. The noise would stop any moment now BANG CLANG.

And eventually it did and we fell back asleep.

CLANG BANG CLANG.