No more setting springs and touching the dead mice.
I opened the seldom used crawl space to get something and was greeted by a little mouse that didn't even bother to scurry, but instead sat there eyeballing me as though I were intruding. I did what any sensible person would do-shut the door, and insisted my spouse clean it up. Hey look, I already have a compromised immune system-I'm not going to go courting Hanta Virus.
When my husband went in, to begin cleaning up the terrific mess (I'll spare you the details, this being a cooking blog and such) there were two little mice giving him the evil eye for disturbing them.
They'd managed to get into what we thought was the tightly sealed emergency kit. In what I'm sure must have been a form of mouse-hell, I could see where they'd been gnawing on the jar of peanut butter, but were unable to nibble completely through the plastic. They had, however, gotten into about a dozen meal-replacement bars which judging from the mess, must have had an interesting effect on their little mousy intestines. Fibre, you know.
(As I write, another trap just went off)
This is a yearly occurrence on the farm, and no matter how many traps we set, year after year they find some lovely, out of the way place to wreak havoc. One year my husband reached for a coffee mug from the tree-stand on our counter only to see a little pink nose and whiskers peeking out.
Lest you get the idea we're unclean people, I should point out that once the corn comes down, and the weather turns cold, the field mice will take up residence wherever they can. We are aggressive in our baiting, but every year they find a way to outsmart us in at least one major way. In the kitchen, I'm careful to keep things in glass jars, large plastic containers and the like. For whatever reason, I blanked-out the emergency kit and well, who could have suspected mice would like protien bars?
As much as I'd like to set "humane" traps and let the mice loose, it would be a pointless exercise here-there's just too many of them. I have to draw the line at health concerns, and the only way to keep ourselves healthy and free of mice droppings is to kill the mice. I know this is going to be terribly upsetting for some readers.
You're probably wondering why we just don't get a cat. I'm terribly allergic. While I'd be interested in one of the non-allergic breeds like a Siberian, my spouse is dead set against the idea, though he did have a cat in college that he and the roommates named "pissmop." Apparently, it was a great source of amusement when his grandmother visited and would stand on the porch yelling "Here, Pissmop. Here Kitty." Anyway, he now claims to hate cats.
We do have stray cats that roam the farm, but they're too busy foraging for scraps in the garbage pit to be bothered killing mice. The year that one had her litter in our mudroom, I put out bowls of milk for them-but hell, have you seen dairy prices lately? It's true that when I was feeding the cats, the mouse population was thinned considerably, but I just don't like the idea of wild cats, probably sick with distemper, roaming about. Just recently out in North Platte, a group of feral cats got into a house (I'm not making this up) and attacked the family. The sheriff had to come out and shoot them (the cats, not the residents) . You see, traps really are so much simpler.
Anyway, I ought to begin keeping a tally. I can count six so far. I'll keep you updated, because I know that nothing whets the appetite of cooking blog readers like descriptions of mice on high fibre diets.
Any great mouse-hunters out there have tips they'd like to share?