Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

We Caught a Mouse

the-fruits-of-the-hedge-brambly-hedge

Jill Barklem’s The Fruits of the Hedge. Brambley Hedge is an all-time favourite of mine. Perhaps this explains why I am OK with mice in the house? Source

In most households, the first thing one might hear upon rising in the morning is, “How did you sleep?” or “Coffee’s ready.”

In ours, it’s “We caught a mouse.” Or on good days, “No mice this morning.”

The first item in Reiner’s daily ritual is checking the trapline. He has snares in the drop ceiling of the basement, in the pantry, and under the kitchen stove.

I am not troubled by mice in the house. It’s part of sharing the world with other creatures, like blackflies or raccoons. Sure, pests can be bothersome, and in some cases, they can cause considerable damage. So far, though, we are lucky – the system of traps is working. If the mice avoid capture and they venture further into the house, then one of our four cats will deal with the intruder. (Oscar is a GREAT mouser.)

For Reiner it is a challenge. His mission? A mouse-free house. So far, he is losing the battle.

For the last four years, hubby has filled countless openings where the vinyl siding connects to the house frame. He has caulked gaps at the chimney, stuffing them with steel wool or Styrofoam. He’s been on the roof, and under the floor joists.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard him say, “There. That should do it. I cannot find any more holes.”

As I say, I don’t mind mice in the house. I did mind when he coated the lower portion of the exterior foundation with used motor oil. He figured the smell would deter the creatures. The oil left an ugly stain on the wall. Fortunately, it faded after a couple of years.

Every day, he logs the catch. He even has spreadsheets to tally the kill. How else can one compare last September to this? In case you are wondering – 15 mice in 2019 vs. 2020’s whopping 29. Basically, a 100% increase.

It’s a hobby, I guess. A personal mission, one that he knows is futile, yet he refuses to admit it.

Besides, the crows enjoy the free meals that they find on the front lawn. The cats are entertained, and so am I, to tell you the truth.

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This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, If you would like to join in on the fun, you can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.

Categories: Husband

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38 replies

  1. Maggie–this is so funny because it hits close to home. You and I both have cats. Ever since Hurricane Sally when we closed the two outdoor cats in our garage for safe-keeping, they have discovered they have a little cat apartment. Husband is OK with it, I am relieved, and the cats love it. I have two old chairs out there for them (two cats, two chairs, of course) that they have scratched the heck out of, and all is well. Until I see White Paws having the time of his life while tossing his new ‘toy’ in the air. Yup. A dead mouse. He and the other cat played, then got bored and left it. A few days later the garage smelled awful. Husband found the dead mouse–the culprit. Now, if White Paws brings a new ‘toy’ in the garage, I let him have his fun then let husband know so he can toss it. All is well at my place. 😀

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  2. Not a fan of mice. However unlike your husband I don’t think I’d keep a log of how many I’ve dispatched to another realm. Not saying that’s odd, just unique.

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  3. Firstly, 😱😱😱Secondly, your husband must surely realize that animals with a stronghold, when faced with extinction, will propagate more robustly to ensure the survival of their species. Look at deer. Hunters have caused the over population which drives them into the world of humans encroaching on their hunting areas which ‘demands’ more hunting to thin them out. Anyhoo…we had two cats when we lived in a more rural setting. While mice where not a big issue, they often left ‘prizes’ for me on the bricks between my door and the laundry room. Many a morning I sleepily made my way tot he washer at 6 am and was horrified to step on something cold and wet-and dead-more often than not a lizard. 😞My friends. Sometimes it was a bird for which I scolded them terribly. Once I helped a mother squirrel save her baby from our Sylvetser. She chased him around the carport screeching until he dropped the baby and backed away. I feared the worst. But Mommy went over and gave squirrelly resuscitation until it moved then picked it up in her mouth and took it to tree where she continued her reviving technique. Within moments the baby scurried up the tree with Mom. Whew.

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  4. Yikes, Maggie, you and your hubby have way too many mice to deal with. They must really like your house or they have built a secret underground tunnel and plan to take over as soon as they figure out what to do with those darn cats.

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  5. Reiner reminds me of “Walter Mitty.” I can’t recall if you’ve published two books by now, but your next (with a name change!) should be about Reiner!

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  6. Maggie, such a good attitude toward the mice in your house. I wouldn’t have that. Dealing with them outside, and other crawling creatures is enough. I have dogs who look the other way or just bark at critters. I think a book about hubby would be great. A picture book plugging holes, the log book, etc.
    🤣 Christine

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  7. I have now realized that Boodie is also an excellent mouser, like Oscar. However, no mouse ever comes of its own volition into the unit: it’s Boodie who enters clutching a teeny one in his jaws. He then drops it in the bathroom and proceeds to torture it to death. I CAN’T BEAR IT !!
    I shall have to move to somewhere where he must become an indoor cat: I have a place in mind.

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  8. I’m with Reiner. I’d be just as tenacious about trying to block all their entries. Who of us likes to admit we are not smarter than a rodent?! It’s personal by gum!

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  9. We don’t have a cat, but when we did, he would only kill outdoor mice – if they were in the house he figured they were my welcome guests!
    We remodeled, including the exterior, four years ago and thought we might have finally sealed them out, but no. I hear them running in the walls and ceiling all the time. Unfortunately, the house was constructed so poorly originally, that they fall down into walls they can’t escape from and die. I heard one of these trapped mice and actually convinced hubby to tear out a closet wall. We released one live mouse (which promptly ran upstairs instead of outside as we’d planned) and scooped out literally hundreds of carcasses. After we finished fixing the hole and replacing the wall, we realized they just had a way to get to a new “trap wall.” I wish we could find where they’re getting in, but your tale reminds me of the futility of that exercise.

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  10. Mice are cute, but they can be a problem in a house for sure. As for your husband keeping track that’s funny…I have a friend whose first apartment was plagued with mice. Whenever he killed on, he put the carcass outside of his door, “as a warning to the other mice.” I always wondered what his neighbors thought!

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    • Getting the mice to the crows’ feeding station is sometimes a two-stage process because it’s often dark. First they are tossed just outside the door, and then later, relocated to the patch of lawn. The other day, when he caught three (!!!), it was dark. Only after we saw the puzzled look on the delivery guy’s face did he realize he had forgotten step two. “Sorry about the carnage,” hubby said.

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  11. I’m pretty sure we always have mice when it’s cold. For a while. There’s a lot of undeveloped land out back (for a city). The cats and the dog kill the mice. If we do not get to the mouse before the dog, the dog will eat the mouse. Dog can smell them before we hear or see them. When the cats see the dog hovering, they hover too, and they pounce and play. So yeah, we get mice. For a while. 😉

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  12. We have had mice, and I have plugged and plugged and plugged every hole and blocked every path. We still occasionally hear one in the attic. Last year, one made it out long enough for MuMu to snag it. She was so happy. For an inside cat to catch a mouse, it was her best day ever.

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  13. We had a mouse in the house once… I think. There was evidence, but we never found it. I haven’t seen any sign of it for over a year so he/she must have decided our food was pretty boring and left.

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  14. When I was a kid my grandmother often caught mice in her house, and that was the last I’ve heard of that issue outside of cartoons. Roof rats are another issue. We’ve had them living in our attics in both California and Arizona.

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  15. Mice are cute but they reproduce like rabbits and boy do they make a mess! The rodents I find the most icky are the gophers! Ugh. Ugly. Love that artist.

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    • AND hubby is apparently sensitive, if not allergic to mouse pee.

      I’ve always been drawn to Jill Barklem’s work. I love the detail. But I’ve never been able to remember the name of the series of artwork. So this time around, as I Googled for “mouse/detail/greeting card” I was saddened to learn that Jill Barklem died in 2017. She was only 66.

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