Friday, May 21, 2010

Mouse Patrol

Our home is a clapboard structure close to the village street that began its life 160 years ago in the traditional colonial cape style. Center entry. Living salon on the right. Dining room to the left. An attached barn housed the kitchen, the double seater and the workshop. A delicate curved staircase was crafted by out of work ship carpenters when the tall ship building business that fueled the mid-19th century economy in my town was shrinking. It winds to the second floor bedrooms.

Over the past century and a half it has morphed, expanding as new wings have been added and porches winterized. Thirteen spaces on the teeniest footprint. You already know that!

Needless to say, the foundation materials vary dramatically. Granite. Brick. Cinder block. Interconnected in a meandering jerry-rigged improvised construction. Net result? A porous base. Perfect for tunnelling by rodents of all types. Their very own outward bound obstacle course.

The winters here on the coast of Maine are freezing. But you know that, too.

The mice ... and the chipmunks ... and the voles are in survivor mode when the mercury dips below 32 degrees. They join forces and dig tunnels worthy of the Viet Cong. Leading from the crumbling paths and flower beds that are way to close. Making their way into the warmth of my expansive, multi-level basement to raise their furry families in abundant nooks and crannies.

So ... twice a year, spring and fall, I bring in the troops. Exterminators armed with bait smelling of peanut butter and cheese in triangular plastic cases that are placed strategically on the ledges and sills throughout my cellar. The same pest control moguls that educate their sons and daughters in the finest schools in the land. And jaunt around town on the weekends in BMWs and Audis.

You know the reason. Yep. They are on retainer to most of the owners of antique and rural homes in the entire county. Lucky sots.

But, hey, when it is o'dark thirty and Bailey stares at the wall listening to scratching noises of nesting vermin the exorbitant cost is justified. What's a home owner to do?

Kudos to the eradicator of these tiny beasts ... and for trapping the three, count 'em three, red squirrels cohabitating with a grey field mouse in my barn garage!


  1. I'm so terrified of you can imagine my shock and discomfort when my husband allowed my 13-year-old stepdaughter to get a pet albino mouse named Casper. Sigh.

    Happy weekend!

  2. Ooooo--pesky little theifs! We bought our 120 yr old money pit last summer and while the seven bedrooms are going to be smashing libraries and studies and a game room and so took half a dozen traps and TWO containers of peanut butter to end the nights of pitter patter beneath the floors....

    Rock on squirrl hunter!

  3. Howdy - re: travel to Zimbabwe/Victoria Falls:

    We stayed at the Victoria Falls Hotel. It was lovely. Very clean, the food was delicious.

    We traveled with Abercrombie and Kent, and I can't recommend them highly enough - they take care of EVERYTHING so you don't have to worry about a thing. Our physical tour guide in Botswana and Zimbabwe, through Abercrombie and Kent, was a man named Gavin Ford. He was FANTASTIC. FANTASTIC. He's amazing.

  4. I thought ants and spiders were bad enough. I'd faint away if I saw a mouse.

  5. Me on the other hand... we don't have mice often... three times that I know of, and two were probably the same darned mouse... I make my husband catch them and put them back ourside where they belong--they are just too darned cute for anything harsher... I suppose I'd feel differently if they were in abundance, but our animals seem to keep any other temptation in check. We do have chimpunks in the garage, but it's not connected to the house, so I'm okay with that...