I have mice. I expect them out at the barn. Field mice with small pink ears. That’s why I keep my horse feed in metal garbage cans with tight-fitting metal lids. Since I had never lived in the country before we moved out here to raise horses, I was not aware of how little space a mouse requires to get into any container that is not metal and shut tight. When I had thirteen horses on the property (I was younger then) I used to stack the fifty pound feed sacks up in the far back of the feed room. Amazing how many pounds of rolled oats mice can steal. They also tend to spread around their leavings and made an incredible mess.
When we first moved out here, we also had rats in the lean to, the only shed we had to protect the horses in bad weather. Before we got our fancy new barn built. We got rid of the rats quickly, and after my two big king snakes took up residence in the new barn, we had very few mice as well. Never kill a king snake! They are the first line of defense against poisonous snakes and other unpleasant critters. I speak very politely to my two when I see them, which is seldom. They are private, but they are competent.
I do not, however, go so far as to invite them into the house. Not gonna happen. My two cats, Monti, the Burmese, and Midgie, the slightly deranged black cat, used to be good mousers. Cats get old just like people. Monti is seventeen; Midgie is twelve with a mental age of three. Still, Monti delivered a dead mouse to me this morning, bless him. But he can’t keep up with them, and I don’t think Midgie has a clue what a mouse is, much less that she’s supposed to kill it.
Which I just cannot do. I finally got a mousetrap, baited it with peanut butter and set it out. The mouse thoroughly enjoyed the peanut butter. He did not, however, spring the trap. I worried all night that he’d kill himself slowly and painfully. I have visions of a lonely wife and babies waiting for him. Isn’t that stupid?
So, abnegating my responsibility, I am bringing in professionals to get rid of the little darlings. Don’t want to know how or where they go, so long as it’s not in my house. I’m adding the destruction of any brown recluse or black widow spiders and every wasp I can find. I actually like the big black and white writing spiders—Charlotte’s Web—but not the poisonous ones.
The book I am about to turn in is about the wonderful people who work as animal rehabilitators. I have incredible respect for them and for the fish and game officers who try to keep the rest of us from getting lost, falling overboard, hunting out of season, fishing without licenses and keeping undersized fish—the truly stupid things that human beings do in the woods. It’s no wonder most wild animals are terrified of us. We are the nastiest predator out there.
Be kind to your game wardens. And the rehabilitators out there saving wildlife from our predations. And forgive me for getting rid of my mice.