Ode to a mouse
Before I get into the saga of our wee furry housemates, I have to tell you that Holly will be representing Firefly Rise Homestead at Landmade this Sunday (Feb 5th) at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto! Organized by the Upper Canada Fibreshed, this is an amazing event that brings together local fibre producers and urban crafters. Drop in and say hi! You’ll find her hanging out with the incomparable Beth from Stone Spindle Farm in Tamworth.
Now on to my tale of woe.
For some time now it’s been clear that we have some tiny four-footed interlopers in the house. I think the very first sign was when we found one of those take-away jam containers ripped open and all of the jam carefully extracted. But since then anytime we’ve been careless enough to leave consumables out the mice been only too pleased to help us tidy it away into their tiny tummies.
Once we realized that Franklin had moved in (all the mice in the house are named Franklin), we invested in a number of large Tupperware-type containers in which to put anything that we thought might tempt them. But there are times when they go after things that I wouldn’t have thought to hide, such as the other day when they got into the butter. They’d chewed through the foil in such a way as not to disturb the overall shape so I didn’t even notice until they’d nommed their way through at least a half a cup. (Can mice die of heart attacks?)
Needless to say, we can also hear them. Whoever came up with the phrase “quiet as a mouse” clearly did not live in an old farmhouse. Franklin may be little, but he stomps about like an itsy bitsy elephant. I can follow them room-to-room as they travel through the walls, scraping and thumping all the way. I hear them most often in the middle of the night when I’m trying to sleep. They’re driving me crazy.
They’re also wrecking stuff. I have a (not-yet-entirely-functional) treatment room in the house and in one of the drawers I had one of those foam stress balls, leftover from my days at LadyBug Massage in Cobourg. They ripped that baby to shreds. They also tore apart my eye pillow and some of those microwaveable heating wraps which are apparently full of tasty seed bits of some sort. I shudder to think what else they may be destroying that I’m not yet aware of.
Over the last months we’ve tried various things to try to rid ourselves of Franklin. Wanting to be as humane as possible, we started with the little electronic ultrasonic mouse repellents that supposedly emit a noise that is offensive to their widdle ears. Conveniently they also function as night lights. I’m pretty sure Franklin thought we were throwing him his own mousey dance party, because they had zero impact that we could detect.
Next we tried traps that were meant to trap the mice without murdering them. But the mice were not to be fooled.
Then we moved on to snap traps. Surely this was the tried and true method, no? But Franklin is deft enough to be able to lick every ounce of peanut butter without tripping the trigger.
We tried poison. We tried variations on the above. We considered getting a cat, but I’m terribly allergic. Our farm friends out in Lindsay have been on a similar quest for mouse-free living and adopted two outdoor cats, but between fearing for the birds that we’ve invited to the yard with various feeders and fearing that the cat would get squished on our busy road it just hasn’t seemed like a good option. We even considered getting a hairless cat, which are theoretically less sniffle-inducing, but our house is cold and I don’t think it’d be very happy here. (My mom’s solution to this conundrum: Knit it a little cat sweater. You never know. It could happen.)
Finally we tried something that was alluded to by a neighbour and echoed across the internet, as for example in this tutorial care of Gentleman Homestead. It’s basically a bucket with a wire strung across and, on the wire, is an aluminum can smeared with peanut butter.
I got crafty the other morning and put one of these together, sacrificing the last of the peanut butter to bait the trap. (Note to self: Buy more peanut butter.) The next morning I was livid. A goodly portion of the precious PB had been licked off the can without causing any mice to fall to their doom. Maybe it was true, as Gentleman Homestead reports, that mice can fall into the bucket and miraculously leap out again. So I added some water and antifreeze to the bottom of the bucket.
This morning, lo and behold, there are two floating Franklins. One is enormous. I’m betting he’s the one that ate all the butter.
Of course, being the tenderhearted wretch that I am, I wept over the mice that I had so cruelly killed. (Holly despairs of me ever being a proper farmer.) I also haven’t been able to bring myself to fish them out and dispose of their furry bodies. But I’m resolved to go home tonight, pour myself a whiskey and get the job done.