Aventures with.. Mice

Posted on: March 14, 2010

by Deborah in the UP

If you live in the woods, you’re gonna have mice. Fortunately, having two cats kept that problem mostly contained .. But there were a few incidents….

We had to set mouse traps that first summer. Mice were apparently accustomed to having the house to themselves and weren’t quite ready to give up their luxurious accommodations. The cats weren’t use to having such lively play things, and quite frankly, I don’t think they understood their job in this matter. So, mouse traps it was. I would make sure the traps were set under the wicker plant stand, where the cats couldn’t get to the cheese and get their noses whapped. During the night we regularly heard a trap go off, but you can imagine our surprise one morning to see two mice caught in the same trap! It didn’t take long for the cats to come around to cooperating and soon the indoor mouse problem was solved.

But not the outside one.

Pete and I loved to fish and looked forward to getting out on the inland lake in the nearest small town. The boat, like all of our equipment, was stored in our large barn over the winter, protected from the elements of the weather, but not from the numerous, tiny rodents. Like most men, Pete didn’t take suggestions very well, especially when it came to “his” domains, and he didn‘t take suggestions from me at all. So while we were launching the boat for the first time that season, and I thought it was a good idea to start the motor up before we left the dock, it was met with a “it’s fine”. We were drifting about 50 yards from shore, and he was having trouble getting the motor started. But start it did and we sputtered even further from shore. Then the engine died. As he took the cover off the motor, a mouse jumped out and into the water, dogpaddling for shore! The mouse startled Pete so, that he lurched backward, wrenching his bad back. And dropping the engine cover into the water. I grabbed the fishing net and rescue the cover. As Pete pulled bits and pieces of mouse nest out, dropping it into the water, he could feel his back seizing up. Getting the engine going again was much easier, and we headed back for shore.

Pete had taught me well on how to be a good first mate. He had owned a much larger boat before, and I did my share of the work launching and retrieving, so I knew well what needed to be done. When he pulled along side of the dock, I got out and secured the boat so he could get out, slowly. He gingerly made his way to the truck in the parking lot, brought it around and backed it into ramp that descended into the water. At this point, normally it would be him that hooked the boat and winched it in, but he couldn’t move. After I centered the boat, pulling it 90% of the way onto the trailer, I then took over his portion of the work, hooking and winching. He pulled the boat out of the water, and I finished securing the straps for the ride back home.

(Note: I still don’t fully understand why he was angry with me over this. I certainly didn’t invite the mouse to build a nest in the engine, though I was right about starting up before we left the dock. Pete it seemed, couldn’t be wrong about anything. Ever. Add to it, that I did his share of the work during the retrieval, and I did it flawlessly, irritated him for some reason.) I think that was the last time we went fishing together.

The mice didn’t limit their explorations of our equipment to the boat engine. The first several years, we would park the truck in the barn for the winter, and leave the jeep at the end of the road. The road from the house to the main road was 1.2 miles and we didn’t plow it. Come spring melt down, we were always anxious to be able to drive the jeep in to the house. It was quite the event when we could. There would get to be a day, when there were enough open spots to make snowmobiling difficult, and that’s when the truck came out of the barn. With the ups and downs and curves of the road, there could be a deep drift right next to open gravel. We would drive the 4WD truck thru these drifts, exposing the ground underneath, hastening the melting.

One particular spot was always deep snow, and invariably the truck would get stuck. It was my job to shovel what I could, then push while he drove. On one such occasion, the truck stalled. After much difficulty, it started up, and out the tailpipe shot perhaps a cup of …burnt corn! Those little rodents at work again.

3 thoughts on “Aventures with.. Mice

  1. thanks for the comments, Anna! My current kitty has been trying to bring the little beasties INTO the house.. I think he wants his own pet..lol.. Deborah

  2. Oh, and there was a trap in the barn – one of those where you put bait in it and they go in and can’t get out? We’d just inherited it (empty, cleaned) from FIL. Then there was this horrible smell. I told Brian (hub) that something died in the barn and was rotting. He agreed, but couldn’t find whatever it was. Then, he was moving stuff around, and there were NINE dead mice in that thing – with no bait!

    We’ve had the mouse-in-the-boat-motor deal, too. Fun stuff, that, eh?

  3. This year there has been a real abundance of mice here, too. We had a trap set under the sink – they come up from the basement that way – and it was snapping three times a day! We ended up putting ANOTHER trap under there. It’s never been that bad before.

    For Sukkot we all (seven of us) sleep under a canopy in the living room – my hub on the sofa, me on the loveseat, and the kids on their mattresses on the floor. I swear, there was a mouse SNORING in the loveseat. I only heard it when my head was on the armrest!

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