“Occasionally, a few mice” is what the former owner wrote on the disclosure forms when we were buying this house.
He was right, except for the “occasional” part.
And the “few” part.
Sometimes, I’m not sure what is louder, the braying or the squeaking.
When I was married, my husband would set out old-fashioned snap traps and dispose of the brittle remains, something I cannot bring myself to do.
So later, a friend gave me a Tin Cat, a wonderfully humane device. It’s a tin box with spring doors. The mice go in and dine on whatever snack you’ve left them and then have a nice nap until you arrive and relocate them. This works great until January, when a softie like me can’t bear to put a mouse out in the snow.
Yeah, I know, it’s a character flaw.
I understand completely that anyone who picks up half-dead baby mice from the yard and feeds them with an eyedropper in a predictably futile attempt to keep them alive needs psychological help.
If you ever try this at home, you should know that baby mice need their bottoms stroked every couple of hours to stimulate a bowel movement.
Not that I’ve done this or anything.
Anyway. Of course lunatics like me won’t put cute, warm, household mice outside in a raging blizzard. So in the winter, I take them out to the barn.
Which would be fine if we had barn cats, only ours are in the house, because I don’t want them to be cold either.
So now, in addition to running a donkey resort, we’re running a mouse restaurant.
This particular idiocy started the day I went out to the barn to find the mice had been eating the saddle soap. I figured they must be starving to do that, and maybe if I threw a few sunflower seeds on the ground, they wouldn’t eat the electrical wiring and tack cleaner.
So now, after feeding the donkeys, we put down a little something for the mice, and for the chipmunk who nests in the sawdust . They have a fine and varied diet, and we’re learning a lot about the culinary habits of rodents. They don’t care much for watermelon, but they’re wild about day-old grits.
One day, I know I will have to leave this home that I so love, and I’ll have to fill out a disclosure form for the buyer.
“Occasionally, a few mice,” I will write. “They expect dinner a little before 9.”