Bionic Mice…



Country + farm + COLD weather = Mice. I get the equation. It is just one of those things you have to live with when you are surrounded by woods, pasture, barns, barns filled with feed, and all the other places mice like to reside. And when it gets cold, it’s no problem for them. They just find a teeninsy hole, squeeze through and make nests in the insulation of the Big House. Food isn’t a problem either. When the lights go out, and the human threat is temporarily neutralized, they just dine out in the new restaurant called, “The Pantry”.

We know this is a problem, so early in our farm lives we purchased live traps. When those didn’t work, we dug into the cheese and put tiny cubes of it on mousetraps. When they got tired of cheese, we used peanut butter. With the exception of one mouse, who seemed to like NCIS reruns as much as Randy did – we spotted him on the top of the chair intently watching the program one night – the live/unlive traps seemed to cure our problem. This year, with the extreme cold, we were prepared.

Within a week, we had rehomed several of our tiny little boarders, and were forced to ‘purchase’ a few train tickets for others. (This is the euphemism we use when we deal with people who do not like the idea of slaughtering our animals for meat – so we just tell them we’ve purchased them train tickets for an Arctic Vacation). But there is always one…

About a week ago, the Country Boy noticed that there was a mouse he just couldn’t catch by any other means. Poison is our last choice – mainly because we have dogs and humans who also live in the house. But this little furry friend had learned to escape all other forms of entrapment, and still be well fed. So, TCB had me clean the pantry out of all food items and store them somewhere else. He put out a small dish of poison and closed the door.

The next night, he reached into the drawer where we keep our large cooking utensils to get a spoon. The movement of opening the drawer caused a green pellet to roll, and upon closer inspection, he realized it was a piece of the poison he had put out. Needless to say, we cleaned the drawer out, boiled and sterilized all the utensils. Between the poison and droppings, there was no alternative but to bleach the drawer. I left the utensils out so the drawer could dry.

The following evening I was ready to put everything back in place. Upon opening the drawer, I discovered more droppings and more poison. I checked the pantry, and over half of the poison was gone. Huh. Must be one tough mouse.  The third evening, I checked again, and yep. More droppings. More poison. A check of the pantry showed not one grain of poison left on the plate. But there were droppings. Lovely. Almost out of bleach, I did the boiling water/bleach routine again. And I have begun to wonder…

Scientists and inventors can come up with all kinds of wonderful things, including ‘bionic’ limbs for humans. Is it possible that the mouse/rat world has a mad scientist on their payroll, and decided to test their new invention out in our pantry? Regardless, my one grateful thought in this is that I have yet to come face to face with this iron-stomached creature. Quite frankly, I am concerned that he may just be masquerading as one of the dogs, or that I am going to open a closet door and find a massive, red-eyed, angry monster rat staring at me, while he chews on a pilfered piece of pasta.

I’m headed outside for the big live trap we use for possums and raccoons. If this one doesn’t work, I’ll be looking for new farm land for sale. This Bionic rat/mouse/monster, can just live here all by himself.

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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