Rendition of Farmhouse Mouse….
It’s that time of year when old farmhouses in general, become the desirable winter residence of local small mammal populations. In a nutshell, it’s basically a seasonal, or weather derived, mouse in-migration. At one time, I handled situations of this type quite inhumanely, lacking both care and concern, as sanitized extermination methods were default solutions to my pest problems. It’s very easy to justify atrocious actions citing public health concerns, etc… ad-nauseum.
I have evolved in recent years. And I continue to evolve towards a deeper
understanding appreciation of the spiritual-scientific interconnectedness of our entire human experience – our physical reality so to speak, which includes all sentient life AND life as we know it and live it, both individually and collectively. To glimpse a sense of it all, quantum mechanics (QM) has been most helpful to me; specifically, the extraordinary properties of quantum particles. Naturally, with an increasing awareness of our oneness, there has been an increasingly aligned general philosophy of better care and respect for all life, which has manifested, for example, in the de-gentrification of the farm this year (described in the Buffet post.)
For the mouse in-migration solution (which you will soon learn is no solution at all), I adopted a policy of humane deportation of the unwelcome aliens to the wild mouse sanctuary. I call this program “weather indigent live deportation: expel rodents” or WILDER, for short. The sanctuary is located near the farthest southwest corner of the property (farthest location from the farmhouse) and is comprised of a rather large cluster of incredibly huge old tree trunks, dead logs, and other organic and decaying materials which provide plenty of nooks, crannies, and weather protected nesting options. It is also extremely well protected from likely predators, due to the nasty growth of infiltrated and perimetered prickly plants which are extremely successful guardians of this space. In the Buffet post, I discuss this section of the property, as one of many areas that my neighbor would love to clean up. The wild mouse sanctuary is also well-stocked with food such as dog kibble, bird seed, and nutritious left-over food far too un-palatable for spoiled dogs and picky chickens, but much too fresh still — to compost.
So, the WILDER program began in earnest last week, starting with my direct observation of a wild mouse visiting outside of the three large and opulent separate residences of my 3 pet mice (one is a 2 year old wild mouse who I raised from birth and 2 are very recently store bought pet mice – who were bought with good intentions that went horribly awry by sheer ignorance and stupidity – a misadventure post, I’m almost certain to share. Anyway, back to the story at hand – out came the small mammal live trap (which is an extremely successful device, by the way), and within an hour I caught him.
This program began last fall and was quite successful. I managed to keep the farmhouse clear of rodents, and in my mind, it’s a win-win situation — until it’s not. I walked the device (with scared mouse) to the sanctuary – as usual – and while walking, there is a level of communication, as I explained the procedure and attempted to assure caged mouse that he will not be harmed. There was naturally some eye-contact, as we observed each other during the short transport. This particular mouse was a typical brown mouse – a bit larger than the norm, but otherwise, a regular mouse. I noticed quite quickly though, that one distinguishing feature was that his delicate left ear had a little chunk missing on the lower third part of the ear, sort of like this:
which I noted in my mind, as I wondered out loud what had happened. Very soon though, we reached the sanctuary, and in a second, he was released under the protection of dead logs. We both went along our merry ways. I cleaned the device to continue to help relocate furry mammals from the farmhouse. If there is one mouse observed, there are several or more that are not.
To make a too long story a bit shorter, I caught another mouse the next day, and the next day, and the day after for about 6 days in a row. Success you say? It was the exact same left-ear-chunk-removed mouse! Again and Again and Again…. Even though I placed the trap in various locations each and every day, he was the only mouse caught. Our emotions and feelings mimicked each other at the implausibility of it all. The second day he was actually caught with his girlfriend and I thought, well this is great! I take them both to the sanctuary and they re-nest together and live happily ever after. He, on the other hand, was trying to calm her down and tell her everything would be OK.
The third day, he was once again caught alone and we were both shocked and in disbelief. I suspect she decided not to trek back with him, possibly having met a more suitable suitor, one who was a more reliable mouse and could provide her with some semblance of security. The fourth day, he and I were both irritated, with a flash of eye-anger shared between us. The 5th day, a sort of resigned expectation occurred, as he sat nonchalantly cleaning himself, while I dutifully, robotically walked him back to the sanctuary.
Yesterday, we both apparently devised a plan. I decided that I should put the trap in the basement, the most likely place of initial farmhouse entry. It is virtually impossible to 100% secure the basement from mice located outside, but I could certainly stop the migration into the house. His plan was smart. He tried to keep the trap door of the cage open by stuffing it with pieces of basement insulation he had brought along — before he went in to retrieve the morsels. Ingenious. It could definitely work. It just didn’t on that day. Today, the trap is in the basement and I have yet to check it. I’m sure he is in there because some mouse revisited my pet mice last night – there is a bit of evidence.
Of course. Yes!! I certainly have thought about taking him much farther away — much, much farther away. But I stopped myself with the realization that this farmhouse – he considers home. The mouse sanctuary for him is simply not sufficient. It won’t do. It’s not a win-win in his eyes. So, here we have a quandary. I suspect that creating a fourth residence won’t work for him either.
It’s the dilemma of the season.