The snow is starting to disappear in our yard and as it does I can see little tunnels created by furry little four-legged rodents over the winter. This is a reminder that on the farm one always has to be vigilant that these pests don’t gain access to the house. This article was the first one that I published in my column and it produced many a smile. I hope you enjoy it.
Every fall when the temperature starts to drop and leaves begin to tumble, I search our garage for evidence – evidence of visitors- unwelcome visitors of the furry, four-legged kind who are looking for a winter home. And every time I do this I am reminded of what happened one particular fall in our house.
The summer of that year we had constructed a house addition. The project had gone quite smoothly; the finishing touches were almost done and I was quite pleased with the results. Only one thing bothered me: the addition had only a crawlspace under it and, because of this, some openings in the old foundation had been created to allow warm air to circulate and help heat the new area.
“But what if something gets in the basement from there,” I worried.
“Oh, there’s no way that could ever happen,” my husband assured me and with that he confidently explained why it wouldn’t happen. I will spare you the long explanation provided, but I can’t help noting that when a man proclaims that something will never happen, it is pretty much a given that it can and will happen.
I was in the basement shortly after construction was completed when what did I spy? Yes, without a doubt, it was mouse dirt. Well, maybe one had managed to sneak in when the door had been open. So out went the traps. It wasn’t long before I heard a snap and went to check things out. I had caught the culprit! “That was easy!” I thought with a self-satisfied smile.
I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to my evening of relaxation. But a short time later I thought I heard the second trap go off. I cautiously crept downstairs to find that indeed I had ensnared another furry fiend. This was not good! And as I reached to remove the trap, I caught the movement of yet another dark little shape skittering along the wall. My heartbeat quickened as I realized we had been invaded. I was now on full-scale alert!
To get rid of these pesky critters we took many measures. Some of these were more drastic than others. On one occasion as I watched TV, I saw a mouse that had come up the basement stairs scamper to the back entrance. Unlike many women, I am not squeamish about mice – I just dislike them. I quickly gave chase. The mouse went under the bench, I pulled it away from the wall; he snuck into the closet, I yanked out the vacuum hose and dove in after; finally he was cornered on the boot tray with nowhere to go. I looked around for a weapon, spied the paint scraper, and, I’m pleased to report, executed a quick and painless death. One whack did the trick!
“But how and where were all these mice getting in?” I wondered.
It took about a week, a week of searching and little sleep, but I solved the mystery as any self-respecting woman would. Those mice, and several more, had gained access to the crawlspace by tunnelling under the new footings, and from there they had easy entry via the newly-created openings to the entire basement. A perfect winter getaway for a mouse!
Of course we repaired the problem with a few of my “I told you so’s” thrown in for good measure. Since that time I am extra-vigilant every autumn and at the first sign of mouse activity in the garage, my husband sets out the traps. I don’t think he wants to deal with that stress again – the stress created by a frantic wife. At the time of writing this article, I am pleased to report our home remains rodent-free.