Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Of Mice and Z

Yes, mice.  We don't get great problems with them, but we do have to be fairly vigilant.  I'm afraid we don't go down the live trap route.  They're mice.  There are thousands of them, quite a number killed by owls, stoats and so on in the fields around us every night and I have to admit that we harden our hearts and set traps.

This isn't to say that I'd kill a mouse personally.  Is this hypocritical?  I don't know.  Anyway,  I have caught a few personally, with my own bare hands (and then had to wash rather thoroughly afterwards because mice smell of mouse wee and so do you after you've handled one).

Before my mother lived next door to us - goodness, I'm going back nearly 30 years now - she lived in a lovely Georgian house with a conservatory along its length.  There was a raised bed against the house wall and geraniums grew in it, that flowered nearly all year round.  Once a mouse set up home in that bed and you could see the little paths it made.  It wasn't really doing any harm, but mice don't stay single for long and it was sure to find a wife and raise a large family, so it had to go.  And one day, I saw it scurry along its little path and I cornered it.  It waved its front paws at me, though not in a cheery way, and I grabbed it.  It closed its eyes tight and bit my finger, which was quite good really as it meant it wasn't likely to try to get away and I stalked out into the garden, through the kitchen garden and into the paddock beyond and let it go.  There were little bite marks on my finger but it hadn't broken the skin.  I still washed with disinfectant.

Some years later, at about this time of year, we'd left the side door open as we tend to do a lot during the summer.  That is, we used to.  Now we're more likely to shut it so that we don't get taken over by chickens in the house as well as out of doors.  And I spotted a mouse scuttling in the door, round the corner and into the sitting room.  I pursued it - well, I took Tilly with me and suggested she might like to catch it, but the little dog didn't notice the mouse and, well, she was not much use.  The mouse was still running along the skirting board, so I took a big soft cushion off the sofa and dropped it on the mouse.  Then of course I had to reach under the cushion to find it.  I felt quite brave at that moment actually, though really it was no contest.  In a head to head confrontation I was going to win, frankly.

And so I picked it up, took it across the field and let it go.

This isn't very dramatic, is it?  I've also caught a few incautious ones that found themselves trapped in receptacles, such as Sunday's paper bag incident, but the end of the story is always me releasing it unharmed.

Once, Al was in his garden when he saw the ground move. As the mole's head emerged from its hole, he whisked it out with a broom, scooped it into a bucket and - well, he walked down the lane, over the bridge to the other side of the river before letting that one go.  He reckoned that if there was deep enough water between it and us, there was a chance it wouldn't return.

12 comments:

Beryl Ament said...

My husband has been known to catch squirrels in a cage, drive a mile or two and release them in the country club. Then there was the time he let one go in the large area of grass outside the local shopping mall and the poor thing was so petrified he ran right across the street and got run over . . .

Blue Witch said...

I think it was your birthday yesterday? No mention here!

Hope you had a good one, without mice candles.

Blue Witch said...

Er - I meant Monday. Don't even know the day of the week currently...

Z said...

Your husband is a kind man, Beryl. And a squirrel doesn't know when it's well off!

You're right, BW (actually, wouldn't life be simple if "you're right, BW" was the default answer to everything? :D) but I didn't care for the number, an unattractive prime, so decided not to celebrate the day this year.

allotmentqueen said...

Moles don't do bridges then?

Blue Witch said...

Mr BW worked that one out a long time ago Z ;)

Sorry about the lack of birthday.

Z said...

Well, there are three bridges in fact, one of them with concrete steps, and I don't think a mole could quite master those.

If anyone could persuade the Sage to tell me before he does something rather than let me find out after he's got it wrong (and it's up to me to save the day), I'd have fewer grey hairs, BW. Mr BW is a fine and sensible man.

john.g. said...

Beryl, it's illegal to trap and release a grey squirrel! Once caught they must be killed, as it's not a native species.

Z said...

It's all right, John. Beryl lives in the US.

Beryl Ament said...

Well, john.g he has also been known to kill them (in the attic) but since he didn't want to get into any Second Amendment issues with the local police, he gave that up a long time ago.

mig said...

We had a bathroom mouse once - it used to run along the pipes while we were in the bath and eventually, Barney set a trap and caught it by one leg. Soft hearted creature that he is, he let it out (in the garden) and next evening when I was in the bath, a mouse sneaked out and limped along the pipe - giving me an accusing look as it went by.

Z said...

Mice and moles are not released until we've taken them over the river at least. I'm afraid the Sage shoots grey squirrels. If ever we were lucky enough to have red squirrels here they would be cherished. I've only once seen a red squirrel, quite a thrill. Sadly, the picture I took was just a blur and not identifiable.