Pantry Raid

(Note: the header is from a photo I took of the Mer de Glace near Chamonix in the French Alps. Find the contantly shrinking river of ice at the bottom of the picture?)

With the New Year, I keep doing some things I thought I might give less time in 2013.  One of them is the odd blog.  Is this an addiction?

The Washington Post reports January is the time to begin organizing.  I began this activity a few days ago, and not owing to the Post article. In retirement, my life has turned toward small things. Where once I was a US House staff researcher carrying papers to Congressional leaders at midnight, I now fight mice. Where once I worked on budget estimates with deadlines, and delivered population estimates to federal agencies by the start of the fiscal year, I now feed mice.   

The Post article reports if you give ten minutes a day to organizing, you will find your house has become a neat and tidy place. Okay, I’m trying.

Cover of "Mousehunt [Region 2]"

Cover of Mousehunt [Region 2]

My problem is the more I clean and organize the more signs of mice I find.  The crafty little guys have made or attempted to make nests in all sorts of new secluded places. My dogs don’t care. This is a human versus mouse fight. Fighting them, I have come to see myself as a compatriot of Nathan Lane in the film Mouse Hunt

When he cleaned his shop, David uncovered a stash of mousetraps…some used and some in their plastic wrap. Mice had used the paper bag to make nests. David says all the cleaning has driven the mice to find new homes.  I even found the start of a nest under one of my Christmas trees. 

David has all kinds of small and  medium mouse and big rat traps.  I can set up some traps, says the great male hunter.  Given I get up at 5:30 AM (before him) and would probably ensnare myself before I had my first cup of coffee, I decline his offer.

Instead, we are cleaning, vacuuming, containerizing and wiping all corners of drawers and cupboards. Except for two bags, I have moved the outdoor bird seed into plastic containers.  Another plastic container arrives today for the Cardinal seed.  Perhaps too late.

English: Male Downy woodpecker (Picoides pubes...

ale Downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) eating peanut suet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, David asked where I kept the Woodpecker suet. I went to retrieve it in the pantry and discovered  something had gotten into it and made a little piggy of himself. The mice had eaten most of three suet packages, and left telltale mouse hair and seed casings strewn everywhere.  That mouse (mice?) must have a stomach ache, I said, picturing Gus in the film Cinderella

I know the raid happened in the past week because I moved the bird suet into the pantry before the holidays. This is the upside of constantly cleaning and rearranging things…you know what is recent and what is not.    

Pet Mice

Pet Mice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ines warned me a female mouse can have 19 kits at a time. I am praying we have not been invaded by family of mice and all their kissing cousins. 

mouse hole
(Photo credit: gimmage)

How did they get in there, says David.  I point to a neatly chewed mouse-sized archway at the bottom of the door. 

14 thoughts on “Pantry Raid

  1. Years ago I would open my back door and leave it open the whole day through in fine dry weather. I once found a mouse in my kitchen and disposed of it. Since then I make sure to keep the back door closed and to date it has worked.


  2. I did clean the house before the new year, buuuut… I didn’t think to go through our cupboards or drawers. Now that you mention it, I’ll have to check them out. We had mice at school and I remember our custodian using little fly paper type mouse catchers. The only problem is you have a wiggling mouse in the mornings and I am too squeamish about getting rid of it once you have it trapped.


  3. Bright side of all this ,be glad they aren’t rats. Christine had a rat invasion when they began to work on the road in front of her old house. I have spiders by the millions, I have visions of waking up to the whole dome being encased in a web.


  4. I am terribly opposed to poisons. We no longer have an extermination service as I figured if the bugs were dying, other things could die too from the stuff they used. I am hoping nature will take its course around here. We do have a preponderance of spiders in the summer time, but they eat a slew of bugs so I can’t complain too much. We, too, had a few mice, but the cats seem to have made quick riddance of them. I found mice carcasses in the backyard. However, if I leave dry cat food in its bag in the garage, I find little nibbled holes in the bag, so who knows if the critters have all been taken care of. I feed the stray cats and squirrels, and I think the mice take advantage of my largesse.


  5. Methinks it is time to call Mario again.. This is just an awful invasion. Perhaps time to box everything you own in plastic and move to an motel room for a few days. We did that once when they did a termite tenting. I’m so allergic to their propellant, that I chose to retreat and stay breathing. We had silverfish last year, and around each opening G sprayed a foam sealant. Then we bombed. Anything that eats books is dead meat to me. We had a mouse for a while in the back room at the store too. These moments reminded me that mice eat books enthusiastically.

    Love your neighbor hooking a ride with the UPS man.

    Yes, blogging on line is addictive, but your written moments are a gift to the friends you have made here. They are also a gift of inner peace and meditation to your self.


  6. This is just awful, Dianne. I couldn’t bear it. Due to the feral cats in my neighborhood, we have no mice or rats here. Thank goodness. The worst part of a mouse is its tail, which I hate to look at. Ugly, squirmy things! Ugh! I think you should hire an exterminator to make a dent in your mouse population. And keep hiring them every month or so til the mice are gone, gone, gone.


    • We have a regular exterminator, Mario, who comes every month. He says the mice come and go in any house. They enter through the holes in the floor where electric, water and sewer lines are connected. He has set up bait traps outside where he says they spend most of their time. I don’t want too much poison around as hawks go after mice, and they eat the mice corpses. I don’t want them to die from the poison in the mouse bodies.


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