Tuesday, April 26, 2011


The rain and some snow have returned.  One local veterinarian just posted on Facebook that she has now worked six months of the past year in snow.  I think she might be as tired of snow as the rest of the general population around here.

I won't comment this morning, since I have a few indoor jobs to complete.  Bad weather assures more attention to indoor projects. Otherwise, they could sit for months.

One item on my "to do" list today involves some more cleaning in the shop attached to our house.  That area has been home to the cats since we moved here almost five years ago.

I've been almost manic about making sure my animals are inside and safe at night.  The only problem with this philosophy is that other animals, not listed on the official Lovestead roster, have decided they need to be safe at night too.

Knock on wood.  We have discouraged, for the time being anyway, these univited guests, namely MICE,  to stay out of our house proper.  They have hung out in the shop, only to turn into carnage lying on the cement floor.

In fact, yesterday I swept one out of the shop in two parts.  Head separated from body.  Our cats are not in to eating whole mice, especially with an overflowing dish of Meow Mix always available. 

So, they just leave the body parts for me to remove from their cushy home.

Now, let's switch over to the barn.  Not one cat (cuz they're too damn lazy in the comforts of their shop), has set foot in the barn for at least a couple of years. 

This winter, the barn has been overrun with mice---bold mice, friendly mice, hungry mice, thieving mice---every version of derelict mice you can think of lives in our barn. 

Case in point.  Last night while clipping Heather in her stall, I watched a mouse leave the stall and go stand beside Annie Dog, who was sitting in the barn aisle.

Before I had started clipping, I noticed that Heather had not eaten all of the skiff of grain I had dropped into her bucket earlier in the day.  When I stepped up closer to the bucket, a mouse raced around in circles at the bottom of the bucke.

Apparently the little critter had figured out how to get in the bucket but not out.  So, I tipped it to one side, and the mouse jumped out---probably the same one that sat beside Annie Dog.

But it's possible that it could have been a different mouse, considering the sheer numbers that go racing 50 different directions if I step inside the barn at night.

Last week I decided to employ a method to catch and dispose of a bunch of them.  After studying a multiple-mouse trap set-up used by another family member, I wasted no time getting a bucket, grabbing a tomato stake and a piece of paper.  

I taped the paper to the tomato stake, slathered it with peanut butter and put it atop the bucket which was half-filled with water.  The idea was that the mice would step on the stake in hopes of their licking up the peanut butter on the paper.  

The stake would roll to the side, and there would be a mini cannonball as each mouse hit the water.  I've been told mice do not know how to swim.

Next morning two drowned mice were floating in the bucket. I figured if this worked so well, I'd have to set up a few more buckets.  Well, before I followed up on that plan,  a couple of days went by, and the mice figured out the system.

Somehow, twice, they knocked the tomato stake and peanut-butter paper to the ground and licked up every last drop of peanut butter.

That's when I decided LAZY CATS were going to work.  So, I moved their little houses/apartments---whatever you want to call them---to the tack room in the barn.  

Then, I brought the two laziest cats, Fuzzy Wuzzy and Lonesome Love, to the barn and showed them their new home.

Festus is still having free run of the place cuz, after all, he has to go over to Meserve's to eat their mice. 

Anyway, morning has come.  Cats were quite happy in their new quarters.  

Only problem this morning, the mice were still as happy and bold as ever.  

Tonight I'll open the tack room door just before buttoning up the barn for the night.  I'm figuring/hoping that those cats will venture out and discover the great rodent smorgasboard possibilities in their midst.

One of two things will happen.  I'll find some chewed-up carnage in the morning.

Or, I'll find cats sleeping in the hay while mice are sleeping in their houses and eating their food. 

The beat "of Mice and Marianne" will continue until I find a way to rid the barn of all those creepy crawlers.  In the meantime, it's a rainy day, and I can spend part of it cleaning up the shop.

Happy Tuesday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

we have 2 barn cats-one is a mouser and one is not!!