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Mouse Wars 2020: The battles continue
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Mouse Wars 2020: The battles continue

Day 1 of Mouse Wars 2020: Nothing will wake you up quicker than a rustling in the bedside wastebasket. With Hubby snoring I knew it wasn’t him. Fortunately this was right before the morning alarm was to go off. A couple of shakes and he awoke to hear the noise, too. One quick swoop and a pillow was on top of the wastebasket and our little marauder was whisked out the front door and dumped back into the cold, cruel world.

Yes, the annual fall/winter edition of Mouse Wars is on at Hof Batie. Later that morning I discovered the little varmints were eating holes in aluminum foil sheets in my bottom kitchen drawer, probably using them to thermal line a nest somewhere. Further investigation found tell-tale signs of mice in several other areas of the kitchen, as well as the garage. The battle lines were drawn.

Day 2 of Mouse Wars 2020: While getting his bedtime snack Hubby saw another mouse. This time it scooted under the stove in the kitchen. About 10 minutes later I saw it peek out while hurriedly packing up the eight dozen or so peanut clusters I had made. No way were they sitting out overnight to provide said mouse/mice with a delectable midnight feast.

Anyway, we hauled out mouse traps from everywhere we could find them. The floor was a veritable mouse trap minefield. Of course that morning there was nothing, not even a hint that it/they had tried nibbling at the peanut butter bait.

As I voiced frustration over this on Facebook, a flood of suggestions were offered by friends also engaged in their own mouse wars. I deployed coffee filters filled with grated Irish Spring and sprinkled crushed red pepper under the drawer they had crawled into.

I headed to town on a final Christmas shopping trip later that morning and on the list was the purchase of more traps, some sticky, some humane and some of the good old-fashioned kind. With a dog that spends nights in the garage, we opted not to purchase the high-pitched electronic sound emitters that some suggested. Nothing worse than a howling dog when you are trying to sleep.

By now I had a running Facebook diary and the entry read:

Day 3 of Mouse Wars 2020: I ran the trapline Saturday morning, starting in the kitchen. Nothing along the appliance wall, but Hubby had carefully placed one behind the stove and when I pulled the bottom drawer of the range out, Viola! One in that trap. Said varmint was deposited in the cat food can and I then ventured to the garage.

Nothing in the trap on the shelves, but there was one in the trap right next to the freezer. Again, said annoyance was placed in the cat food can. However, the cats never got to see the dead mice. When I stopped in the chicken pen to let the hens out that morning, I set the can down and before I could get the big door to the hen house open. I saw a flurry of activity by the already opened side door where I’d placed the can. Hens formed a long line following the lead two birds, who, you guessed it, found the dead mice on top of the pellets and, omnivores that hens can be, were fighting for the remains.

Later, Don was working in the garage and while moving a tub of miniature popcorn ears had a mouse pop up and try to jump out. He managed to get it pushed out the garage door before it got out, so a third little nuisance was removed. To date: Baties - 4, Mice – 0.

Day 4 of Mouse Wars 2020: Not much excitement Sunday. Ran the trap line and nothing in the garage. However, we did catch another mouse in the trap behind the stove, apparently the hideout du jour. There are now two sticky traps in the basement, and although we haven’t seen evidence of mice downstairs, we are taking no chances. Tally: Baties – 5, Mice – 0.

Day 5 of Mouse Wars 2020: Baties – 6, Mice – 0. One more mouse on the trapline Monday morning, this time right by the south garage door. Based on his girth I’m guessing he had been enjoying the Indian corn for a while. No more in the house, so am hoping we have finally gotten those under control.

For fun, did you know the “Tom and Jerry” cartoon is 80 years old? I have been feeling rather like Tom in the original cartoon, titled “Puss Gets the Boot.” Stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime we are soldiering on.

Barb Bierman Batie can be reached at editorial@midwestmessenger.com.  

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Barb is a freelance journalist who grew up near Battle Creek, Nebraska, and now farms row crops with her Platte Valley Farmer, Don Batie, northeast of Lexington. She can be reached at editorial@midwestmessenger.com.

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