More Marauding Mice

This morning my grandmother, also named Jane A. Lindholm, left a note on my earlier blog post:

You had your share of mice in E. Middlebury. When I visited there was one in the couch[dead]. Surely one who simply scampers on the roof doesn’t upset you. Send Adrian up there with a broom and shoo him[her] away.
Old Jane

First of all, I’m pretty impressed that BOTH of my grandmothers, who are in their 90s are so tech savvy that they’re reading and commenting on blogs and Facebook posts. When I think about all the things they’ve learned in their lifetimes and are still learning it is a strong motivation to me to stay engaged and informed and open to new things.

It also made me chuckle reading about the welcome gift Grandma received upon visiting my childhood home in East Middlebury. As I recall, we always had mice in that house. I didn’t know about the dead mouse in the couch, which is a little grim. But I do remember that we had an upright piano in our den and sometimes I would lift up the lid so I could look inside at the guts and tap the wires. Inevitably there would be tiny piles of dog food in there. The mice would steal pellets from Babe’s meals and cache them in the piano, only to be found later by my pudgy little fingers.

It may be apocryphal, but there’s a family story that my father once walked around all day with a dead mouse in his shoe. Apparently, he put his foot in his shoe in the morning and crushed the tiny mouse, whose bones were so small that my dad didn’t even notice until he slipped his feet out at the end of the day and noticed the flattened creature.

I fear I’m now making it sound like I grew up in filth, in the middle of a rodents’ den. We had a nice little house and we had woods stretching out from our backyard. And when you live in a not-so-new house in the country, mice sometimes follow. So my grandmother is right, one little mouse in the eaves is not going to freak me out (though, for the record, it’s IN the roof, not on top of it). But I’m hoping I can seal up the house before this little guy convinces all his friends to camp out in our insulation all winter!

That’s me in our old living room. I was pretty jealous of my little brother so I liked to sit in his car seat to draw attention to myself. No mice in this picture, but I’m sure they’re just hiding behind the couch.

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9 Responses to More Marauding Mice

  1. It is that time of year – deer mice scrambling to come in. We are returning them to the woods as fast as we can catch them….. The cat is very busy.

  2. Tom Cooch says:

    We had squirrels and mice in our insulation when we were in our old farmhouse in Braintree. It’s been three years since we built a new house across the road, and so far no rodents OR cluster flies!

  3. Dillow, Ben says:

    Time to invest in a kitten, which before long becomes…

    Sent from Ben’s iPhone

  4. I like your story layers, Jane, and your grandmothers are awesome!

    Ah, we are still having a surge of ladybugs on the south wall of the house — open that door and in they come. Lovely hot sunshine bringing them forth, in the middle of each of these treasured days!

    First house in Vermont that I lived in had major mouse issues, and they would run across the trim near the top of the bedroom wall. My then husband (long gone, bless him) was a target shooter, and endeavored to sit up in bed and shoot the mice with a homemade blowgun (quiet enough for the bedroom). He never caught one that way, although I had regular duty emptying the crushed bodies out of little wooden traps. Finally our more savvy neighbors persuaded us to use the mouse poison that the hardware stores sell, for the sake of a fresh start.

    Now I live in a more modern house that “shouldn’t” allow mouse access, but it’s seasonal, isn’t it? This time of year, somehow one desperate mouse family always makes it either into the basement or into the car — where mice can nest in something called the “cabin filter.” We’ve learned to have the nest cleaned out of the filter regularly. At least this invasion reminds us of our connection with the little mammals, and it seems to be all in the spirit of country fun.

  5. Martha Lentz says:

    One year in our old farmhouse we trapped a mouse 17 consecutive days. They came into our silverware drawer which was pretty gross. Every morning I
    went out and opened the drawer and there was another one. We made up stories about Uncle Henry (the mouse) going out in the evening to look for his little nephew who never came home the night before and zap! he was gone and the next day a relative would have to come and look for him………………It took Sam to come over, tear the drawer apart and stop up all the little entryways. No more mice.

  6. Karl says:

    Not apocryphal. But the mouse in my shoe was already dead when I put the it on. Probably died from the toxic fumes (which have made grown people faint). My kids (the next batch) were grossed out. We still have mice – I try to identify them by name. We have used traps (BANG, then I go take out the squiggling near-but-not-fully-dead mouse, making kids feel bad for their suffering), have-a-heart traps (we released the mice outside – now there’s a flatlander idea), poison (they move slowly about the house like drunks before dying right out in the open). The best approach is to get a cat, but we can’t – Brett is highly allergic (and I just don’t like ’em). If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. We live in the country. It’s cold out. Even mice with their tiny little brains know enough to come in from outside (unlike some Mainers and Vermonters who actually like winter). The biggest problem I find is that they live in my car in the winter and chew the liner on various crucial cables and wires. Their scratching in the walls and ceiling keeps you awake at night? Ear plugs will cure that problem.

  7. Greg says:

    Ok, I won’t say “I told you so”, Jane. (Oh, wait – I think I just did?) The mice are getting into the roof somehow, either through the walls from the ground (think “under the cornerboards”) or some other chaseway. Of course, if you have a basement or crawl space with a dirt floor they could be burrowing into it especially if the soil is sandy with easy digging and if you have an old fieldstone foundation well, hey, good luck. My rule of thumb is that once a mouse gets into the basement there is no practical way to prevent it from getting upstairs because so many holes are drilled for romex (wires), plumbing, etc. Do you have a deck or porch? The mice could be getting into a wall from that convenient platform.

    Maybe this would be a fun and timely subject for “Vermont Edition” if you can recruit a couple of contractors to discuss how they have successfully dealt with mouse problems? Then listeners could call in with their “mouse” stories…

    At our summer “camp” keeping some winter mice out is all but impossible. I set traps one night & all that happened was the mice carted off the cheese and peanut butter without ever setting off the trap. I actually watched this happening. It was just like a movie.

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