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Things That Go Bump, er, Splash in the Night…

by Victoria Gazeley

Homestead mouse

There’s a funny thing about living in the country.  You really don’t need Hallowe’en decorations.

Between the cobwebs that reappear five minutes after you’ve vacuumed (sadly, I’m not kidding), the ravens and vultures that live somewhere nearby and cluck and circle over us daily, and the palm-sized, hairy hunting spiders that freak us out when they appear on the ceiling in the bedroom just as we’re drifting off to sleep, we’re not wanting for spooky decor.

Then there’s the mice.

Our little rodent friends seem to live outside all summer, and make a bee-line for the house when the weather gets chilly.  I can’t blame them.  We’re easy pickin’s, what with all the nooks, crannies and cracks that an 80 year old log cabin seems to provide.  Apparently I should have gone ahead with that rechinking job to seal up all the cracks as I’d planned to in September, because the mice are back – with a vengeance.

Natural Hallowe’en Decor

How do mice make your place more spooky at this time of year?  First of all, they poop everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.  I’d say poop is pretty spooky.  OR at least disgusting (ewwwww…).   And they squeak and scurry and make such loud noises in the middle of the night you’d think someone was breaking in to steal your new iMac.  I don’t know about you, but that’s my worst nightmare.

Then there are the times they surprise the you-know-what out of you and make you wish you could retreat to that luxe, critter-free condo you used to have in the city.  Like the other night…

Nature Calls

I woke up around 3:00 am after too many cups of Tibetain Histoire (if you’re a green tea fan, you’ll LOVE this offering from the Urban Tea Merchant in Vancouver – totally off topic, I know, but I had to share!  Back to the story…).  So I got up to head to the bathroom and was really not wanting to upset my body clock by turning the bathroom light on.  It always makes it harder to fall back asleep. But something told me I should, so I did.

And I was very happy I did.

Let me start by saying I didn’t have my glasses on or contacts in.  So the brown lump in the toilet looked like, well, you know.  Just as I was getting annoyed about someone’s apparent lack of housekeeping etiquette, the brown lump moved.

There was a mouse in the toilet bowl.

So, a little freaked out, I clapped my hands.  And the little guy (not sure why I thought it was male) jumped up like a shot, only to slip on the seat and fall back in.

Splash.

Then I clapped again.  And he jumped again.

Splash.

This went on – me clapping like an idiot and him jumping – until I realized there was no way he was getting out without assistance.  He was spending more and more time in the water and less jumping to get out.  Now I know some of you are thinking why didn’t you just flush it!  Let me put it this way – sometimes I wish I wasn’t so connected to the animal world.  But I am.

So off I went to get a flat piece of kindling from the woodbox.  I scooped it under to allow him to get out of the bowl (thankfully, the bowl was clean prior to the rescue).  Poor little thing wobbled and just sat there on the edge of the toilet, looking as relieved as I’m sure a mouse can look.

But I still needed to use the facilities, and there was no way I was doing so with a mouse sitting on the tank.  So I clapped again and he wobbled onto the window sill, then onto the floor.  Finally he disappeared, slowly, into a crack where the logs meet the interior wall.

Mice Provide Much Creepiness

Over the two years we’ve been here, I’ve found all sorts of creepy things related to mice.  I’ve discovered dead mice in bottles where they’ve managed to get in but not out.  I’ve come across multiple dessicated mousey remains in a live trap that we forgot to deactivate before putting in the shed for the summer.  Worst of all was the horrific discovery on return from holiday of four tiny feet and a tail.  Minus the body.  In my kitchen sink.  Gag…  I presume it was a welcome home gift from the local weasel, known to frequent our house when the humans are away.  But he can keep his gifts, thank you.

Now THAT was creepy.

I’ve rescued mice from a kitchen sink full of water, and from the clutches of my son and his friend who decided to try to feed a baby mouse a slug (imagine two hours with a Q-tip and water cleaning the mouth of a teensy, tiny little creature), but I’ve never from the toilet bowl.  That was a first.  Needless to say, I had a little chat with my son about leaving the toilet seat up.

So no, we don’t buy Hallowe’en decorations.  No need with all these natural, eco-decorations around.  And some will even eat your leftovers.  Handy!  And creepy…

What’s Creepy Around Your House?

With Hallowe’en on Sunday, I thought I’d share this little story.  We definitely have our share of creepy things around our little piece of rural heaven.  But I’ll take mice over some of the creepy things found in the city any day.  Rats, cockroaches, zombies…  Mind you, zombies probably don’t poop on the counter.

What’s creepy around your house and how do you deal with it (or not)?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Revised on November 12, 2010

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Amity Hook-Sopko October 31, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I can’t kill a mouse either, Victoria! We live near a horse farm and a corn field, and our first little field mouse of the season should arrive any day now. I’ve spent many a late night chasing the cat (who likes to play with mice, but not eat them) around the house with a shoe box… so I can collect the mouse and put it back outside. My husband swears they beat me back to the house :)

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Victoria Gazeley November 1, 2010 at 1:50 am

:o) Yes, that’s me too! We don’t have a cat, and I haven’t invited one into our home because I just couldn’t handle all the little gifts. But there are some days… ;o)

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Susan McKenzie October 31, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I would have screamed, but not flushed… I’m with you on that, Victoria! We were given some very good mouser cats from nearby ranchers and it really helps! As long as you don’t mind the ‘gifts’ they bring to you, like your weasel friend! My husband has been dive-bombed by a huge owl… I think the owl likes his hat or something… it’s also a little creepy seeing hovering green eyes while finishing late dusk chores! Some day we should all take a trip to BC and give you a house warming party, laden with gifts like non-deadly mouse traps!

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Victoria Gazeley November 1, 2010 at 1:51 am

The owls!! I forgot to mention them… They can be a little spooky, can’t they? Do you know what kind of an owl it is? I’d love to hear! As for the housewarming party, I’d LOVE that!!! It would be so great to meet you all!

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Victoria Gazeley November 1, 2010 at 1:53 am

Ooops… hit ‘post’ too quickly. As I was saying, wouldn’t that be fun? Not practical in the least, unless everyone is going to Dallas (I’m not, unfortunately). Maybe one day… ;o)

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Anonymous October 31, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Great article Victoria! We have two super duper mice catchers who live outside in our barn – Jellybean and Blackcat. I haven’t seen a trace of a mouse in 6 years. :O)

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Victoria Gazeley November 1, 2010 at 1:54 am

Oh, we’ve thought about getting a cat. Many times! But I’m not sure I could handle all the little ‘gifts’ left on the doorstep. I had enough of that with the feet and tail in the kitchen sink. Then again, by the end of the winter, I might think differently… ;o)

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Anonymous November 1, 2010 at 2:49 am

Well, I’ve never had either one leave any surprises, I guess we got lucky and got real hunters? ha.

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Victoria Gazeley November 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm

You sure did!! :o)

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Anonymous November 1, 2010 at 12:35 am

Love your story Victoria! In Florida we LIVE with creepy…the crawly, slimy, slippery kind! Snakes, alligators, lizards and spiders the size of small birds! Insects grow BIG down here…and here’s the best part…my kids love the creatures. Ugh! So decorating once a year with “creepy” things is pretty boring!

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Victoria Gazeley November 1, 2010 at 1:55 am

Thank you for reminding me about the snakes!!! Totally forgot about them. And the slugs… But alligators and lizards, I have to say I’ve never had that experience. That must be so nerve-wracking! But saves on Halloween decorating!! LOL!

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Anonymous November 1, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Hi Victoria! We just moved into a centure+ old house on the shore, and amongst all the creaks and groans that go on around here nightly, I believe I have a little visitor in my office walls at night, scratching around. They always go away when I knock, though. I’m keeping an eye out for poop-

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Victoria Gazeley November 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Hopefully you won’t find any! Icky…

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drscott November 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm

What a cute story Victoria. I laughed hysterically thinking about how my wife would have reacted!! A Water Moccasin protecting our front door…gives me “goose bumps” when I think about it.

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Victoria Gazeley November 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Yes, I think having poisonous snakes at my door would be a bit more stressful than mouse poops! I’ll take the mice any day… :o)

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Anonymous November 2, 2010 at 6:57 am

You go girl — awesome to find you – and CONGRATS on leaving the job and getting into your real passion. YAY i am so happy for you! i can’t believe you didn’t tell me this when you came to visit — too funny!!!

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Victoria Gazeley November 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Thank you! How did you find me?

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