We’re being invaded!

There’s no denying the weather is beautiful. Crisp air, leaves turning a rainbow of colors, and almost-freezing temps at night. Which, apparently, mice don’t like. My first inkling there was An Issue was when I woke up and stumbled toward the coffee maker one fine morning, only to find three of our four cats lined up in front of the stove, staring intently underneath it.

Then they started staring under the couch. And the table. And the other couch. Until one night, Wesson comes trotting proudly down the hallway with what we thought was one of his toys until he dropped it and it went rampaging down the hall and disappeared somewhere in my office. Sigh. Someone missed a memo, because I don’t do mice.

Gene has set traps everywhere and gleefully announces his kill count every time he hears one snap. He even had to set some in my car, blaming my habit of leaving my bag of work snacks in the front seat. Since I only work in the city two afternoons a week, the bag just kind of sits there, apparently smelling delicious. Who knew mice would climb through an air vent just to eat trail mix? So foul. At least I discovered the evidence before I stuck my hand in the bag. Shudder. I mean, it’s trail mix. Half of it looks like mouse leavings anyway. I’m kinda off trail mix right now, actually.

At any rate, after trapping 5(!) mice in my car, I’m seeing them everywhere I look. Whether they’re there or not. An innocuous beet just chilling on the counter got me screaming, and I hold my breath every time I open a cabinet. After having a mini-meltdown in the pest control aisle of the hardware store, the employees assured me that everyone has this problem in the fall. Which oddly enough doesn’t make me feel one bit better. It just means there’s a lot of mice out there roaming around.

In far happier critter news, we got a rooster! I wanted to get a guardian for the flock since we free range them as much as possible, and roosters are great for sounding alarms. After asking around for a few weeks, I found someone with an extra Rhode Island Red roo, and Bessie and I went to pick him up while she was here for her yearly fall visit (yes, she got to see a mouse. I was not thrilled to learn they’re downstairs, too.)

Midas fit right in with the ladies, and already has his harem of favorites picked out. He’s a really sweet rooster, unlike Sean Paul from back in the day. I don’t feel the need to carry a shovel and watch my six when Midas is around. His favorite thing to do is find treats, then call all the hens over to have some. He’ll even pick up little bits of corn and drop them in front of a hen! It’s really cute.

It’s hysterical to watch them all chase the frogs and toads. Apparently those are good eats if you’re a chicken, and all 18 of them will tear around the yard trying to catch one. I feel bad for the poor amphibians, they’ve always been near the top of my list of favorite wildlife. I save them when I can, and look away when I can’t.

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