Well, the mouse-proof cabinet is going to show what it’s made of I fear. We left Roundrock last weekend with a mouse in the cabin. And this was a fifty percent improvement over what it was.
I’ve written here once or twice about how I use a large tarp to lay on the gravel near the cabin as a way to kill the grass and weeds growing there. I don’t want to use herbicides (at all) this close to the lake. And I don’t want scrub to grow in the area near the cabin and around the fire ring. So I’ve laid the tarp down over the stuff and secured it with planks of wood. This plan certainly worked well in the last two weeks. We had moved the tarp on our last visit to devastate another section of the gravel, and when peeked under it on our most recent visit two weeks later, the gravel was clear of the growth. You can make out the placement of the tarp in the photo below.
The area was clear of scrub but not clear of the nest you see at the top. Some critter (I suspect a mouse) had snuck under the tarp and built that comfy looking nest. In fact, that must have been such a good idea that the critter made two more nests nearby. They’re not easy to make out in this photo, but they run from the top left to the lower right, and they were very clearly nests.
Well, I’m a nice guy, and I want to be a good steward of my land, so I don’t begrudge the mice their nests under the tarp. Of course, their nests suddenly became useless, but the tarp was merely moved to the other side of the fire ring, and they could have moved in over there if they wanted.
But they didn’t. They had larger ambitions.
Now, I can’t say for sure that mice built these nests, and even if they did, I can’t say for sure that they are the same mice that feature in the rest of this post, but I can see a certain irony in the possibility, so I’ll go with that.
Shortly after we did this work, we were walking back to the cabin porch (where the phoebe has her nest — hmmmm!) and Libby saw two mice scamper through the open door and into the cabin. This was not good. In all of the years that we’ve had the cabin, we’ve never seen any signs of mice in it. Bugs, yes. But no mice. That suddenly changed.
A pair of mice in our cabin! What could that lead to? There are peanuts and oatmeal in the mouse-proof cabinet (as well as sun bloc and other such potions), and I could imagine a mouse delighting in discovering these. If so, I’ll know the cabinet is not mouse proof. At the other end of the cabin are two beds with actual mattresses. If the mice liked living under a tarp, I expect they’d love living within a mattress. And if they were a pair, well, you know what would come next.
So we had to chase the mice out of the house. They ran along the base of the wall, and with Libby at one end and me at the other (wielding a broom), we managed to terrify one of them into a place where Libby could place a cup over it. She then carried it outside and let it go.
The other mouse was not as cooperative. We chased it back and forth along the wall. It got past us and took refuge under the mouse-proof cabinet. Libby went after it with a stick and flushed it out, but it continued to evade us. In all of the mayhem, the mouse managed to get to the opposite corner of the cabin and under the steel bedside cabinet we have there. And then behind the beds. And then back under the cabinet.
We eventually gave up. Two mice would be intolerable, but only one mouse (as long as it wasn’t a pregnant one) we could leave in the cabin until our return. As unkind as it sounds, I’m not too worried about this. There is no food outside of the mouse-proof cabinet, and there is certainly no water. If we take at least two weeks to get back out to the cabin, I think the problem will be solved by nature.