One of the more unexpected lessons we learned soon after moving to the country is that field mice, well, don't always stay in the field. Particularly when you have a ~120 year old farmhouse, the mice are constantly finding a way in. The problem is significantly worse in the spring and the fall, when farmers are thundering through the surrounding fields with planting or harvesting equipment. But if you live in the country, you need to be prepared for mice any time of year. Even with a barn cat that likes spending a good amount of time in our basement, those mice can be very creative in getting past the gatekeeper.
After going a couple of months without any mouse activity, we've had one particularly brazen mouse find its way into the kitchen in the last week or so. Or at least we thought it was just one mouse. More on that in a moment.
Over the last week, nearly every member of the family spotted this particular mouse. It would use the stove's metal propane line to climb up to counter top level, then slip out from behind the stove to the adjacent kitchen sink. Once there, it would explore for food or water until a family member entered the kitchen. Then, in a flash, it would disappear again behind the stove.
Last night, we'd had enough. Just before bedtime, I baited a mousetrap with peanut butter and set it on the counter top next to the stove. I placed it such that no mouse could emerge from the stove and bypass it.
At about 1:15am, Mrs. Yeoman Farmer awakened me. "We got it!" she whispered. "We got the mouse. I heard it snap."
"Oh, good," I moaned.
"But I can hear another one behind the stove," she continued (our bedroom adjoins the kitchen). "Can you empty the trap?"
This is one of the very few errands I am happy to perform at 1:15 in the morning. Sure enough, Brazen Mouse was caught by the neck, uneaten peanut butter still filling his mouth. And I could hear something rattling around with the metal of the stove.
I tossed the mouse body out the window to the dogs, then carefully reset the trap in the same place and went to bed. When I got up this morning, I discovered we'd nabbed that second mouse; a moment later, he was flying through the same window to the dogs.
We'll keep the trap in place for another day or two, but hopefully this has solved the problem.
Before we moved here, the idea of rodents in the house gave me a sense of being somehow "violated." Now, setting and emptying mouse traps is just another part of life. And what's most remarkable is how quickly that adjustment came.