A mousie in the housie

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There are things I have to get used to now that I’m living in the country. Stink bugs, mud, horse flies — and mice. Mice are cute, especially the little fakery above, but I don’t want one as a companion!

We had been moving boxes around and apparently one of us brought a critter into the trailer. I think I would have seen it somehow as I was pulling clothes out of boxes, but maybe not. It’s possible that it just ran in when we had the door open. It’s more probable that this one little guy squeezed through a tiny hole somewhere or under the barn garage door to escape the cold.

That night, Frank nudged me awake to tell me we had a tiny visitor. Mousie had been making the rounds of the few food items I keep on the table, rattling cellophane and paper as he went on walkabout. We couldn’t see him that first night, and then everything was silent all the next day. Was he gone?

In case he wasn’t, we tried to outfox him for the second night by putting the bread, chips, cookies, and chocolate into a sealable tote box and removing all the Mousie temptations from the trailer. The snacks were safe, but that second night passed accompanied by the not-so-comforting rustlings that we were listening to, and we still couldn’t see him.

Somewhere in the barn, I knew there was a small bag with three Havahart traps that had moved with us from the old house — I just had to find them. When I did, I had no idea what to put inside them, but hit on the brilliant idea of using Cool Ranch Doritos. We settled in for the third night with happy expectations.

Once again, Frank shook me awake to hear the sound of crunching Doritos. Excuse me? The Havahart trap is designed so that when the mouse steps inside to get to the food, the little flap comes down and contains the critter inside. How did he get not one but both of the Dorito pieces out?

Frank picked up his cell phone, put on the flashlight app, and started laughing. “The mouse is sitting on the counter looking at me! Do you see him?”

I fumbled with my glasses and looked in the general direction I had heard the crunching coming from. I didn’t see anything at first — and then Mousie moved! And he was a big mouse! I know field mice are bigger than house mice, but this guy hadn’t missed a meal in weeks!

Okay, so now we could see him, but how to catch him? We weren’t sure he was even going to fit inside the small trap (and how did he get those Doritos out without tripping the trap??!!). Mousie had retreated behind the toaster oven, and neither of us was willing to reach in for him and entertain a bite. Then Mousie trotted along the back of the sink, behind my plant (where he stopped and stared at us again), and across and under the table. He had managed to make himself incognito again.

We decided to add a few more Doritos to the trap, turn out the light, and wait him out.

We lay there in the dark, listening intently. We heard the trap on the sink move as if Mousie had slid it a little bit. Silence again for a few minutes, then

SNAP!

I sat up and said, “I think we’ve caught a mouse!” On went the lights to find the second trap on the table closed. Frank carefully picked it up and said, “It feels heavier — I think you’re right!”

This was all going on at about 2 a.m., and neither of us was thrilled about tromping across the yard in the snowy dark to release the mouse, but I knew he couldn’t stay inside. We decided to set him and the trap just outside the barn door until morning, when we tromped across the yard and let the poor traumatized thing out. It’s unfortunate, but we don’t think he made it in the cold. Poor Mousie.

Last night was very, very quiet.

Now I have to do this all over again to catch the Mousie in my car. Yippee.

(P.S. The dog did not move during any of this. He slept serenely through the whole thing. So much for Schipperkes being great mousers.)