Mouse Marketplace

I’ve lived in this house for 12 and 3/4 years. I’ve never had a mouse in my pantry. Ever. I catch a couple every fall in the closet by the dog food bin or under the kitchen sink. The last few years, I’ve seen almost none. I did a battle or two with shrew during that time, but never in the kitchen. Things have changed around here quite dramatically as of late, and not for the better.  The mice have found their way in. It isn’t pretty.

During my recent two week absence, the whole country mouse village has come to market in my pantry cupboard. And they have left their mark. In-the-shell pistachios seem to be a favorite, judging by the hole in the bag and the stash of empty shells filling my oatmeal bin. I don’t want to know how they got the lid off of that one. Some things just shouldn’t even be imagined. Pistachio shells are strewn across shelves, as are the inevitable droppings left by well-fed critters of the night. Chocolate footprints are smeared across dry goods containers and half-eaten cracker packages are left for unsuspecting lunch-packers. No, there’s nothing pretty about it.

I empty the pantry shelves, throw away the remnants of mouse market nights, place an already contaminated bag of pistachios on each shelf, and strategically place traps along the trail of leavings. The mice have obviously been coming through the uncovered electrical outlet (pistachio wedged between box and wall serves as exhibit A). I go to bed and hope for full traps in the morning. Awake in the night, I inwardly raise a triumphant cheer at the sound of mouse clattering and chattering. These critters are silent and stealthy unless trapped. Imagine my rejoicing this morning on discovering two full traps, bringing the count to 3 mice who will no longer feed in my storehouse. But as I was still basking in the glory of my victory, a friend sent me this heart-tugging video:

I sniff. And then giggle. I have only two thoughts: Good thing I don’t keep cheese in my pantry, and I’m so glad I use sticky traps!

I am not cruel. I let mice live in the out-of-doors, happy to find them in a cats paw now and then, I admit. But after 12 and 3/4 years, I’m a bit set in my ways. I’d like my pantry to belong to me, to reach in for some rice or nuts without fear they’ve been nabbed out from under me. I refuse to let mice carry on in my oatmeal. I’m determined to reverse this change-for-the-worse, and bring back the pretty to my pantry.


©2014 Erika Rice