Sunday, 21 March 2010

The Girl

The Girl and I spent part of the day making the rounds -- FADA's Bia Linn garden, the library, a meeting for FADA's food club -- but the family spent most of the day working in the garden. I fished three wheelbarrows of large stones out of the mud, re-staked the trees we planted and hacked away at the ground elder, a pernicious weed that threatens to spread before we can get things planted.

I explained this to The Girl and asked for her assistance; I appreciate child labour. She became a devoted seeker of ground elder, and soon I found her pounding away at some with her toy rake, saying, "Take that, you naughty ground elder!", finally sticking out her tongue and blowing a rapsberry at it.


We found our first mouse in the new house today. I don't think it's the builders' fault; I think it snuck in yesterday when The Girl left the back door open -- which hopefully means there's just one.

Rodents are one of many reasons I cannot share the enthusiasm of certain doomers for a complete return to primeval wilderness, even were such a thing possible; let's face it, the natural world has lots of little things that bite and carry disease. We want to cultivate a natural world we can live in, with space for wild land, plots of managed gardens, and comfortable human homes that we can seal off.

I do not desire a cat, but we will be setting up traps. Anyone have other suggestions?


Overheard in the playground in the last few minutes:

"Pretend I'm a polar bear and you need to rescue me?"

"Come on, everyone! Let's rescue the animals in trouble!"

A few moments later ....

"Thanks, Captain Amazing! What is our next mission?"

Are kids getting more ecologically-minded, or is this just The Girl leading the group?

Photo: The Girl and the neighbour's cat.


Cecelia said...

Here in the land of "Create Barriers that protect you from all contact with the natural world" otherwise known as the US we have these nifty mouse killers that the mouse goes into and gets crunched and then a door closes so you can dispose of the crunched mouse without actually having to see it. This prevents any sense of guilt over killing Mickey Mouse's cousin.

I advise against any use of poison - my cousin had laid out baited traps and sometime there after his child was vomiting etc - lab tests revealed the mouse poison had been ingested by child - seems the mice figured out how to escape the baited trap - had poison on their bodies - and got into foods leaving the poison behind. The minute amounts were enough to make the baby sick.

I find cats to be essential for country life - only suicidal mice venture into a house with cats and even those are soon dispatched.

Then there is stuffing steel wool in those little spaces where the pipes, wiring etc come into the house.

Amanda said...

I tolerate all creatures and even love some! I had a mouse for a pet when I was a teenager. Her name was Annabel and I could get her to do tricks like fetch and she would roll back an empty thread container. I wouldn’t use poisons, Its bad for you and The girl. Plus you have to think that if a friend brought their children into your home they could get sick to.

I would recommend something like RIDDEX a digital pest remover. You plug it into your wall and it covers an entire floor. I have heard good reviews of it and thought about getting one myself due to a neighbor issue last summer with yucky bugs.

Brian Kaller said...

Thanks, Cecelia and Amanda, for the suggestions. As it happens, the point is moot for the moment -- I caught the mouse last night.

I agree with you both about using poison, and that cats can be useful for these purposes, although I prefer not to have one myself until it's necessary.

Amanda, does the "digital" device you mentioned create a sound inaudible to humans?

Tegan said...

I've had those sound emitters that are supposed to only be heard by mice, but I have to admit I usually hear them too and they drive me crazy.

cecelia said...

Amanda's mouse story is amazing - of course the problem is birth control - if they are loose in your house you can be swamped in no time at all.

The digital device sounds like a sonic wave emitter - the FTC just issued a warning to manufacturers of these devices about false advertising claims - they only work under very specific circumstances and you need a lot of them to provide the intensity of coverage necessary to make them work. And of course there are the usual concerns about negative side effects on humans, pregnant women etc. They are inaudible to humans but affect birds etc

I get mice especially due to all the farm fields near my home when it gets colder and so I deal with it by 1) food in sealed containers and no cat/dog food dishes left out all day 2) steel wool those little spaces every year it will help 3)they nest in places you do not disturb so a cleaning schedule that assures you get into things like drawers, cabinets, spaces behind furniture stove, refrigerator etc frequently will keep them on the move and make your home inhospitable to them.

I had a raccoon get in thru an unused dryer vent - that was an adventure. But the best story - my friend came home to a bear happily sitting on her kitchen floor chomping on a box of oreo's, Now there is a real pest removal problem.

Brian Kaller said...


Thanks for the tips -- I hadn't heard of the steel wool trick. I haven't seen any more evidence of mice, so I hope it was just one that wandered in when the door was open, but even so, it probably won't be the last time.

That's impressive, finding a bear in your home -- that tops any of my stories.

I did have a friend who snuggled up in bed with her cat one night, and then remembered that her cat had died. She turned on the light, she and the opossum looked at each other, screamed simultaneously and flung themselves out of bed in opposite directions. She eventually shooed it out.