26 January 2014

The Great Mouse Saga, Part 3 -- The End of the Story (Hopefully)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

We ended last time with The Great Mouse chase through the house and thought we might be lucky enough to have only been dealing with the one mouse.  We still couldn't figure out how he got in the house, but we had some ideas.  Maybe Simba brought him in and he got away and went into the heater vent to escape.  That would explain the scratching and the poo in one of those vents.  And he came up from the vent under my desk because the heater was on that morning and it got too hot for him.

Yeah.  That's it.  It's a theory and if you have one better, let's hear it.

There were no more mice as there were no more evidence of mice.

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A few days later there was scratching and squeaking coming from the corner of the office/craft room and Leia was loosing her shit over it.  I thought another mouse got into the house and this time got himself behind all the totes full of fabric I have in the corner.  So I moved them all out. All 6 of them - most of which are a bit heavy.  I grabbed a flashlight to look behind the craft shelves and was able to finally determine that the squeaking and scratching was coming from inside the wall.  



Have you met my dog chicken, Leia?  That dog freaks out over crumbled paper and electrical cords - can you imagine her reaction to the scratching and squeaking in the wall?! Great. Now, take what you are imagining and multiple it by at least two more levels of her freaking the frick out. 

She would slowly stalk up to the wall, low growling with her hackles raised and tensed for immediate flight if The Noise fought back when an extra loud scratch or squeak would come and she'd bark like mad while running to hide behind me with her tail between her legs.

The poor, poor silly thing. 

Those squeaks were LOUD! Like maybe the mouse was stuck or hurt, or drunk and calling all his friends over for a party. I don't know.  All I know is I couldn't get the dog to stop barking at the wall and the Goddamn cats were nowhere to be found.  Lazy Bastards.

I eventually found Timmy and woke his majesty from his slumber to put him on guard patrol just in case I was wrong and the mouse was in the house.  He sniffed at the wall and batted at it a few times so I took that as confirmation of the mouse in the wall.

On the other side of the "mouse wall" is the kitchen and the dishwasher.  Robert pulled the dishwasher out in case the mouse was behind that instead of in the wall.  It wasn't. Good news, aside from a rather small amount of dust and dog hair considering what I was expecting to be behind the dishwasher, it was relatively clean back there and I vacuumed what was there out so...positive.
Deciding there was no more procrastination to be had, Robert finally went under the house. He didn't want to (and I don't blame him) and was avoiding it.  He didn't see the mouse, nor mouse poos under the house and the squeaking soon stopped.  Maybe the mouse got unstuck or moved on or died in the wall.  We don't have a stink coming in so I'm going with the belief it went away.

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Leia likes to follow us into the garage.  In the spring and summer we go out that way to get tools for working in the yard and working in the yard leads to playing with Leia.  In the winter, she runs around the garage while we get what we need from the freezer or pantry shelves and then bounces back up the stairs into the house all happy she got to do something and was helpful to us.

She followed me out to the garage one day and instead of bouncing around she went straight for the pantry shelves and started sniffing around.  I moved a pet food bag on the bottom shelf (which is about 3/4-inch from the floor) and swore I heard a squeak.  I took her inside, grabbed Robert, a flashlight and Simba (for mouse retrieval) and went after the mouse I thought was there.

We found mouse poos and found a hole in the bottom of the cat food bag - but no mouse.  Simba didn't spend much time sniffing around so we figured the mouse got away or was long gone.  We opened the food bag, determined it wasn't contaminated and sealed it up - the pet food now goes on the top pantry shelf.  We did find an area behind the furnace that is a small hole that could lead to the crawl space under the house and that could be an entry point for a mouse, so we went and got a few mouse traps and set them around the garage.

The mouse traps are still out there, unused and untriggered in the slightest - just waiting for any mice to return.

It's been a bit over a month now since our last mouse-related incident, and so hopefully it truly is the end of the story. . .

19 January 2014

The Great Mouse Saga, Part 2

Read Part 1.

We left off with Robert deciding to take a look under the house for mouse entry points into the house and/or heater vent system.

But before he could get around to it, Simba had a little adventure.
I was working away one morning, tapping along on the keyboard. Simba kept annoying me by trying to get behind my desk and sort of in a corner next to the desk.  I thought he brought a snake in the house again (though it was late in the year for snakes) so I went to do a catch and release.

It was a mouse.

I squeaked as it ran at me.  I was not afraid of the mouse; it startled me. And the kids came running to see what the commotion was about.  My squeaking over a mouse amused them.

Simba grabbed it and started to wander off down the hall.  Adam and I tried to get Simba outside with his prize because I didn't want a half-eaten mouse hidden somewhere in the house for me to play "find the stink" with.  He then dropped the mouse on his way outside and Leia dove after it as it ran under the bench in the entry way.  The mouse ran away from her and was quickly caught by Simba and almost as quickly dropped again.  Mousie then ran under the couch.  I lifted the couch and the cat caught it again and ran to the kitchen and dropped it by the pet food dishes.  The mouse stopped moving so the cat lost the last bit of interest he had and was starting to walk away. I thought the mouse was dead and I grabbed a paper towel (to minimize germs) and I went to pick the mouse up to toss.

It was not dead and moved when I touched it.  I squeaked again.  Again, from surprise.  But again, this amused my children to no end.

Mouse jumped into Yoda's food bowl and held still.  I took bowl, mouse, and cat outside and released the mouse on the porch for Simba to finally finish his meal game in peace.

Simba wandered off . . .

I thought - whatever, the damn thing is outside and I have to go back to work and left it at that.  

Robert then finally emerges from his room.  After I explained what the kids were trying to tell him all at once - with the main point of their story being "and mom squeaked!" - he checked the porch and found Simba with his paw in one of my outside shoes (that were left on the porch covered in mud from the barn) and in the toe of that shoe - the mouse.  

He humanely took care of that mouse who probably would have passed anyways being he had ran all over and been in a cat's mouth at least 4 times that morning.

To be continued . . . . 

15 January 2014

More Hummingbird Photos

Just because they're cute and I'm pretty happy with them.  Especially this poofy little guy.

12-06-13 (52) Edit

12-06-13 (36) Edit

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12 January 2014

The Great Mouse Saga, Part 1

A few months ago, Robert watched Simba lazily follow a mouse across the driveway; batting at it a few times when it stopped moving, but still allowing it to just meander away from him.  And then it went under the garage door (there is a teensy gap on one side because of the slope allowing for drainage).  Robert opened the garage door and Simba sniffed around for the mouse a little bit, but that was it.  The mouse was in the house/garage.  We figured since there wasn’t a way for it to get inside or have access to food to welcome it to the garage, it would probably leave on its own in search for food.
A few weeks go by and we heard some scratching in the heater vents and concluded the mouse found a way under the house and/or into the vents and possibly invited a friend or two (but not sure how they got there).  

After getting Leia to stop barking at the vent (which was only because the mouse stopped scratching) we ignored it.  A few days or a week pass and Simba becomes REALLY interested in the vent in the laundry room.  He kept sneaking into the room and I'd have to shoo him out to close the door - rinse and repeat the entire day (I was doing laundry). We didn't hear or see anything and thought nothing of it.... until Leia started barking at the vent.  I opened the vent up and found some fluff and debris (nest-like material possibly) and a couple mouse poos. We cleaned that vent out, checked a few more (and found dirt and dust but no mouse evidence) and then gave up for the night.  (And dude do we have to remember to open up the intake vent more often - there was so much dust and pet hair in there!)
Still – how in the world did they get into the heater system? 

Robert declared he would go under the house to make sure there was no access for them there because we couldn't figure out how else they were getting in there.  

To be continued. . . .

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