December 6, 2011

Mouse in a hole
Check your outbuildings—and even your farm equipment—for mouse nests.

I appreciate mice and their place in the ecosystem. I just wish they didn’t want my place, too. I try to mouse-proof the house, but every year a few get in. Outbuildings are often more of a problem. Without daily use, it’s easy for mice to make inroads, enlarging a pinhole, storing food and building a nest.

I try to stop them before they go too far because I actually admire them. I really hate to throw out a completed nest or a hard-won food supply, especially as winter approaches. I do it, but I don’t enjoy it. That may sound ridiculous, but bare with me.

Most people seem to hate mice. I think it’s because they are so much like us. They spoil perfectly good food, clothes or whatever they get into. They take advantage of whatever resource is at their disposal, whether it is earned or found, and leave messes wherever they’ve been. Generally speaking, they are everything we were in the hunter-gatherer stage and, frankly, are how too many of us are today.

What does this have to do with tools? The other day we got our first heavy snowfall. I retrieved my ATV and snowblade from the hoop house, but I hadn’t gone far before recognizing a familiar aroma. I removed the seat, and there over the battery was a well-built mouse nest. I cleaned it out with compressed air and finished the job. The next morning I checked the ATV. The hardworking critters had already rebuilt half a nest. Out it went, and the seat stayed off. I hope that will discourage the critters, but we’ll see. Like mankind, mice are stubborn and often don’t learn from their mistakes.

Whether you like mice or not, remember to check your outbuildings and exposed vehicles. You, too, may have guests.

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