I went outside this afternoon to clip some rosemary and thyme for a lamb dish I’m making for dinner. As I stepped out on the kitchen door stoop, I saw a little gray something skitter underneath one of the planks that are the stepping-stones of my newly tilled vegetable garden. Curious, I turned the plank over and saw a small mouse.

It was big-eyed and big-eared and clearly a youngster. Had I been the big, tough gardener and householder I pretend to be, I would have stomped it or kicked it or otherwise disposed of it. I didn’t. What I did do was talk to it (“you little dummy, what are you doing in my garden?”) while it tremblingly decided what to do. Eventually it decided to run right at me.

Fortunately, it didn’t run very fast or very well. As I said, it was a young’un – all head, eyes and tail, the latter with an endearing kink in it. It made its klutzy way between my feet (I obligingly stepped out of the way or I think it would have run right into my shoe) and found a haven in the crack behind the bottom step of the concrete stoop. Then, it poked its head out and looked at me.

“Little dummy,” I said, “if you’re going to make good your escape, you shouldn’t tempt me by looking out at me. I’m going to walk around to the herb garden and get my thyme and rosemary. When I come back, I don’t want to see whisker nor kinky tail of you, and if you’re smart, you’ll make sure I never see you again. You’re uncomfortably close to the inside part of my house, and while I will tolerate you outside, within my sanctum sanctorum you are unwelcome. A word to the wise, mousie.” Whiskers, eyes and nose retreated into the crack, and I made my trip to the herb garden. On my return, there was no sign of the mouse.

I hope it stays out of my sight. I have no qualms about using traps or poisons, but I don’t relish the job. This is the third mouse I’ve seen in about two weeks – one dead one near the front walk, one perched in the pickets of the side gate, and now this one. The crack behind the kitchen stoop was formerly occupied by chipmunks, and I can only surmise that something has happened to them and these mice have taken over the vacancy (I hope not; I’m very fond of my chippies). Maybe the red foxes who’ve been seen in the neighborhood will take care of the problem; there’s also the odd sharp-shinned hawk on the occasional fly-by. I would rather let nature take its course than have to resort to mousiecide.


  1. Joan L.

    Don’t play with no mousies, because they are nearly impossible to get rid of. I speak from experience. I had a mouse problem last summer/fall and I don’t know how many I had, but they were destructive. One very persistent one got into my kitchen, INSIDE my stove and pulled out as much of the insulation from the stove as he could. He traveled through my kitchen drawers and cabinets, scoffing and skipping merrily past the poison and sticky traps. He once even pooed significantly on one of the sticky traps as if to say “that to you!” The mouse/mice also made a few guest appearances in my linen closet, and (shudder) under my bed pillows where it left me a few nighty night poos. The only way I got rid of them was by setting off three bug bombs in the crawl space under my house and setting off more inside my house (one in each room), all simultaneously (my wonderful boyfriend was the one who instructed me to do so and he was right). It worked, and no mice since. If you see any poo in your house (drawers, under the sink, etc.) run, don’t walk to the pet store and get the bombs you use for flea infestation.Mice suck. ‘Nuff said.

  2. Mairi

    I’m not a gardener, nor, indeed am I particularly domesticated, however I don’t envy you this problem. Are mice more or less offesnsive than rats? Mice always sound much nicer – shades of Mickey and Stuart Little. Mice are immediately more comic than rats. How destructive can they be? Or are they merely unpleasant? Somehow, I feel inclined to say, Donna, well done for giving your mouse some sort of avenue for escape. If it comes back, you can always remind him/her that you did everything to avoid a messy situation before you have to do your worst.

  3. Tony Westbrook

    I think that is just so cute. I agree if they are outside in nature let nature take it’s course. But as has been mentioned, when they cross the line..WAR!I still get a kick out of the rats on the subway tracks. I’ve only actually seen a few, and every time they are picking up the trash that some human a****** threw down there. They are just doing their job. Now if only we could get them to eat pigeon poop..but even RATS don’t eat that stuff. UGHThe circle stops there!

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