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.