I stared down at the half-full bucket of water on the barn floor. It was chock full of drowned mice! What in tarnation?
I hadn't been in the barn for awhile. I decided to get some work done, to weld up a dozen or so pheasants to sell for Christmas presents. I opened the big barn door to let light in. It's been so warm, I thought I might as well take advantage of the nice weather. I had a half full bucket of water (my cup is half full) sitting next to the hydrant. I use the water to cool down red-hot steel that I heat with the torch and bend. That's when I saw the drowned mice. Gross!
Using my cell phone, I took a picture of the watery grave, then dumped the bucket out on the ground and counted the mice. 25! I'm not kidding you. This was just a bucket of plain water. There was no elaborate walk-the-plank, over-a-trap-door, lured-by-a-peanut-butter mechanism that I've heard about. The mice had somehow climbed up the side of the plastic bucket, dove in, and drowned. Why? You got me. It had been pretty dry. Maybe they were thirsty?
I posted the gruesome picture on Facebook and got all kinds of questions about how did I do it. Seems there is a major mouse invasion going on everywhere. With the unusually warm weather we've have been having, mice have been entering garages and houses by droves. People did not believe that it was simply a bucket of plain water that captured the mice.
I put more water in the bucket and placed it back on the barn floor. The next day there were three more dead mice. The day after that, three more.
Then it rained, and the drownings stopped. So there you have it.
However, the barn wasn't the only place we were having mice problems. I'm an insurance salesman, do a lot of driving, and keep snack food in my car. I've always had mice problems in all of my vehicles. They can really do major damage! This year was no exception. So, I keep a baited mouse trap on the floor of the back seat. To date I've captured 16 mice—Sweet 16! Once again, I'm not kidding. Some days I catch two in one day! How do they get in cars? Do they climb up the tires? Ginnie says, “Give us this day our daily mouse!”
One morning when I checked, the mouse was still alive, having been snared by its hind quarters. I carried the trap-with-live-mouse in the house to spook Ginnie. It worked. Stormy, our male cat, was right there. Ginnie has always maintained that Stormy needed something to play with. Yep, you guessed it. I turned the mouse loose in the house and watched Stormy go for it. Ginnie freaked. “Get that mouse out of my house!” she yelled. I tried to grab it. The mouse bit me! I clamped a pot over it and got rid of the dang thing. Lesson learned: don't tease Ginnie with a live mouse.
Ginnie has a mouse trap in her car also. So far, she's only gotten one mouse. (She doesn't carry the snack food I do.) However, having seen mice in her garage—she has the heated garage—I put a bucket of water on the floor to see what would happen. Nada.
So, I dunno.
Last year I just about burned down the barn because there was a mouse nest in my welder. Now I check the welder before I use it. The mice have been trying to rebuild their nest, and I keep disposing of it.
And Stormy? He's hoping Santa will bring him another mouse for Christmas. He's been a nice cat.
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