A lovely surprise, and an unwelcome visitor


Raymond and I arrived at the Manse a short while ago, on a dark and stormy – well, rainy, anyway – night. As we hurried to unload the car without getting too drenched, what a nice surprise it was to discover a gift on the front porch: a pot of mums, in orange and gold harvest colours. We don’t know who this lovely gift came from, but I hope we find out this weekend so we can say thank-you properly. For now: thank you!

The white thing on the right, plugged into an outlet, is one of several at the Manse. They are supposed to help keep mice away, and it seemed to be working until …

The flip side of our arrival was the discovery in the pantry of some mouse droppings. People had told us early on in our Manse adventure that lots of houses in the area have problems with mice, which explained the funny-looking things plugged into a lot of the outlets in the house: they apparently give off a sound at a high frequency that mice don’t like. And we thought they were working, because once we cleaned up some elderly mice droppings when we first came to the place, no more appeared. Until tonight. There weren’t a lot, but still: it is definitely not what you want to find.

And then came the icing on the cake: as I was depositing in the trash bin the paper towels I’d used to clean things up, I thought I spotted some movement across the room. Had something just darted behind the fridge?

Indeed it had. And it darted back out again just as quickly. Not only do we have mouse poop; we have the pooper. Mouse scampered away to parts unknown and we had no luck rousting him out; we had thought maybe we could steer him outdoors by using the broom, but no dice. Clearly Mouse is familiar with all the hidey-holes this old house must have.

So I guess tomorrow will include a trip to the hardware store to buy some mousetraps. And as I type this I realize by the sound of wings in the ceiling light overhead that the ladybugs are back in full force too now that the colder weather has arrived. Oh joy.

With an old house, it’s always something.

But at least we have a bright pot of mums to cheer us up!

9 thoughts on “A lovely surprise, and an unwelcome visitor

  1. we tried using those ultrasonic things at the cottage. the mice seem to have adapted. is it genetic? the breed fast enough. anyway, we need a new strategy next year. but when we went up to close the cottage last weekend, we discovered the fridge breaker had tripped, which also shut off the power to the ultrasonic mouse deflector. needless to say, mouse poop EVERYWHERE! And the little buggers had eaten through the plastic lid of a peanut butter jar and dived in to chow down, pooping all the way. Ew. Unsure what value mice have in the food chain. feel we could do with less of them

    • That’s one yucky mouse yarn, Doug! But it suggests to me that, even though you thought the ultrasonic things weren’t doing much good, they really were, given the mayhem that ensued when the power to them went off. On another matter, it seems to me – and I’d be interested to know if you find this too – that mice are a larger problem now than they used to be. I don’t recall there being widespread mice-in-the-house problems in Queensborough in my childhood. Have we humans managed to mess up the mouse situation along with the rest of the environment, I wonder?

      • Yes, they seem to be. Bolder. Bigger. We had one climb down a wall in the cottage headfirst while we were watching – AND THE CAT WAS IN THE ROOM – and it didn’t blink one of its big round eyes. And now the red squirrels are invading the place and pushing all the throw rugs around. Interesting to watch the changes. The bats are gone (thanks to white nose fungus), the mice are bigger, the squirrels are much bolder. I’m beginning to feel like a minority up there!

      • Maybe you just need to spend more time there and show the critters who’s boss! Of course, knowing your busy schedule, I can see how that wouldn’t be so easy. Two thoughts: one, that is one unobservant cat; and two, I must look into white nose fungus, which I know nothing about. On one of our tours of the Manse prior to buying it, a dessicated bat was found in the old bedroom of my sister and me, but mercifully there has been no bat activity since – though because of that discovery, I do worry. Is white nose fungus a bad thing?

      • White Nose Fungus [or what now seems to be called White Nose Syndrome – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_nose_syndrome –] is a very bad thing. It has decimated bat populations from the northern states through Quebec and parts of Ontario and beyond. And that means…. more mosquitoes, which bats eat by the shovelful. The wikipedia entry says some bat species have suffered 95% mortality. And there doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do about it. I’ve seen reports that surviving bat populations in Vermont are now more rabid than normal, so I don’t know if there’s some kind of link. But we haven’t seen a bat at the lake for the last two years. In defence of the cat, that was her last visit to the cottage. She was very old and ended hr days at the vet a few months later. No energy to expend on some stupid mouse.

      • That is interesting and alarming, Doug. I have fond memories of the bats swooping overhead being part of the evening landscape when we and all the neighbourhood kids would play baseball or tag or something on the front lawn of the Manse on summer nights. But now that you mention it, I haven’t seen a single (live) bat since we’ve been there. And there have been more mosquitoes than I remember too. Oh dear …

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