Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This means war.

I love living in the country.  I grew up on a farm and have lived out from town almost all of my life.  I love birds and animals, reptiles and amphibians.  I love fish and even bugs.  I feel like my animals here trust me and consider me part of the flock, pack, herd, warren, nest.  But now, I am at war.

Over the years, I have grown to understand the ways of animals.  They look for food, shelter and safety.  They look for places to raise their young.  I don't eat persimmons much or clover so I share them with the deer.  And I certainly don't mind the fish, frogs and birds eating mosquitos and other annoying insects.  I even tolerate spiders nowadays because I have read about their diet.  Snakes are my constant companions, I pamper them and encourage them to eat one of the staples of their diet: MICE.  Why?  Because mice are the enemy!  

I have mice in my vehicles.  One day my daughter and I were driving down the road and she looked up and screamed, "A mouse!"  He was sitting on the dashboard between us, casually enjoying the ride.  When she screamed he took a flying Wallenda and hit the back seat.  We bought mouse traps on the way home.  You understand these things, you learn to adapt.  But, as I said, now we are at war.  The rodent population has stepped up its invasion and like any super power, I must escalate my weaponry and tactics also.  Here is my side of the story.

In December I ran out and hopped in my car to meet my son for lunch on his way to my house.  When I turned the key, the dash lit up like a Christmas tree.  How can the 4WD be on?  What do all these lights mean?  Check engine light...NOW!  I carefully drove my car to the mechanic and he had a look under the hood.  He said it looked like a gang of mice had enjoyed a party bringing every kind of snack they could grab.  They didn't stop there, they turned to the hard stuff.  They ate my wires.  My mechanic has researched this problem and he said the car makers use a soy based substance to coat the wires.  Unfortunately this makes them really tasty.  Oh, my goodness!

Sigh.  He fixed it with the strong suggestion I get a cat.   Or buy poison.  Now the trouble with that is they eat it, crawl off into some other part of the car and die.  And then smell terrible for a very long time.  I know this from personal experience.  I put mouse traps all over the car and even put them in the engine compartment.  But last week when I hopped in the car again to run to town nothing happened at all when I turned the key.  This time the dash board lit up like a neon sign outside a seedy motel, and that was exactly what I had, a very "Seedy" motel for mice and their older friends, the ground squirrels.  And this time they made sure their new residence wasn't going any place soon.  This time they ate the wires that motivate the transmission.  

My insurance lady understood, she has had mice in her car too.  And she keeps hers in the garage so that didn't stop them.  I had a very fun and interesting conversation with the regional claims adjuster last night.  She was very helpful and understanding but I could feel her thinking I must live in some wild and terrible jungle.  No, I said, just southern Indiana in the woods.  She, along with all of my friends have given me great suggestions for keeping these animals out of my car.  My snakes are hibernating so they won't help, but my dogs can have time in the front yard to make their presence known and leave their marks all around the car.  I plan on keeping the traps set and a can of that stuff ready that you put on your bushes so the deer don't eat them ready to sprinkle around my car every time I exit it.  I sprayed that no chew stuff all over the engine last night.  I even bought a live trap.   I love my animals, but I need my car.

I love living in the country, with all the challenges and gifts that it presents.  I must admit however, it is time for some target practice.  

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