Living in the country has many advantages, but it also has some drawbacks. Some of the advantages are obvious, such as the space, the peace and quiet, the wildlife. Ah, the wildlife.
One never knows what will come wandering through the yard on any given day. White-tail deer, mule deer, moose, coyotes, elk, even the odd bear have all passed through at one time or another. The bag lady has also seen foxes, weasels, eagles, owls, hawks and many other birds. She feeds hummingbirds in the summer and has had American Kestrels nesting in her backyard for years. She has also seen mice. Now, the Bag Lady is not afraid of mice. She does not like mice, but she does not fear them. Mice are an inevitable part of country life. They love to nest in hay bales, and are constantly on the look out for a warm place with a ready supply of food.
One such little opportunist found his way into the Bag Lady’s house. The Bag Lady went into her pantry one morning for cereal for her breakfast and her bleary eyes fell upon a tiny shredded pile of cardboard.
Hmmm, says she to herself. Where did that come from? Casting a glance around, she spied some telltale droppings. Needless to say, the Bag Lady was not happy at this turn of events. She spent the entire day cleaning her rather large and overstuffed pantry.
This Herculean task consumed most of her day. It is astonishing how much damage one little mouse can do in a short time. The Bag Lady tossed several garbage bags worth of mangled packages of raisins, coconut, cracker boxes, etc. Mousie showed a great affinity for cornmeal and managed to spread that over one entire shelf.
Everything that was salvageable was washed with a bleach solution as was the entire interior of the pantry. The Bag Lady attached a strip of wood to the bottom of the pantry door in order to ensure Mousie couldn’t get back in, then replaced the food. The Bag Lady fell into bed in exhaustion.
The next morning, the Bag Lady inspected the pantry with an eagle eye. No sign of the mouse. But he had to still be in the house, so she concentrated her efforts on finding the intruder. Her eyes fell upon the stove. Hmmm. Opening the bottom drawer confirmed her suspicions. Now the Bag Lady is pissed. She takes everything out of the drawer and cleans it, then starts cleaning the rest of the oven. Pulls it out from the wall, inspects behind it, cleaning everything as she goes. She lifts the top of the stove to clean under the burners and spies a little pile of insulation sticking out of a hole. By this time, the monotony of cleaning has lulled her into a false sense of security and she mindlessly pokes her finger at the fluffy stuff. She practically levitates when the fluffy stuff pokes back!
Out of the hole scurries a little mouse. He dashes across the stove top and into a corresponding hole on the other side. The Bag Lady loses control of her senses and grabs a long metal fork – you know the type – wire, with a shaped handle on one end, a twist in the middle and two prongs for roasting wieners. She shoves this weapon down into the hole on the side of the oven and starts poking around. Somehow, the fork rounds the corner to the back of the stove and there is a sudden huge flash of light and a rather loud noise. The Bag Lady lets go of the fork with a yelp of surprise.
After she turns the electricity back on, she un-plugs the oven and manages to pry the fork off the wire it has welded itself to. Amazingly, the oven still works, so her husband suggests turning the oven on. Once it gets hot enough, the mouse is sure to leave. So the Bag Lady and the cowboy turn the oven on and sit down with a beer to watch the show.
Of course the phone rings, so the cowboy is talking to his buddy when the mouse finally scurries out of the oven. The phone is dropped to the counter and the chase is on. Much yelling and screaming (the cowboy IS afraid of mice) ensues, and 10 minutes later the mouse has been dispatched. Only then does the cowboy pick up the phone again. Much to his surprise, his buddy is still on the other end, laughing so hard he can barely talk.
Ah, life in the country.