Friday, March 20, 2009

"you're a little low on the food chain to be mouthing off"


When Enviro-Girl and her family moved to the country, she was unprepared for the infestation of pestilence that is common in new houses. She should've expected it--their construction disrupted a huge space in the middle of an alfalfa field. All of the displaced bugs and critters would have to find new habitats. Enviro-Girl spent the first summer coping with swarms of mosquitoes, flies, wasps, ants and some microscopic crawly bug that ate mildew according to the lady at the exterminator's office. Without birds, bats or frogs to help keep these populations in check, they infiltrated every crack, crevice and cranny of Enviro-Girl's pretty new house.

She spent hours that first summer with her vacuum cleaner and newspapers--swatting at the flies in windows and whisking away the carnage. She baited traps for ants and scrubbed the tile floors daily. She did this in the midst of a muddy field covered in grass seed and straw--whatever spare time she had when not killing bugs, she spent it cleaning up the mud clumps Mr. T dragged in.

One fair morning she spied a baby mouse in the flower bed by their garage door and mentioned it to Mr. D over supper that night. "You'll want to get a hose and flush out the whole nest, Enviro-Girl," Mr. D cautioned. "We don't want mice--just kill them now before they are old enough to leave the nest."

"But they're babies!" Enviro-Girl gasped in horror. She couldn't kill baby mice. They were half blind yet, innocent and dependent on their mother who Enviro-Girl thought Mr. D had killed earlier that week. Enviro-Girl was certain the baby mice would toddle off to the nearby field as soon as they got a little older and that would be the end of them. Besides, she was 6 months pregnant with Mr. B--her maternal instinct was stronger than her fight instinct.

The next day while working the flower bed she spied the baby mouse. Trapping it with a trowel and bucket, she carried it, squealing and screaming (the mouse, not Enviro-Girl) far into the field and flung it into the weeds. The mouse spun through the air, tiny balls of poop expelling from it's hindquarters while it flew far into it's new habitat. Enviro-Girl felt bad, but really, that baby mouse belonged in the field with it's cousins and kin. It would be fine.

Twenty minutes later another baby mouse crawled through her flower bed. Enviro-Girl trapped it with trowel and bucket and hiked it out to the field, telling the mouse to join it's brother. Or sister. And live in peace. She repeated the process with a third baby mouse another half hour later.

Fifteen minutes after Enviro-Girl had carried the third baby mouse to it's new habitat, yet another baby mouse came creeping along the wall of the garage. Enviro-Girl called Mr. D. "You're doing what?" he yelled into her ear. "Enviro-Girl, they have like 7 babies at a time. They'll be ready to breed within 2 months. By fall there'll be 20 mice out there--not counting the ones inbreeding with their cousins out in the field."

Enviro-Girl hung up and went back outside and found that baby mouse blindly groping it's way along the edge of the garage wall. She grabbed a rake and nudged it to the side of the driveway. She no longer saw a wee innocent creature. She saw the future--generations of mice who'd overrun the field and squirm into her garage and basement. Mice who'd eat their way through her gardens and breed like crazy. Closing her eyes, Enviro-Girl brought the rake down with a quiet thud, crushing the baby mouse. Mortified, she opened her eyes and watched it wiggle. She thumped it again with the rake. Then she grabbed a shovel and really took a whack at it. When the deed was done, she swallowed her nausea and scooped the carcass onto the shovel and carried it to the field where three of that baby mouse's siblings were scurrying through the grass.

The mouse tally at the end of the day: 3 living, 4 crushed to death by Enviro-Girl's shovel. Nature is a cruel place, populations are kept in check through the constant battle of predator and prey. It's about survival of the fittest and Enviro-Girl's instincts were to kill and dominate--she's at the top of the food chain in her ecosystem.

30 comments:

  1. Haha.

    It's hard to think of killing "babies" sometimes, but there are certain specifies we each have to learn to get past that idea for :)

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  2. Yuck. But I understand. But yuck.

    But I understand.

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  3. I'm all about the "fight or flight" part of nature; when I see anything mouseish, I move.

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  4. Aww. I used to have mice as pets when I was little. *sniff, sniff*

    But... I guess I understand. The hubby always says I would never had made it growing up on a farm. ;)

    I love Ice Age. :)

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  5. Oh gosh, I just don't think I could do that - and I grew up on a farm. I actually saved a baby skunk recently, and my husband was very unhappy with me.

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  6. Yuck. But, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

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  7. Blech. The first year we lived in this house we had a major mice infestation. It happened to our whole neighborhood (yeah, even all the fancy schmancy doctor houses! ha!) We plugged every crack in the house and every fall DOTR gets super duper rat poison for the crawl spaces. The gross part is that every year it's all gone....which means they were there. I'm just glad I didn't know about it!

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  8. There is not much harm I can do to a mouse while standing and screaming on top of a chair.

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  9. Wow, that's rough.

    There's nothing like looking deep into your soul and knowing that, when it comes down to it, you could kill something. I'm that way with bugs. Fine outside, but Lord help them if they come inside.

    Hubby is my go-to guy for mammals, though. It must be the warm blood and the fur. I just get the willies if I have to deal with them.

    So I don't. Instead I call, "Ho-ney! There's something you need to DEAL with!"

    He knows just what that means. ;)

    - Julia

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  10. I don't think farm living is for me :(

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  11. Holy SHITake mushroom, there would be a FOR SALE sign in my front Yard!

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  12. Holy SHITake mushroom, there would be a FOR SALE sign in my front Yard!

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  13. Hate, hate, hate mice!!!!!! I'm so sorry you had to go through that, but at least they're gone.

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  14. I grew up in the country surrounded by cornfields. We used to get mice in the cupboards in the winter. Dad would always have traps set. He'd get really excited whenever a trap would snap (it's quite loud). We used to be very careful pulling out the Captain Crunch!

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  15. We've had mouse issues in our "elderly" home in the city. In fact, mousies are a major reason we pay an exterminator to come in once a month to set traps and spray for bugs, even though I'm not a fan of nasty chemicals.

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  16. Loving this post!!

    And urban-girl here has been living with rat wholes the size of Canada next to my front walk-way for 7 years. and mice. and an ant infestation that last 364 days of the year (they take one day off to lay eggs??). Hate them all.

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  17. Poop flying through the air might be enough to get me to do the dastardly deed

    ....

    I'm just saying.

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  18. Last summer I battled ants. This year it's drain flies. Ugh. Better than the termites that ate the insides of our walls. My philosophy: bugs and vermin should live their lives in peace--OUTSIDE my house.

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  19. I feel the same way whenever I hear the tell-tale SNAP of a trap in the quiet of night. This house isn't big enough for ALL of us!

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  20. It is unhappy job....but necessary. It is not like you can neuter and spay mice. Same with deer...legal hunting is population management.

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  21. Good for you, Melissa! I have a daily fight in and around my little trailer with ants, and formerly, roaches. A constant battle. But, if you don't be hard on them, they will be crawling all over you!

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  22. I am dying of laughter. Envirogirl is my hero. I grew up with mice in the country. UGH!

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  23. I've a good solution...take the dog and cat to the nest...then they can have some 'canapes'!!!!

    This was when I had to deal with them -

    http://domestic-hiss.blogspot.com/2007/11/chainsaw-massacre.html

    Hope you are having a good weekend
    H

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  24. I used to make EB relocate them for me. I would make him crazy, but I made him drive a mile down the road and drop them off.

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  25. Hate mice. Lulu the cat catches and eats them, leaving their noses and whiskers behind on the bathroom mat, so that's the first thing I see in the morning. Good cat! But pretty gruesome. I wash a lot of bathroom mats.

    At least you don't have a tarantula problem...

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  26. I just don't know if I could have done it... once again you prove yourself to be more of a woman than me.

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  27. Our killer instinct usually involves reptiles rather than rodents. One of these days I'll blog about the badness of a dull hoe and a big snake.

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Spill it, reader.