Our Life



We’ve got a tiny farmer in the house. For about a month Bob and I have been noticing little piles of sunflower seeds in unusual places. At first we thought Bob had spilled a few seeds on his way outside to the bird feeders. The first pile that came to our attention was located atop the cabinet just inside the kitchen door. Some of the seeds were whole and some of them had been eaten and were just husks. But then, a few days later, I got up from the yoga mat with a sunflower seed stuck to my knee.

About the same time, we started hearing a mouse in the house. One night, I heard what sounded like something running laps around the hot tub in our bedroom. I got up and went in the other room to fetch my flashlight, came back and shone it into the tub. There was a big-eyed, chubby mouse, perched on the drain in the middle of the tub. I was half asleep, so all I could do was stare. The mouse stared back at me with big eyes and didn’t move a muscle.

Since then, we’ve seen a mouse run right across the room in broad daylight – twice across the kitchen and once across the living room. Bob did a little research and as far as we can tell we are dealing with a wood mouse. My mom said if you start seeing mice run across the room it’s because there are a few of them. Maybe they feel like they have you out numbered. We always assume there is only one and maybe this is the truth. Who can know?

A few nights later, I woke to the sound of a snapping mouse trap in the kitchen and jumped out of bed to investigate. There was a big, fat mouse sitting on the floor a foot from the trap. I put a bucket over it, slid the dustpan underneath and pulled the bucket off. The critter didn’t try to move off the dustpan. It just sat there, staring into space. So I took it and flung it outside.

Triumphantly, I went back to bed, sure the mouse would die outside in the night from the wounds that caused it to go into shock. The next day I searched for its carcass without success.

Lately, we’ve seen a few sunflower seedlings sprouting up in the potted plants. We know we didn’t plant sunflowers in the African Violets, so we can only assume it is the work of the mouse or mice. Strangely, the plants themselves have not been disturbed and there has not been any spilled potting soil. It is very mysterious, indeed.

The weirdest thing about all of this is that unlike other mice that have entered our home, this one has not gotten into the food or left mouse poop on the floor. What it does seem to enjoy is tearing out the fringes from the edges of our silk carpets. And, of course, planting and stashing sunflower seeds it’s brought in from the bird feeders. Bob noticed it had chewed some of the stuffing out of one of his shoes. I had a Western saddle in here for a few weeks and later found little bits of saddle fleece behind the stove.

At this point, we have no idea how to get rid of this mouse. It’s behavior is unlike any other mouse we’ve ever had in the house. It doesn’t seem interested in our food, so trying to entice it into a trap is futile. All the farmer mouse seems interested in is storing up seeds and nesting materials. Which leads us to believe that it must be a female. We may just have to get used to living with this strange little critter.

Yesterday I put my slippers on for the first time in a week and quickly took my foot out again. I had felt something strange under my toes, so I shook it down into the heel and here is what I saw:


By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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