Living in the country has many wonderful aspects. I love it, I really do. I’m a city girl by birth and my husband moved me to the country about 30 years ago. I admit that at first I was just a little nervous about the strange sounds — the herds of geese that waddled by our window, honking, for example. The squirrels on the roof playing soccer with nuts and rocks were a little startling, too. But overall, I’ve adjusted fairly well. It only took about…well, okay, I’m still adjusting, but it’s not my fault. There are creatures in the country that are more than startling, they’re downright alarming.
Case in point, bats. Bats who get in some small crack or hole in the chimney and swoop into your darkened bedroom. This has happened — several times. They are alarming and difficult to get returned outdoors.
Then there are snakes. Snakes, my husband tells me, are harmless and good for your gardens. Maybe, but I don’t enjoy taking a stroll and having to skirt around slithering little beasts. Fortunately, this has only happened one or two times.
Spiders are another thing. We grow ‘em big out here, as big as your fist. They seem to enjoy biting me, especially, rather than other people. So you can see why I’m still adjusting.
Most people find mice rather offensive. I don’t mind the mice themselves, as I am actually not alarmed or startled by them. I think they’re kind of cute. What isn’t cute is finding little droppings in my silverware drawer and in my pots and pans. So over the years, we’ve done just about everything you can imagine to let the mice know our house is not a good place for them.
We put out traps each night. We have a cat. She sits and stares under the refrigerator or stove for hours and hours. Then she proudly drags the mouse, in the trap, to my feet. I don’t like this either. So the other day, I chased the cat who was holding a trap with a dead mouse around the kitchen, yelling “drop it.” It didn’t work, I finally had to pick up the cat and toss her, the mouse, and the trap outside. (Note: getting mice off the trap and disposed of properly is a chore assigned to my husband).
This was the day after I had read an article about getting rid of mice by spraying your baseboards with a mix of peppermint oil and water. The article said it would keep both mice and spiders away (hurrah!), plus make your house smell great. Well, the mouse showed up and dragged around the kitchen by the cat, so the peppermint didn’t seem to affect it. What it did do was make our floor really slippery and attracted ants. Plus, the aroma was not actually pleasant…more medicinal.
So now I have to go buy more mouse traps, candles, floor cleaner, and ant traps. Yep, this country adjustment is still a work in progress.
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Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.