rr stuart

Don Stuart. columnist. 2003

This week we wander into my yard yet again, for further confrontations with nature's tooth and claw.

First, a couple of outdoor updates. My woefully substandard birdhouse is still meeting local bluebird standards; a second pair is raising a brood there, after the original twosome successfully sent its chicks out into the world, traded high-fives on becoming empty nesters, and retired to a nice condo in Sarasota.

Also, my lawn continues to show brazen and insolent contempt for me and my primitive reel mower by growing madly, despite my long and vehement lectures not to.

With my recent spate of outdoorsy columns, you might think I spend all my time outside. My family certainly seems to think so, which has resulted in many long and vehement lectures about my unfulfilled interior responsibilities, such as unpacking boxes, cleaning the house and cooking dinners.

While I appreciate their concerns, I've gently reminded them that LOTS of families eat cereal for dinner 13 nights in a row. Besides, the time I'm spending outside is for the good of the entire family. For one thing, we'll be accepted into our new community much faster if I'm out and about embracing the neighbors, particularly those down the block that I'm still trying to meet, the ones I’ve heard look just like Eva Longoria and Jennifer Aniston.

More importantly, I'm deeply involved in an important and manly outdoor task. Sure, it LOOKS like I'm merely sitting in a lawn chair, sipping lemonade, reading Cosmo Girl, and dozing. But that's just a ruse, designed to lull a savvy, sneaky and annoying household pest into a state of overconfidence, so that I may capture and conquer it.

No, not telemarketers. A mouse. A mouse that I've been trying for weeks to outwit and catch.

While this mouse seems pretty wily, I really don't believe it's eluding me because of any special brilliance or Einsteinian intellect (although I have noticed several tiny paw scratchings on my vinyl siding that look an awful lot like Fibonacci sequences).

Still, it can't be any brainier than me. I'll bet it's just getting tipped off by the toad that lives in our bushes.

Whatever's happening, my mouse remains free, forcing me to spend hours each day devising plans to keep it out of the house, and away from our strategic cereal supply. So far I've succeeded. As long as you don't count the garage as part of the house.

I don't think the little critter knew we HAD a garage, until I foolishly chased it in there one day. Since then, I've spotted it there several times, entering data about the edible contents of our unpacked boxes into a tiny Blackberry.

For the record, I'm trying to capture my mouse humanely. I've repeatedly set out a "live capture" trap. Sure, it's a bit cramped, but it's dry and well-lit, and I've baited it with numerous non-poisonous, drool-worthy treats: soy nut butter; pasteurized processed cheese food; tiny glossy photos of Eva Longoria and Jennifer Aniston.

But nothing works, and I admit that at times I've daydreamed of harsher measures, such as the bluebirds suddenly developing an appetite for mouse. Or at least inviting it to vacation with them in Sarasota.

Next week, I'll try some new capture methods, including those tray-style traps with the layer of super-sticky goo that turns them into miniature La Brea Tar Pits. If they work, I'll simply persuade the woman next door to pick up the tray with the wiggling live mouse on it, put it in her car, drive to the outskirts of town, and pry the mouse off the goo without getting stuck to it herself. That is, AFTER I give the mouse a long and vehement lecture about staying off my turf.

Eventually, I'm bound hit upon a surefire mouse-control solution, and when I do, I'll spend even more time outside, helping my neighbors capture their little Mickeys, Mightys and Ignatz'.

To demonstrate my capabilities, I'll buy a mouse at a pet store, release it, and then recapture it. To assure that it doesn't wind up in my garage, I'll let it go in a neighbor's yard, perhaps someone I haven't met yet, such as, oh, I don't know, the woman down the block who I've heard looks just like Reese Witherspoon.

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TakefiveT5@yahoo.com



Watch for Don Stuart Mondays in the Rushville Republican. Add a comment at www.rushvillerepublican.com.

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