Random Rambling Regarding Rodentia

November 27, 2010 | My Jottings

I woke to the skittering and gnawing sounds of a mouse in the wall. It was 1:50 a.m. Even though we’re in a residential area, we live on the edge of a small wood full of creatures of all sizes, and when the weather turns cold it’s not unusual for mice to try to find warmer places to stay. Apparently a little rodent found its way into our house and climbed its way up through the walls, deciding that the best place to chew and get his exercise was in the space of wall just to the left of the fireplace in our bedroom. I turned on the nightstand lamp, then got up and put my ear to the wall and could hear it clearly just beyond the plaster. Chomp, chomp, skitter, skitter, crunch, crunch. Michael woke up and saw me with my cheek pressed against the toile wallpapered wall at 2:00 in the morning and asked, quite understandably, “What are you doing?”

“There’s something in the wall,” I whispered. He turned over and and pulled the comforter over his shoulder and said, “Will you turn out the light? I’m trying to sleep.” I knew there wasn’t much I could do about the mouse at this time of night, so I did crawl back into bed, but the noise kept me awake. I mentally prepared how many traps we were going to need, how I would put peanut butter and a chocolate chip on each one, and carefully position them in the most obvious places. We’ve only had two mice come to call in this house, and each time, even though we heard them in the walls at various times, they came to their ends in the basement. Somehow they had gained entry under the siding or through a basement window frame, and I assumed that this one came in the same way. I knew that at least two of the traps would need to go down there.

I couldn’t get back to sleep because the mouse was now using a tiny rodent microphone. He tore off a dry little piece of plaster with his teeth, and then held the tiny mic up to his furry jaws as he chewed, and the amplified sound filled our bedroom for a long time. I got up and pounded on the wall a couple of times to see if he would stop, and he did. For about a minute. Unfortunately, Sara, who was sleeping on the third floor right above us, thought my pounding was someone knocking on her bedroom door at 2:00 a.m. “Come in!” she called groggily. “Come in!” she kept saying. She got out of bed, opened the door to her bedroom, knowing someone was knocking, and was confused as to why no one was there.

One floor below Sara, I still could not get back to sleep, so I got up and went downstairs to start my day. At 2:00 a.m. I prepared my daily Cappuccino Cooler, turned on the computer, turned up the heat, and put food in Edith and Millie’s dishes, then sat down to read what I normally read online in a day.

I checked my email, and answered a few. I looked to see if anyone left a comment on my blog. I love comments – have I ever mentioned that? When you leave a comment it’s surprisingly comforting. Someone is reading! I think, and I’m encouraged to keep on sharing. Next I usually read the local newspaper. Then I check bear.org to see if they have den cams set up yet for Hope and Lily, the mother and daughter black bears. Then I check a handful of blogs I enjoy perusing – I love the ideas and personality of Melissa at The Inspired Room, the color and humor on my daughter Sharon’s blog at yarnista.com, the writing and chuckles at Jessica’s Bits and Pieces, the deep thoughts and transparent writing at my friend Ember’s Kindred of the Quiet Way blog, and the constant amazement I find at Joni Eareckson Tada’s blog. At Ganeida’s Knots, I enjoy the conversational essays written by Jehane in Australia. I love the gorgeous creations at my dear friend Carey’s Etsy Shop, the photos and dishes from Scotland at A Wee Bit of Cooking, the book recommendations and cultural commentaries found at The Rabbit Room and the never-ending fount of astronomical knowledge from my friend Astro Bob. Then I look at the forecast and am usually ready to start breakfasts for everyone. Notice I didn’t say breakfast, but breakfasts, since everyone eats something different for breakfast around here, for various reasons.

On this particular day I didn’t have to rush through answering e-mails – I had hours before the sun would come up. After a good long while I went to the kitchen and set out meds, prepared sack lunches, made sure the women we care for were properly dressed for the weather, then saw them all off at different times for their days’ work. Later in the morning I placed two of the mousetraps upstairs, and Michael took three of them to the basement.

After I got dinner going in the crockpot, a load of laundry started, the kitchen cleaned and my own self dressed for the day, it was wonderful to sit in the quiet and open my Bible and this year’s CBS study on the book of Acts. It’s like I’m a bone-dry and dusty vessel that needs cleansing and filling, and if I’ll sit before Jesus, the Living Water, I will be filled and refreshed and washed.

After a day of errands, housework and paperwork, I was ready for night to fall. I thought I should pick up Ben Hur, which I’m reading in a two-person book club with Carey, but instead Philip Yancey’s newest book called my name and I read the first chapter of What Good is God – In Search of a Faith That Matters. I marveled at his writing and insights, and then my eyes reminded me I had only three hours of sleep the night before and it was time to give them a rest. I turned out the light on my nightstand and was asleep in no time.

At 1:55 a.m. I was awakened by the gnawing and skittering of the mouse inside the wall, exactly in the same place as before, and I sighed, wondering why our peanut butter and chocolate hadn’t yet lured him to his (hopefully instant and painless) death. I guess when I’m sleep deprived I’m not very merciful.

Somehow, this time the noise didn’t keep me awake and I fell back to sleep before 2:30. I woke fairly refreshed hours later, ready to start the day, and write the most boring blog post I’ve ever written. (Except for the blogs I’ve mentioned above – they’re not boring at all. You might want to visit them when you have some time.)

I hope your weekend is blessed!


  1. Ganeida says:

    Awe. That’s sweet. ?

    We have mice too…in our walls. And snakes. The snakes eat the mice. Eeew. Star has been complaining for some time it is a grisely way to go to sleep with death & mayhem all about her but if she will be the last one to bed at night…

  2. Just Julie says:

    Snakes in your walls, Ganeida? Do they ever come into the house? :O

  3. Ganeida says:

    Oh yes, they come into the house! [ps, I must stop doing Alt1, which normally gives a smiley face but for some reason doesn’t on yopur blog. ;P] We had several years when we had a lot & the kids played musical beds because room after room got a snake…but if they would leave warm piles of clothing on the floor…!!!

    We keep or t.v antenna in our roof & every so often a snake bumps it out of proper alignment & someone has to go up in to the roof & realign it. Usually I send one of the lads but one time They came down a lot faster than they went up because our resident carpet snake was basking in wonderful big couils in the warmest part of the roof! lol One of the hazards of living *out bush*. πŸ˜€

  4. Just Julie says:

    I am speechless. I can’t imagine snakes in the rooms of one’s house! But I would imagine there would be things about Minnesota you couldn’t imagine living with as well!

  5. Ganeida says:

    I would imagine there would be things about Minnesota you couldn’t imagine living with as well!


  6. Just Julie says:

    Not so much snow, but below zero temperatures is one them!

  7. Ember says:

    So. The noise stopped. How could you resist going down to the basement to check if it’s dead?

    Delighted by the idea of me having transparent writing. Matches my experience today of someone tuning his hearing aid after 20mins total silence in the Quaker meeting :0D

    Bernard and I had a mouse we were trying by various means to trap. We tried to shut the cat out so as not to distract the mouse from the cunning traps we’d set up. In so doing we inadvertently shut the mouse out. I found it standing outside on the window sill, banging on the window to be let back in. Mice. What are they like?

  8. Just Julie says:

    Ember, I think if a mouse banged on my window sill to be let back in, I might let him in. :O Last night Mr. Mouse just crunched in the walls again. *Sigh*

  9. Christy says:

    Wow…..! I’m staying home !! The worst thing in my house at night is a little black dog that hogs the covers.

  10. Just Julie says:

    You mean never visiting here again? That kind of staying home? Oh dear. I love the Noble Pokey dog….

  11. Dorothy Sooter says:

    You all sound so brave – a mouse puts me on the highest place I can get in the house. We did have a mouse or two when Savannah came to visit. Doc saw it but I didn’t. Savannah was trying to catch it. One night after going to the bathroom with my shoes on as I went to get back in bed it ran under the bed – one big scream out of me and everyone was awake. We set traps and caught both of them. In the mean time my Pastor’s wife told me to get steel wool and put it every place a mouse could get in. I have steel wool around the pipes by my washing machine. In between the dishwasher and the sink, in between the cupboard (sp) and the oven, in the bathroom cabinets and honestly cannot remember all the places but felt much better about the little rodents. The neighbors all have cats and they do a great job. I did call someone to come and check out what they could do to make sure we would not get them again. After checking everything he said I had done all of the work they would do which sure made me happy. You would never know I was raised in the country with mice, rats, bugs – do not care for any of them.

  12. Just Julie says:

    You made Michael and me laugh reading your great comments, Dorothy! LY.

  13. Shelley says:

    I don’t think I would be functioning very well if I had started my day two hours after it began officially on the clock. I’m impressed.

    Memory: I grew up with mice also, so comforted by them and the noises of their munching, scritch-nibbling, padded-running between our hollow walls that when we moved to our new house I had a hard time falling asleep because the walls were silent. Luckily, we had a dedicated cat at our first house who loved to hunt. OH! And a wild weasel one day, in the house. Now that was quite a chase through the house with my Dad, a broomstick, and gruff instructions to the cat to “Run faster!”

    More recently, my husband placed sunflower seeds between two set traps so our mouse guest just had to come to them one way or the other. Snap. Good luck with your hunting, and may 2:00am come and go without a blink!

  14. Just Julie says:

    That’s amazing that the sound of mice would actually be comforting, Shelley! Wow. I love the mental picture I have of your dad saying to the cat, “Run faster!” πŸ™‚ I hadn’t thought of sunflower seeds either….maybe we should add those. Thanks for the tips and the smiles, Shelley.

  15. Jessica says:

    If this subject matter keeps coming up I am going to have to rethink everything! πŸ˜‰

  16. Just Julie says:

    I have thought the same thing, Jessica. If these muskrats and mice keep showing up, I’m going to have to rethink my life! πŸ˜€

  17. Larry says:

    Many Reasons for mice πŸ™‚ – πŸ™ – πŸ™‚

    1. The reason for food such as termites and other such fine tasting insects?

    2. Warmth from leaky walls that produce heat in other places?

    3. A warm tidy home away from the cold or dampness outside?

    4. A safe place to hide from the critters outside that may try to eat mice?

    5. A great storage place to keep your stuff, you know like food, more food and of course mice junk?

    6. A source of good food on the inside of the inside wall?

    7. A baby cottage with all the nice things being handy?

    8. Large beings that we can play jokes on and keep up at the strangest hours?

    9. A great location for our new city? or even our next community?

    10. We knew it might be safe in this home because the lady of the house even looks after our relatives that get caught in the neighbors fense?

    11. They use lots of light so we can see better?

    12. They leave goodies out just for us to have?

    These are just a few of the many reasons why we like to live where we live πŸ™‚

  18. Just Julie says:

    Those are all about right, I think, Larry! Yikes.

  19. Ginny the Yalker..."One Who Can Yarn Talk" says:

    Got the same issue at our house! Our bedroom, the wall by the head of the bed, my side! They’ve been quiet this year as we have enough Decon out to kill a dinosaur. BUT, after interrogating one of the “fur-faces”, as Fred calls them, we found out that they were trying to break through the wall, much like the guy in Shawshank Redemption, to snatch the toupees left in the strainer. The use of pesticides have left many a fur-face BALD! Get rid of the one I gave you and he will give up the quest and quietly, croak in the wall and stink horribly for 6 too many days!
    Problem solved!

  20. Just Julie says:

    Oh that doesn’t paint a pretty picture, Ginny. We can’t use DeCon because of DeSchnauzers. πŸ™

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