Friday, September 12, 2008

A COUNTRY TALE


This morning started as any other. I got up and puttered around in my robe and slippers. Nellie heard me and came to the door to be let in. We greeted each other with affection. Mike got up, got dressed, and came down to the kitchen. His first task was to don his helmet and a pair of leather gloves and head to the shed to pull down a couple of wasp nests he had discovered there. He wanted to take care of that chore during the morning cool when the wasps are inactive. Then he returned to the kitchen to bake his oatmeal bran muffins, the first step being to pre-heat the oven. A couple of minutes passed, and he said, "What's that smell? It smells like bacon! And the oven's smoking!"

I couldn't remember that anything spilled in the oven. Finally, we were able to bring ourselves to open the door and look. And there, neatly arranged in the front of the oven, was a cup and a half – possibly more – of dog food slowly burning as the oven pre-heated. Well, I didn't put it there, and Mike says he didn't put it there, and we're sure Nellie didn't do it. So, the horrible thing is that we have another rodent invasion. As Mike says, "This means war!"

To deal with the matter at hand – cleaning the oven – I grabbed a pan and a spatula. The food had begun to burn but fortunately we caught it before it burned onto the oven. We then set the pan out on the porch. During the process, Nellie ambled into the kitchen to see what all the fuss was about. Eventually she requested permission to exit the house where she discovered the burned dog food cooling. She looked at it a while, then proceeded to eat every bite!

Nellie's food and water are kept in the kitchen, and she has some strange eating habits. At suppertime, she eats just a little, then waits until Mike and I have finished cooking, eating, and doing the dishes, hoping for better pickin's. She might eat more of her food but often leaves some in her dish. This practice of leaving food is now problematic and humans will have to step in to protect the kitchen.

Interesting, though – I found just one "mouse sign." And I've been a little worried about the mice because this is the time of year they begin to come in, and I have three boxes of pears ripening in the utility room. I found no sign of rodent activity there – or anywhere else, for that matter. KW

6 comments:

Hallie said...

You think rodents got INTO the oven? Is that even possible? Why would they store their food in the oven? All of this is very strange to me...

Kathy said...

Well -- I hope it wasn't a raccoon or heaven forbid! a pack-rat. We took the drawer out and checked under the oven. I know -- I'll send this tale to Harriet by email and ask what she thinks. XO

Hallie said...

Have you seen Ratatouille? If not, you should. It's a cute movie and might make you feel better about rodents in your kitchen (MIGHT, but probably won't).

Kathy said...

Here's what Harriet said:
"YES, it is MICE! In the fall I fill the house with dryer sheets and so far have not had any problems. We used to have a LOT of mice problems. We also put Decon on the basement steps in hopes of stopping them before they get under the door. We have not found a way to keep them out of the basement. I also put the dryer sheets in the motorhome. You have to put new sheets in every fall. One time mice put dog food that Becky had brought into the washing machine, plugging the water inlet and causing a flood. They can get through the tiniest crack. Lots of luck in your rodent war. I could write a book about mice, and maybe I will one of these days."

I haven't seen Ratatouille, but I know about Stewart Little. And there were those adorable mice that helped Cinderella go to the ball. But you're right -- somehow it's just not the same in real life. XO

chris miller said...

When we were at Canyon, we had one of those old-fashioned wood crank phones mounted on the wall in our house--it connected us to the office. Whenever it would stop working, Dad would open it and out would fall pounds of dog food--mice would somehow get in and fill it up with Ranger's dog chow. It looked to be impossible, but those pesky critters did it!! (We had pack rats in the attic, but they never got into the house. Mom used to swear they bowled up there at night!!!)

Kathy said...

Thanks for the comments and the "mouse and dog food" stories. I was sure we'd have mice in the traps this morning -- no such luck. We'll try again tonight. KW