The PitterPatter of (Uninvited) Little Feet

This will be the fourth night of biological warfare. So far, it’s the mice, three, and me, zip. Although there seems to be some attrition–less scurrying, and slower.

I’ve never figured out why the mice who have made a home between our bedroom ceiling and the floor above are prone to RUN everywhere (in the pitch black darkness.) My only guess is that it is a time of high murine libido, what with spring and needing to get started on the first of several litters of the year. Eat, run and make babies. Just NIMBY. Or in my ceiling, more to the point.

So the first night, we tried the Barry Manilow torture. I set the radio upside-down on the floor above, and it did the trick, making our rodent boarders think there were humans just a floorboard away–until the station went off-air for a while about 2 a.m. and it was time to make whoopie til our alarm put an end to the debauchery around 4.

The next day, I ramped it up a notch, finding a half-inch drill bit and a bit of uncarpeted floor in Ann’s closet upstairs. With a funnel, I introduced a spoonful of D-con into the hole, then pulled a plastic storage bin back over the hole, and waited til last night to test the results. And like I said, the running was slower, the whoopie was less ebullient, but there was scurrying nevertheless.

So today, another whallop of D-con in the floorboard hole, and we’ll see what effect poisoning the well might have tonight. I’m getting impatient to exclude wildlife from the premises, and doing battle with the ladybird beetles daily for the past month has done nothing to improve my generosity toward alien invaders.

It’s about bed time. Tomorrow is a work day. I need my rest. YOU HEAR THAT, Mickey?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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