We have been moving field mice out of the house and into the fields and forests where they belong at a rapid clip. If you see Ye Olde Husband in his pajama sweatpants and muck boots carrying a paper bag out in the morning, it is because he has trapped yet another live one in a Have-A-Heart trap and is escorting it to the shed or woods, on the regular commuter line we call The Field Mouse Express.
There is a figurative wrinkle in this paper bag, however – Ye Olde Husband, being the softie he can be (AT TIMES) modified the original Have-A-Heart-Traps to include substantial breathing holes. The idea was that no trapped mouse should be deprived of freshly-circulated air, while gorging on sunflower seeds and peanut butter and awaiting transport. Clearly Ye Olde Husband has underestimated mouse intelligence, or their ability to coldly and accurately gauge ours.
There is at least one mouse around here who should be known as a Smart, Tough Cookie. She (let us call her she, in praise of tenacity and ingenuity which are of course feminine traits) was able to EXPAND aforesaid breathing holes by gnawing upon them. The holes became, through aggressive nibbling, full-fledged emergency exit windows.
Traps with large exit windows of course are no longer traps, and merely serve as feeding stations to support mouse colonies and their no-doubt festive Mardi Gras activities.
Years ago, I made inquiries with the Town of Amherst about just such a window – a small window that I wanted to make bigger so that it would qualify as an emergency exit under the fire code, thereby creating a legal in-law apartment. The town, which was in the process of cracking down on landlords big and small, would have none of it, wanting instead for a whole new expensive doorway to be installed.
But I have gone off track, like the Field Mouse Express, and must get back on. Surely these mice only want to live quietly in well-stocked in-law apartments, from which they can come and go at will. Or maybe I should have just gnawed – with my own teeth – on that wall which had the small window in it, until it got much bigger …