Monday, June 28, 2010

City Mice Vs. Country Mice

From time to time, the scratchy, scurrying sounds within the lower cabinets in our kitchen drive me a little crazy. The one comfort being that the 13 pound family cat that is Chelsea in all her beautiful caliconess, is stationed outside the lower kitchen cabinets standing guard like a vigilant sentinel. It's her pleasure. Though it's not mine when she captures them and plays hockey with them (the mice being the puck) through our small kitchen and dining room. Fine, the mouse is caught but still to my stomach, not so cool. But what really is not so cool is that a couple of weeks later, after said mouse has been played with and disposed of, there are more scratchy, scurrying sounds.

Where are they coming from?

It brings me back to the days when I lived in New York City. The Washington Heights section of Manhattan, which is the northern tip of the island. The first home that my husband and I lived in as a married couple. Our cool apartment with its hardwood floors in a pre-war building. In this place, we had little furry gray visitors too. They'd come through our hall closet and make their way in. It was the reason I was able to convince the husband that we should take the then 10 lb feline in. And she earned her keep. She caught two the first month she lived with us. But then there would be a drought for awhile -- like 8 months or so before we saw another one, maybe two. Here in Boulder, they seem to just keep coming.

Field mice, I've been told. We live in a neighborhood surrounded by wide open space on three sides. Nothing but fields and grass as far as the eye can see with a few houses dotting the landscape. We really are in rural Boulder. As we drive down the road towards downtown Boulder, we're often passing cows and sheep along the way. We're also passing mice. Little field mice we cannot see but appear in our kitchen with a consistent frequency that astounds me.

The good news is that they are not living in the walls or the attic of our house which means that they are not right under our noses. They make their homes in the beautiful open space that surrounds our neighborhood. That's nice. And far away. The bad news? That in this expansive field utopia they flourish. They breed and increase, then come into our homes like we go into the nearest restaurant to find food and partake of it. They nibble and leave their mouse droppings and go. Then return the next day, and the day after that to continue the feast until they lose interest or they are being swiped around like a hockey puck by a 13 pound cat. At least this is the case in our home.

What's better? To jump and screech every month or just twice a year?

In my opinion, neither one. But then I guess anything is better than their city rat cousins that are four times their size and scary looking. They live beneath the ground, more than often frequenting the trash bag piles above ground that line the sidewalks. And there isn't an equivalent of those here in rural Boulder - thank God.

Nor of those stubborn city cockroaches...


  1. You're story of the field mice takes me back to New York, 1960s, urban blight. Many a night, I would wake up to the scurrying of rats playing tag across the living room floor.

    Once, one even came to bed and cuddled up to me while I was sleeping. That next morning, being abruptly dragged out of bed by my mom; me, not knowing what was going on until I opened my eyes and saw for myself that my dream of crushing one with my bare hand was really what had actually happened, but I was too sleepy to realize it at the time.

    Ah the good old days!

  2. Hi! I just had to follow you over here, your comment at Shari's on meals of ritz crackers and milk had me busting out laughing.

    Someone who lives life in my lane! I love it. So very VERY nice to run into you...

  3. Hi Empress! Nice to meet you. Yes, I definitely live life in your lane. Love your blog. So glad you stopped by...:-))

  4. Rafael -- Yep, the good old days. Funny, how we can look back on these rodent memories with such fondness.


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