03 October 2010
Cleaning out the Shed
We're chipping away at our fall checklist, which never seems to end, but then it ends suddenly as soon as we get the first significant snowfall of the season. Problem is, you never know if that will happen in early November or not until January. Obviously we have to plan for November.
But that's another story.
Yesterday we cleaned out the shed in our back yard. Each year we do a perfunctory cleaning, which means we swipe at some of the spiders and we throw out bags of bird seed or grass seed that the mice have been into. We store the lawn chairs and mower in the shed during the winter, and we keep the snow shovels there during the summer, not to mention various tools, pots, and anything else that gets shoved in there.
Over the years, there've been times I've walked into the shed to find a tiny mouse looking at me from one of the rafters with it's eyes too large for it's body. Other times I'll pick up a pot or a bag of soil, only to disturb a mouse that goes scurrying across the floor, startling me and causing me to drop whatever it was I'd picked up. And yes, this is usually accompanied by a scream. On my part.
But today, we REALLY cleaned the shed. We took out everything, even the shelving units, and swept out all of it. No more cobwebs, no more seeds, no more dirt, no more nothing. There were remnants of a mouse nest in one of the rafters, which is now gone. There was another nest under one of the shelf units, which the industrious mice had made from the pieces of burlap they'd stolen from our leaf-blower bag. Yes, the bag had huge holes in it, and when we found the nest, it all made sense. As I said, these mice are industrious.
One thing that has been in the shed for years is an old golf bag belonging to my husband. Understand that in all the nearly 20 years that I've known him, Todd's played golf less than half a dozen times. We dragged the bag around the country when we were moving with the Navy, and since we've been in Maine the bag has been in that shed.
Today, miracle of miracles, he decided to get rid of that bag. And maybe even the clubs.
As we were putting things back into the shed, as well as taking some things to the garbage bins and other things to bag up as giveaways, I grabbed the golf bag to sling it over my shoulder and take it into the garage. Todd casually told me to watch out because there might be mice in it. I lifted it carefully and shook it a bit. As I started toward the garage, a small face poked out of the top flap of the bag and a mouse jumped out onto the lawn.
The whole family was outside and we all started scrambling to make sure the mouse didn't head for the house. Picture two adults and two teens running around the lawn after a 2-inch mouse (if that). Todd finally chased it back into the woods behind the shed - so we know it was probably back in the shed by nightfall. As long as it isn't the house, I'm fine with that.
But it doesn't end there.
I went back to pick up the golf bag and out jumped another mouse. My daughter moved quickly and caught this one in her hands (gloved hands, of course) and took it back into the woods near the other one. At this point, we opened the flap on the top of the bag and out jumped yet another, which was caught and put into the woods, and then a huge mouse (all of 4-inches) came crawling out rather slowly. We figured he was the grandfather of the bunch. My daughter transported him to the woods with the others. Finally, one more tiny one jumped out, and it was taken to the woods as well. One, two, three, four, FIVE mice living like kings in that big old golf bag.
But the funny party was seeing us, on hands and knees, crawling, hurrying, scrambling after these tiny, yet incredibly speedy mice. At one point, one daughter was on the ground trying to catch one while the other daughter, who wouldn't dare touch a mouse, stood nearby making meowing noises. Any of you who knows us personally can easily guess which daughter was which.
Not surprisingly, the old golf bag was disgusting and quite ready for the "bone yahd", as they say here in Maine. So after taking out all the clubs, Todd put the bag out in the woods behind the shed so the mice would have a condo in which to spend the winter. Maybe too, it would actually keep them out of the shed. But I doubt it.
So now we have a clean shed. And the mice, should they choose to accept it, can move back into their home. The golf bag, that is, not the shed... in case any of them is reading this.
UPDATE: This morning we discovered a grisly scene in our basement. Apparently the cats discovered a mouse in the night and not only caught and killed it, but consumed half of it. I don't even want to think about whether it was one of those cute, big-eyed babies that we took to the woods yesterday. Sigh.
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