Rodential Resentment

What kind of resentment is this now?? Rodential?? What the… ??? Well you see it’s like this: there I was, minding my own business, stringing the Christmas lights around the rail of our deck. Pretty much becoming an annual thing. The strings go up shortly after Thanksgiving, them come down… um… later. Sometimes just before Easter!! Hey, we have them on a timer and they come on just after sunset and go off before midnight. Then they come on again at 5:30 AM for a couple hours so my Honey Pie can see better when she heads to work a couple times a week.

When the lights are done for the season, I stash them in an old woven wooden basket all nicely placed so they’re easy to pull out the following year. There’s also enough room for the timer and a couple extension cords. Convenient, right?? Well this year I plugged the lights in, and began to string them up. As I was running my fingers along the wires, I got a pretty good poke!! A shock!! Electric ouch awreddy!! I let go quickly, said some “magic” words, and then went in for a closer look. Looked like some of the insulation had been scraped off the wire. No problem, I thought, I’ll get out the trusty electrical tape and fix the problem. As I continued on, I got shocked again. And again I shrugged it off, saw the minor damage to the insulation, taped it up and continued on.

Third time is a charm, I’ve heard. Well it wasn’t very charming to receive a third shock. This time a substantial amount of wire damage was evident. Then I looked in the bottom of the basket where the remaining lights were waiting for their turn out of the basket. Shavings. Green shavings. The “scrapes” on the insulation were not scrapes at all, the wires were being nibbled by mice!! Rodents!! So I got rather annoyed.

Hence the term: rodential resentment.

Wasn’t sure if rodential was even a real word, so in my search for a catchy title for this week’s silly story I went hunting on the webbernets and found a definition.

Rodential: of or pertaining to a rodent.

Well my resentment definitely pertains to a rodent. Probably several. My Beautiful Girlfriend suggested I lay some traps, but hey, we live in the dingleweeds. Pretty sure the number of mice is far greater than any number of traps I might set. “No,” I told her, “the lights need to go in a mouse-proof container.”

A similar event happened earlier this year but with carrots. I love to grow vegetables, and after much labor I was able to convert a weed patch into a pretty nice carrot bed. But something was nibbling the greens… kinda weird because the greens were being snipped off about 8 inches or so above ground. I couldn’t see any varmint tracks, but I figured maybe chipmunks or squirrels were the culprits. A couple days and few more carrot plant munchings later, the small live trap I set in the garden proved useless. “Must be meeces!!” I said to myself, remembering that cartoon cat Snagglepuss. I set several mouse traps near in the carrot bed and sure enough, I got one! The next day, another! A grand total of 6 over the space of a week or so. Traps stayed in the garden until the mice quit coming.

I consider myself something of a veteran mouse trapper (if there is such a title). After trying several types of traps over the years, I’ve stuck with the old fashioned Victor snap traps. The key is to put something on the bait pan that reliably springs the trap. Nothing is more frustrating than baiting a trap with peanut butter only to find the bait has been licked off and the trap has not sprung. My tried and true method now is to take a hunk of walnut and tie it to the bait pan with several loops of sewing thread. Mice simply can’t resist that big hunk of walnut, and they have to tug at it to get their reward. Unfortunately for them, their “reward” is a quick trip to Mouse Heaven. I really don’t like killing them… but I really don’t like them eating the carrots I worked so hard to get!! So when I remove their little mouse bodies from the trap I say a little prayer of apology for them. I mean hey, they’re just doing what meeces do (as Snagglepuss might say).

The carrots are sleeping now… they get covered up with a healthy layer of leaves to keep them from freezing during the winter. Then I go out and uncover what I need and carefully put the leaves back to keep the soil from freezing. I’ve also learned (the hard way) to mark where I left off harvesting. Not much fun to dig for carrots in the snow only to find out that you had already dug there!! Not sure if the mice are sleeping… but I hope so.

So if any mice are reading this, please be warned: Christmas light damage is annoying… but if you mess with my food, I’ll be setting out a deadly surprise for you.

I just hope they don’t find a way to fight back like these did…