Over Run by Rats and Mice
Yesterday morning I was down in my basement where I have a small den (my man cave) sitting at my computer reading some of the great hubs written by others and right out of the blue I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. It was one of those things that gave me a start. Did I just see what I thought I saw. I turned my head and the images I suspected were confirmed. Two little mice darted under the book shelf.
The cold weather we are now having has brought these unwelcome guests into my basement I suppose. They are simply trying to survive the winter but at my expense, they have never offered to pay rent for their nice accommodations. I now have four traps set with cheese as the bait and am hoping to rid the basement of these pesky little critters. Whenever I see mice in my house I always am reminded of the times when I grew up in the cotton mill village of Tuxedo. Rats and mice were common in the old mill houses because the houses were very open structures and also the fact the community barn was close. The following is from a book I wrote a few years ago, My Tuxedo Doesn't Fit Me Anymore-Memories of a Mill Village Brat, where I shared some of my memories of a time when there was a problem with rats.
The late Jerry Clower, who was a country comedian, and appeared on the Grand Old Opry and many other venues, had a story about rat killings that he used to tell. This reminded me of Tuxedo during the time that I was a boy and there was an infestation of rats in our community. No doubt we all have read the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin and in Tuxedo; we had a very real rat problem and his services would have been welcomed to rid us of this plague. This in all probability was due to the fact we had a large open community trash pile and the community barn was a haven for all kinds of mice, wharf rats and vermin.
Some of the older boys would take their 22 rifles over to the trash pile, an area that had been scooped out in the ground, providing for a community dump. Garbage and waste from the mill village was dumped into this large hole in the ground and it was a breeding ground for rats and mice. The guys would target practice on these critters and the rat population was temporarily curtailed.
When the old barn was demolished, just a little while after the J. P. Stevens acquisition, rats infested every house near where the barn was located. Our house was quite close and my parents set ten or more traps inside our house and for several days the traps would be thrown and dead mice had to be discarded. The first night after the barn was raised; dad had just come home from his second shift job, and as was his custom had eaten a bite, and sat down to read the evening paper. When he sat down he crushed two mice that had infiltrated the house and were hiding in his favorite chair. Using traps and with the help of a good rat poison, the problem soon went away.
Rats and mice can be a real problem and at first signs of infestation, steps should be take to exterminate. When me and my wife were first married we lived i a small 4 room house. It was our honeymoon suite and where our first son was born. We kept our new babies crib right next to our bed so we could take him out during the night for bottles and changing diapers. The bedroom did have a hole in the floor and the crawl space wasn't that far off the dirt floor under the house. One Sunday night after coming home from church and visiting some friends, we prepared for bed.
The old house still had those chain pull light fixtures and when I pulled the light o in our bedroom, a big wharf rat made a beeline for the hole in the floor. Somehow the little area rug we had covering this hole had been moved away and the wharf rat had found it rather easy to get into the house. I had just enough time to pull off one of the wingtip shoes I was wearing and throw it at the scoundrel. I hit the devil and he fell dead underneath the house. We never again let our baby sleep alone and fortunately we soon moved into our first real home.
As winter comes, be on guard. Mice and other rodents will seek warm places to reproduce and survive. We had some corn used for fall festival in the basement so without a doubt this ready supply of food was enticing as was the warmer accommodations. Bed and breakfast for mice! Care should be take not to leave grains or foods mice tend to eat in open areas or unprotected containers.
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