History of a Vermont Sheep Farm
Getting Started: You Can Farm Too!
A Flock of Your Own Icelandic Sheep
A Flock of Your Own Chickens
Growing Your Farm: How the Numbers Work
Dreaming Vermont: Relocating and Living in Vermont

We have a mouse in our house.

Naturally, this would come to our attention at the completely reasonable hour of three in the morning with a thunder of cat paws and a scramble of dogs trying to be anywhere but where the cat wants to be.

The mouse responsible for all this commotion is half the size of a bar of soap, maybe, and of significantly less weight. He is, however, built for speed, and in possession of a not inconsiderable cranial capacity. More cranial capacity than my beloved husband, who, roused from his slumber and blaming the cat for this unhappy state, yells at the cat. Who drops the mouse, flees downstairs, and spends the remainder of the night sulking comfortably on the couch.

The mouse, as you might imagine, takes immediate advantage of this state of affairs by vanishing into a shoe.

Peter and I are the northern Vermont branch of Golden Retriever Rescue (Rescue Golden come pre-assembled: no leaky puppy parts!). This does not mean our dogs sally forth to rescue humans (although one has gone on to become a trained therapy dog), it means we rescue abandoned, abused, or just unlucky, golden retrievers. Our first love is particularly badly abused dogs. We work with them for some months, then send them on to new lives with new families. Dogs that have been beaten with baseball bats and belts, or starved for months on end, come into our program. At any given moment we can have as many as 7 goldens about the place, but tonight, we have four.

One big red male spent months, if not years, locked in an outdoor pen. He ate mice to survive. Out in the yard, he is an efficient mousing machine. In the house, at three in the morning... he is hiding behind Peter, the man armed with the rolled up magazine. The other two dogs, including the 86 pound wonder pup, have leapt onto the relative safety of the bed.

The mouse makes his move. Out of the shoe, around the corner and under the laundry. Really, I should be a better housekeeper. It is indescribably annoying to discover your mother was right about hampers at moments like this. We start putting the laundry in the laundry basket where it should have been two days ago. We gingerly pick up a sock, a shirt, you'd think there was a mad cobra under there instead of a microscopic brown rodent.

And he's off... and he's gone. Vanished. Into thin mouse air. By now, the dogs are thoroughly bored and demand to be let outside. We plead for canine assistance, to no avail. The dogs go out, the cat stretches lazily at me on the couch and pops a few threads of fabric for good measure. I go back upstairs armed with a mop.

Ah Ha! A mouse tail hangs down from under a blanket on the blanket rack. Is there a wife out there who is going to permit the mighty whack with her good wool blanket in the middle? I think not. Peter shakes. Mouse... escapes. Flat on the floor, Peter and mouse contemplate each other's existence from the vast distance of a bureauwidth. Peter explains his position to the mouse, and universe, in heartfelt and clear language expressed with precise diction.

The mouse is not wasting his breath on imprecations and veiled threats. He's cleaning his whiskers, sitting up to survey the terrain, and generally catching his breath, so when he makes that final dash (under the bed) he eludes us easily.

We shake out the covers, let the dogs in, hang over the edge of the bed for a final mouse check, and turn out the lights. The dogs promptly go back to sleep. We lie, wide awake, in a state of siege.

There is a mouse in our house.

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Stories From a Vermont Life:

Camilla Blue
Frozen Gifts
Making Wreaths
The Fourth of July

The Farm at Morrison Corner raises Icelandic Sheep on the last hill farm in Mansfield, VT.  Learn about Raising Icelandic Sheep, Raising Chickens, Moving to Vermont and Living in Vermont on this and our other sites.

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