Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Am I a man or a mouse?

This blogger has been in need of some time out,and my in laws who are house sitting in New South Wales offered myself and the kids some time away with them in the country. Eager for a break in routine and two extra pairs of hands to help with the tot's I jumped at the chance to head off for a week. A few days before I set off on our country adventure I caught the end of a current affairs shows which to my horror was a segment on the terrible mouse plague happening at the moment in country N.S.W.... EEEeekkkkkk!!! I watched in terror and nausea as I saw farmers separating bales of hay to have 100's of mice scurry out. I watched whimpering as what appeared to be thousands of mice ran across fields,roads and farm houses.

Mice are more than an annoyance and plagues can cause significant damage to our agricultural sector. Mice also cause considerable damage to farm infrastructure—including sheds and machinery and unprotected fodder and stored grain, mice can also cause considerable damage to my holiday! I HATE MICE!!! They are horrible little furry things that freak me out with their quick scurry and filthy little poo pellets. I quickly decided that I was NOT going to be going on the wonderful country adventure after all. Hubby however manage to convince me that I would be fine he assured me that the mice plague was not actually near where the kids and I would be staying so there was no need for me to stress..... he was WRONG!!!!

OH MY GOSH! On the drive into Junee (country N.S.W) I counted 21 mice scurrying across the road in about 6 minutes slowly I began to freak out! Turning to David I say "I don't think I can do this", again came his naive "you'll be fine babe".
I ran from the car to the house greeted by my beautiful in laws I began babbling about the mice I had seen and how worried I was... my father in law... who now holds the title of THE GREAT MICE WARRIOR of New South Wales, proudly boasted to me how in 8 weeks he had trapped and killed 500 mice,(yes he does keep a record of his carnage and yes it creeps me out) my heart sank right down towards me knees and I felt bile rise up into my throat. Oh crap, how am I going to cope with these pests for 8 days.

I have however managed to cope rather well,... yes.... me! I have been astounded at myself and my ability to not totally loose my shit when I see them running about the farm. The Great Mice Warrior has 6 traps baited with peanut butter and a small dog biscuit set up to lure and trap these pests before they get a chance to invade the house... a thing I am very grateful for. I have been receiving quite an education on the destruction and devastation mice can actually cause and I have a new appreciation for our framers who are already doing it so tough with the weather conditions who also have to deal with these pests on such a massive scale. Having to re-sew crop after crop as the mice nibble away at the freshly sewn seed it comes at a huge cost to the farmer. Interestingly while here I visited a local church and the minister gave a sermon with several mouse related analogies... this did NOT impress me, however it also bought home the huge affect these pests are having.

I have also learnt some creative (and gross) ways to catch mice outside the home, The Great Mouse Warrior has an interesting contraption/ torture device rigged up for any mice venturing into the garage with a plank of wood,a drinking can smeared with peanut butter and a bucket of water... you get the picture??? Also learnt they are attracted to dog biscuits... yes dog biscuits which The mouse warrior,(also known as Norm) adds to the peanut butter in the traps, to help give them weight and set the trap off as a mice nibbles at the biscuit, also dish washing liquid helps to add to the drowning of the mouse... yes it does sound barbaric and at first I was truly horrified but today as my Mum in law and I drove through the country and I saw fields of crops in various stages of sewing, re sewing and growth I have come to realise it is a necessary part of farming life at the moment if our farmers are to make any kind of head way in dealing with them before more of their lively hood is ruined.

Now while I have grown in my strength to be able to stomach the thought of a mouse on the veranda you will not find me emptying traps or disposing of a mouse corpse, however I will admit to a small feeling of satisfaction as I hear the loud SNAP of the plastic trap going off enclosing a mouse within and grin as I watch Norm react with satisfaction as he say's "I got another one"!!


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