The water was still and unmoved. No life or death disturbed its surface. I had ordered them all to walk the plank yesterday after setting up buckets with a few inches of water and a plank. Doug threw in a little sweet feed for enticement. I peered over the edge sadistically, with trepidation, and found that no one had taken the bait.
Our friend at the feed store had told us about this method of mice extermination. Her friend simply sets up a bucket in the chicken coop with a plank and everyone falls in and drowns. The vision of piles of dead mice in their watery grave did not sound enticing. But neither does poison. Or traps. I will inevitably poison the neighborhood cat and snap my toe. Guaranteed.
And I never thought myself a worrisome person, but I have found that I do indeed worry about the moral implications of mass genocide on another living creature. I do not want them to suffer, by means of drowning, decapitation, or poison. Do I even have a right to decide? If I look through a different lens, I can see that the mice playing gleefully in the front yard, dancing on the porch, and raiding the chicken coop could be deemed, by Disney or Beatrix Potter standards as, dare I say, cute. However, on closer inspection of reality, I see them and hear them racing in the garage. Hundreds of them. They are not even scared of us anymore. They run across my feet as we milk. They burrow into the photographs I treasure, the Christmas boxes of memories, and Andrew’s things that he will take when Megan becomes his bride. Hopefully they will not all be destroyed. But that is what hundreds of mice do. They infiltrate and destroy.
They are graciously not in the house, which is surprising since they are under the porch and swarming the outbuildings. The occasional straggler makes it in. Yesterday, Eliza brought us a deceased mouse which she had no moral dilemma with, and left it for me in the bathroom. Thanks. However, if they were to get into the walls and decide to storm the castle, eight indoor cats would have little effect. We have experienced this before in prior houses. Cleanliness has nothing to do with it. Mice are persistent little buggers. I had read in our last house to put out cotton balls doused in peppermint essential oil. I did so, and I kid you not, I found a nest made of the cotton balls. It was lovely and aromatic and the mouse practically flipped me off. I am so done with mice.
So, I set up watery graves and ordered them in Captain Hook style to kindly walk the plank and be done with it. They have refused. I lean on you, my farming and fighting friends out there, how, pray, does one rid the farm of mice?