There’s pretty much no way to avoid mice in Lonesome Valley, especially when you live in something as sneak-able as a trailer.
Around September, when the weather starts to get chilly, they make a beeline for our kitchen, eating whatever crumbs and sauce splotches have not yet been cleaned up. Then they poop like mad, and run…or at least plan to.
Little do they know, we have these creepy little seesaw-coffin-traps waiting for them. Elegant contraptions. When properly set, their opening rakes invitingly toward the food, like a staircase in a Busby Berkeley musical—and when the mouse tapdances up, this tips the balance of the trap, rolling the door shut.
The next morning, you take the trap for a walk to the edge of the nearby forest and send the mouse out with a gentle fling. Though sometimes I prefer to drop them off in Coleberry Lake, just in case they, you know, find their way back to the trailer. (Hey, it could happen.)
These mice, I should be clear, are still alive. That’s right–despite the “rodent relocation” aspect, these are non-lethal mousetraps. Trouble is the winter, once it comes, renders the traps significantly less so.
When you release a mouse in any other season see, you have the pleasure of watching it land on the peatmoss unharmed. Then it has this moment of confusion, followed by an adorable “let’s get outta here” run. Away it scurries, toward any number of adventures—steamboat piloting, theme park construction, metastasizing corporate proliferation. You name it.
When you release a mouse in the winter, however, it scurries approximately ten feet into the snow, curls into a defensive ball, and slowly freezes to death over the course of the morning. Then inevitably, something bigger comes along, and scarfs it like a mochi ball.
This poses a dilemma for me, and I’m open to suggestions. Should I just get a zapper mousetrap for the winter months, so that I’m knocking the poor guys off outright, instead of giving them an evening of claustrophobic terror, followed by popsiclehood? I feel like my unwillingness to “exterminator up” is forcing them to spend the last stretch of their lives in a Dutch horror film.
Perhaps a better man would just clean up after the mouse and have done with it—but pretty soon I’d have Studio 54 in my kitchen, minus the toilets.
Feel free to suggest a solution here. I’m running out of ideas, and I’m open to anything that does not involve sending mice to college. And while you’re at it, weigh in on the mystery. As in how, if the mouse can’t get ten feet away from the trailer without freezing, it crosses the ten feet to the trailer in the first place?
If I get up early enough, I wonder if I will catch a similarly guilt-ridden resident from Coleberry Lake, empyting his mousetrap into our galley hatch…