Monday, October 28, 2013

The Little People

Every fall when the weather turns cold, Little People move into our house... mostly mice and chipmunks. How the chipmunks get in, I have no idea, but in they come and find our caches of nuts and re-cache them. We find nuts in our shoes, holes in the fireplace bricks, dresser drawers if we leave them open... among other places.

Mice are moving into my new barn, too. Well, they've been in the outer portions ever since we built it but now they're moving into the inner sanctum. Yesterday I was thinking of something else when I picked up a green feeder and took it to the feed bin to put grain in for a goat. I did not notice the little mouse inside the feeder until it jumped up on my arm and then down into the grain bin. The bin was full of sacks of grain. After much lifting of sacks up and down with the mouse scurrying to stay out of the way, I gave up trying to scare it out and gave it a broom handle for a ladder instead. Then I went into the milk room and hoped it would leave. Each time I came back for more grain for the next two goats on the stand, I plumped bags up and down and the mouse scurried around. But finally the mouse managed to climb onto the rim of the feed bin while I was in the milk room. When I came out for more grain, it jumped to the ground and ran away. Thank goodness. I closed the feed bin and vowed to be more attentive the next time I picked up a grain feeder.

Today I had milked several goats and fed them grain when I noticed a little mouse on the ledge where the feed bowls sit on the milk stand. It was just a few inches from a goat's nose but the goat did not seem to care or maybe notice. (Maybe she was daydreaming like I had been.) I scooped up the mouse with a feed can and threw it outside. The mouse was probably cold and trying to warm up in the milk room, but I really do not want mice in my milk room.

I also do not want chipmunks in my house but one was there yesterday. A few hours after the mouse-in-the-feed-bin episode, I was getting ready to eat lunch when I heard a thunk above my head as though something had dropped to the floor upstairs in my office. I suspected a Little Person and went up to investigate. I saw nothing, so came down and shut the glass door tightly from the upstairs. As I was eating my lunch, a chipmunk scurried down the stairs and stood with its little paws against the glass door looking at me. I assured it that I was not opening that door and letting it into the downstairs. It ran back upstairs. Two more times while I ate lunch, the chipmunk came down and stood with its paws on the glass looking imploringly at me.

I tried to figure out how to get the chipmunk outside. If I let it into the downstairs, I would have to open an outside door and risk another chipmunk or two or three coming inside. I could let it into the attached greenhouse from upstairs (there's a door onto the balcony in the greenhouse) but again if I opened an outside door, I ran the risk of more chipmunks, mice, whatever, coming into the greenhouse and no guarantee this one would leave. I finally decided to open the big windows on the stair landing as there is a ledge there that leads to the downspout from a gutter and the chipmunk could get out that way... if it so desired. I left for an afternoon appointment after opening that window and hoped the chipmunk would find its way out while I was gone. Apparently it did as I have not seen it since. Yet.

Other slightly larger Little People don't come indoors this time of year. Rather they crash into trees, posts, windows, and even the ground. You can see them in many neighborhoods in late October. My  theory is that these diminutive witches get drunk on fermented apples and pears and crash their brooms. Three of them have crashed into our yard.

Fortunately, these disoriented little witches all disappear after Halloween. Maybe they sober up by then and fly off.

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