A Mouse in My Studio

my cleaned out desk drawers

There’s a mouse in my studio.  I opened one of my desk drawers to get a scrap of fabric and saw the shredded batting and feces.  I pulled out the three drawers on that side of the desk and saw the 100% cotton batting nest.  I couldn’t reach it, so I got a stick to clean it out.  That’s when I saw the mouse on one of the drawer runners, it’s cute face looking at me.   I went for the tail, but it slipped through my fingers and the mouse disappeared somewhere inside the desk.

I pulled out the rest of the drawers finding chewed crayons, papers, batting and feces and urine in each one. I wished I was quicker and had held on tighter to that mouses tail.

I learned not to tolerate mice in my house my first winter in upstate NY.  I don’t know how many mice were in that house.  I started with Have-a-heart traps but when I found the droppings in the fruit bowl and on the stove I got out the traps and eventually the poison.  I was horrified when I found one of my shoes filled with the blue pellets.  The poor mice were actually saving the poison to eat when they got hungry.  It seemed so wrong to me, worse somehow than killing them quickly in a trap.    But ultimately, as bad as I felt and as awful as the smell of dead mice in the walls was,  it was a relief not to have them running across my  kitchen countertops.

Now I keep seeing that scared little mouse with it’s big black eyes staring at me from deep inside my desk.  I know I can’t have it making a nest of my fabrics and leaving it’s droppings around the studio.  I thought of giving Mother a go at it, but I think the traps are more humane.   I used to volunteer at a bird sanctuary and we would raise mice to feed to the  injured owls.   I watched as the Park Ranger gave one chop a mouses neck killing it instantly.

A part of me wants to pretend it isn’t happening and just hope the mouse will go away.  But I’ve already been ignoring the droppings on my book shelf for a few days.   So I will set the traps tonight.  And hopefully, in the morning, I’ll  be able to  leave the mouses body in the pasture  for someones breakfast.


18 thoughts on “A Mouse in My Studio

  1. Felt the same way once, rescuing mice. There is a saying… which I can’t quite recall – but it goes something like this… if you have mice, then at least you don’t have rats. I have no idea why that is, something about not being able to coexist perhaps. Good luck with the traps. We get them in our camper. This year we’re trying a very strong scented lavender “sachet” – sold at our feed mill. With of course, traps. They are apparently not fond of lavender. Our hope is the lavender keeps more at bay and those brave enough to ignore that, will hopefully …. well you know. Obviously those pungent sachets are for places that are not being inhabited over the winter. Maybe you could use some milder lavender tucked in your fabric piles and drawers…. you never know.

  2. dear little mouse
    in maria’s house
    though cute, you
    just cannot stay.

    it’s warm and
    so fuzzy
    but just becausey
    you must make your way.

    so pack up your tail
    hit the cold trail
    lest a mother cat
    have her sweet say.

    ARRRGHH.. from one creature lover to another—it’s such a tough call. the first time i set a gopher trap was an existential torment. at least you can nourish another critter in the exchange.

  3. I can identify with your dilemma. The existential is sometimes in conflict with practicality, but the laws of nature aren’t pretty. That cute little mouse could do a lot of damage to your materials and, by extension, to your work as an artist.

  4. I know what you mean. I’d love to leave them be but they are too destructive and dirty. If they’d just stay in the walls we’d all get along. Good luck!

  5. I feel your pain. We had a mouse in the basement along with her babies. I caught the mother with a trap and three days later found one of the babies that had made it halfway across the basement floor before dying. I think the others may be under the couch down there – I just need to get up the nerve to look. Ick!

  6. I hear ya, Maria. I think mice are cute too, and don’t like to kill but I had to resort to a trap when they were doing their business on my kitchen counters!!

  7. I know they are cute, but they carry disease. It’s best to ask the barn cats to assist you with this problem. If I thought my border collie would tolerate an indoor cat, I would get one for they are efficient at mouse control (having the same problems, old house). I am using traps.

  8. I know exactly how you feel Maria. We had roof rats last winter. We heard them scratching and chewing at night and had to do something but I hated the trapping and killing process. Occasionally we would hear a trap snap and I alway shuddered and felt so sad. No activity so far this year though I am not under any illusion that they have gone away for good. I loath harming creatures, even creatures such as these!

  9. I have read in Mother Earth News that mice hate peppermint oil. I suppose that you could soak some cotton balls in organic peppermint oil, leave them around. Maybe drive the little pests out?

  10. Good Morning Maria!
    I totally understand and can relate to your furry creatures that have invaded your studio. At first I chuckled and then I said, “Hey, I can so relate”! We live on an acre of land which 3/4 are woods, so deer, raccoons, possums, chipmunks you name it, share the property with us. I do, however, not like when the “share” my space inside the house and in my studio too! I think I have gotten rid of mine for the season…until next cold weather hits!
    I also wanted to comment on your “Goddess” images. I love them a lot and would be very interested in finding out more, $ etc. When you have time just drop me an email.
    Sheri from St. Louis, MO

  11. Sad fact is that if you see one mouse, you probably have several making their home in your studio. I think inviting Mother or a friend’s cat who is litter box trained for a couple overnight stays is a possible solution. The smell of the litter box seems to be quite effective. I have even emptied part of my cat’s litter box outside where the roof rats were running. Those rascals have moved on.

  12. I know how you feel. I had a mice family take up residence in my piano once and noticed them when I was quietly feeding the baby at the other end of the room. The dogs were useless, but I finally realized what all the sniffing was about. My mom was a farm girl and was sold on barn cats. Mother is probably the answer, but all the interesting smells may work too. Good luck!

  13. Get some cotton balls and go to amazon.com and buy a bottle of peppermint extract. Put a couple of drops of oil on the cotton balls and scatter them about. You’ll never see another mouse. It’s a humane, easy and inexpensive cure.

    Merry Christmas!

  14. We use the little cheap traps with the fake piece of plastic cheese–baited with peanut butter. You could also soak cotton balls with peppermint oil and place them strategically in the drawers with your fabric, batting, etc. to keep him/her out of the really important stuff.

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