About two months ago, I noted a sound in the ceiling at The Ranch I had not heard before, a certain small scampering about.
I had seen evidence of them in the garage and had - earlier in the Summer - trapped one or two. Now, however, they seemed to have migrated.
Initially in the garage, I had tried all sorts of "humane" traps with minimal success. Mice are pretty clever creatures it seems, and either do not have sufficient weight to collapse the larger traps or (mysteriously) will not go into the small traps to conveniently get caught. The only thing that worked, it seemed, was an actual trap with an actual snap.
Nothing, it seems, succeeds like Death.
I absolutely hate killing things out of hand or unnecessarily. There are a few things - mosquitos, roaches, fleas and ticks - that I will eliminate on site given the opportunity. For the rest, I will do everything in my power to not harm them. I have been good naturedly ridiculed at home for carefully escorting spiders, flying insects, and praying mantises out the door. I will slow down to ridiculous length in neighborhoods to avoid the squirrels and birds.
In terms of more "wild" locations like The Ranch, the practice since I have grown up here is that if we are off in the woods and see something - like, say a poisonous snake - you walk away and leave well enough alone. If it is near a house or building, it gets dealt with - not just because it is there, but because it can offer a danger to people not paying attention, pets, or livestock. Or in some cases, property.
In this case, the choice is the house or the mice. The house wins.
Conveniently there is a cutout in the ceiling near the inner garage door with a small landing just inside the attic. Up went the the traps with peanut butter on the pressure plate. The next day, down I came with two mice. The count now is four.
I do the best I can, given, the circumstances: they all get buried outside with an apology as to me having to do this and an explanation why it had to happen. Having done all of this, I surely do not feel better about any of it.
Ultimately of course, the solution - if I really want to avoid this - is to find out where the mice are getting in, as our friends Leigh and Dan did (with victory at last!). Saves the mice from chewing things in the house, saves me from having to ensure they do not have to be eliminated. But that is going to be a longer struggle, most likely - my initial review of the outside did not reveal any place where entry could be gained and all of the grating at the foundation and roof line seemed to be intact.
Frankly, I hate this. It is a necessary thing to protect the integrity of the house, but I surely do not glory in it and look forward to the day when the only mice I see are scampering about in the forest or meadows much farther away.