"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The saga continues...

I know this subject has been covered a couple of times before on my blog.  But, my problem continues.  And, having watched one of our previous dogs (a wonderful, sweet-tempered [seriously] Great Dane) kill RMan's cat, Muts, in the kitchen right in front of my eyes, I need to be really, really sure that it won't happen again...

Our dog, Scallywag, is not a cat-friendly dog.  Plus, with RMan's new found relationship with Coo, the tame Cape Turtle Dove, RMan is very hesitant regarding the acquisition of a kitten / cat.

But I seriously think that a feline - of any age - is a must.  A definite.  Non-avoidable.

I was never mad about cats.  I also don't recall our family having a cat when I was a child - puppies and dogs, yes - kittens and cats - no memory.  When I met RMan - yonks ago - he had a cat called Muts.  This thing was vicious - RMan liked a bit of spirit ;)  It would sit on the floor in front of me - nervously perched on RMan's couch when I was visiting - and growl at me - warning me off.  I kid you not.  When I gave birth to Natasha, our daughter, it would lie in the dark - in wait.  As I walked down the passage from the bedroom to the kitchen to get her 2 a.m. bottle, it would attack my legs - frightening the life out of me and drawing blood with it's claws.  It never forgave me for entering RMan's life.  Perhaps the fact that RMan's long-time girlfriend gave it to him had something to do with its objection to me...?

As a result cats and I have a so-so relationship.

But, the time has come for the circle to close.


The field mouse problem is growing.

Let me explain.

Last week, RMan had to go to Cape Town for the day.  As he tends to return at +/- 9.30 - 10.15p.m. (it's a 550 - 600km round trip of +/- 5 - 6 hours before he attends any meetings / does any work)

I stay behind on our smallholding for the animals.

When I swept the kitchen floor that morning I found some dog food on the floor next to the Rosie.  A fleeting thought occurred, but I swept it away - and I put it own to Scallywag "dropping" some food from his jowls after eating his dinner the evening before.

Then, later that evening, I was sitting on my chair watching TV when I noticed, in my peripheral vision, the curtains moving next to the TV.

But, there was no wind.

Re-focusing my eyes from the TV to the curtain I saw a field mouse peeking out from behind it. 


It nimbly hopped off the curtain and onto the floor and made it's way to the kitchen area.

Ho-boy! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.

Okey-dokey - well - it'll just have to have a feast.  I'm not doing anything about a mouse in the house at 9.30p.m. (I don't tend to do more than climb on top of the dining room table normally anyway.)  So I stayed firmly put in my chair.

When RMan got home a half-an-hour or so later I told him what I had seen.  Being tired and half believing me, he had a cursory look around, poked under a couple of cupboards / sideboards with the end of a broom handle, but couldn't find anything.  We left the mouse to it, and went to bed.  Naturally, the bedroom door was firmly closed on it too ;)
Aha! A clue!!
The temporary fly screen is definitely
 at odds with it's usual position on the
But, the next morning, I noticed that one of the temporary fly screens I had put up at the window where the mouse had hopped off the curtain the night before was hanging open.  Again, there had been no wind during the night...
Mice can climb walls, and I reckon
this is the route it uses / used
Being fairly accomplished in the art of detecting, I advised RMan that, in my expert opinion, the mouse had entered the house through the window.

Yeah, yeah.  Condescendingly, he patted my shoulder.  And carried on with his day.

But I kept an eye out.

And firmly closed and locked the window through which I believed it had entered the house.

Not a single mouse did I find, but we did notice that behind the Rosie, which I had vacuumed only the day before, there were further dog food pellets.  In a spot completely inaccessible to Scallywag.

The next morning they were gone!  And a half chewed baby potato was there in their place.

That definitely wasn't Scallywags handiwork!

So, now RMan had hard proof that a mouse had been (was still?) in the house.  But, we still couldn't find it.

Talking about laying a water bucket trap the next day, we settled down to watch TV for the evening.  At 9.15p.m. RMan suddenly sat up, and looked towards the fly screen doors.  Being closer to the noise, he'd heard something that I hadn't.  Grabbing the torch which he keeps handy in order to help Scallywag (who is 14 years old) go outside to relieve himself (he's an old dog who doesn't see very well anymore), he shone it at the screen door which was screening the open patio doors in order to keep the night insects out.

And RMan saw a mouse.

Trying to chew it's way through the aluminium fly screen.
Mice teeth marks on the aluminium flyscreen
material.  I swear, given enough time, it would've 

eaten it's way through to it's "larder"
RMan was blown away.

He kept saying "I shone the torch on it and it just stood there - looking straight at me.

It just stood there!  And we're here, in the lounge, with the lights and TV on."

He couldn't believe how brazen it was.

And Scallywag didn't budge / hear it / see it.  (So much for protecting me.)  Actually, earlier this year I saw a mouse almost walk over Scallywags legs and he did nothing but calmly watch it on it's way.

I think I can safely say that no help is ever going to come from that quarter.
Mouse catching bucket
Needless to say, the trap, liberally baited with peanut butter, was put out first thing next morning.

But, I am of the opinion that only a cat is going to help us to resolve this problem.  The bucket trap in my shadecloth veggie patch is catching 4 - 6 field mice a day.  We definitely have a field mouse overload here this year - even with all the food / seeds in the farmers fields around us!  And, if one incy-wincy mouse has laid down a "trail" into the house, more are likely to follow...

So, now to convince RMan that his precious Coo isn't going to be nabbed by the Cat, and that Scallywag probably won't take any notice of it either...

Closure on this saga would be a really good way to start the new year.

Isn't life in the countryside fun :)

As this will be my last posting for 2014, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  I hope your year is filled with all, and more, than you hope for.


  1. what about a Terrier type dog? or is that a no no?

    We have problems with the foxes screaming all night like a woman being murdered. it is chilling and no matter what I still have to get up and look in case a woman is being attacked. And the deer have stripped my sapplings of all of their bark. they will now die... ho hum

    Happy new year Dani and family

    1. Sol - That is an excellent idea - thanks.

      Oh, dunno if I could handle foxes screaming all night...

      Happy, Happy Sol & family :)

  2. Good luck with this. We were over-run with mice this year, and the little b*ggers took a liking to all my soft fruit that was so carefully protected from the birds. I resorted to snap-traps baited with peanut butter. Lost count of how many bodies went onto the compost heap.

    Happy New Year :-}

    1. Jayne - Welcome - and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      Yup, we also bait our water bucket trap with peanut butter. Irresistable LOL

      We toss the carcasses onto the empty field next door - whoever and whatever will enjoy the "free" unpoisoned meal - and trust me, I've seen ants strip a mouse carcass overnight.

      Happy New Year to you and yours too :)

  3. A cat seems in order. Just the smell of them usually solves the problem. I put a cat in my apartment, since I opened a drawer and found all my seeds eaten up. Haven't had any problem since then, though I do have to go out and spend time with the cat, so she won't feel lonely. She is an old momma cat that was having trouble with the cold weather, even with the straw house, so she is mainly content to just sleep out there in the warm apartment. She has her own food bowl, water and sand box so she doesn't have to compete with the younger cats for food .

    1. Harry - Yeah, can imagine the smell of the sand box would be a mousey deterrent ;)

      Bless you - for thinking of her comfort in old age. I'm sure she appreciates the warmth.

  4. I have no rodent problem here in my apartment, but have had to deal with them in the past when I lived in older farmhouses. The field mice liked to move indoors when the weather turned cold. Keeping a cat usually solved the problem. Although I have found that some cats are not good mousers. The one I have right now is so lazy that I doubt she could work up enough energy to catch anything. Lucky for her that she doesn't have to earn her keep!
    Here's wishing you and yours a Happy New Year, filled with all sorts of good things.

    1. Vicki - Muts used to specialize in bringing her trophies home - dead or alive. And, sometimes - just sometimes - the live ones got away.... in the house. :(

      Thanks Vicki - ditto :)

  5. You definitely need a cat, or 2 or 3. They take care of themselves & will hopefully keep the mice at bay. Sounds like Scallywag is in retirement.

  6. Oh, & have a healthy, happy & prosperous New Year!

    1. Thank you, my friend. To you and yours too :)

  7. I wonder if introducing a kitten would work with Scallywag? I'm always amazed at how animals act different with "young" critters.

    Then again, all my dogs "brought" me crushed baby bunnies so maybe not. Good luck.

    1. Tami - I dunno. But, as you say, "crushed" bunnies....

  8. At least you'll have plenty of 'food' for a cat. Can't guarantee that it won't get eaten or eat Coo though.
    Here's to a very Happy and mouse free New Year for you and yours.

    1. Mum - Oh, we certaily have more than enough food for a kitty cat...

      Thank you, Mum - the same to you and yours :)

  9. At one point in her life, my mother had 6 cats. They were house cats and useless against inside mice. She had to set traps.... How frustrating for her.

    1. Kris - Your mom obviously fed them too well so they didn't have to find a snack between meals :)


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