this old mouse

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such posts as “More Sawing And Drilling” and “Fixing Things”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristically long-suffering, weather-related post. It thundered for about five straight hours today.14080903The morning was nice, and my walk was excellent, but then around eleven or so in the morning it started to thunder, and only stopped at about 4:30. This is what the sky looked like a little after noon today.14080908Eventually, it cleared up.

In order to explain the title of today’s post, I should probably back up to yesterday, right before bedtime. The guy I live with had gone downstairs to turn off the lights in the laundry room, and heard chewing noises in the wall. He looked in the direction of the noises, and lo and behold, there was a tiny pink nose poking out from under the baseboard. The guy I live with went to get his camera, because of course a picture of that would have been pretty good, but the nose disappeared.

We’re both really tired of mice coming into the house, and especially chewing holes in the baseboard downstairs, and the guy I live with said he was going to have to “think like a mouse”, in order to figure out how the mice were getting into the downstairs bedroom, once and for all.

It took a lot of thinking.

He finally decided to tear away the drywall in the closet, which is where most of the holes were chewed14080909and this is what he found. See that glimmer there? The light is on in the crawl space, and there’s a hole there. And, uh, you can see where tiny gross mouse bodies have rubbed against the Romex, too.

That’s the sill of the foundation, right below the piece of wood projecting down. Mice would come in through the hole (now plugged with steel wool, before it gets caulked), walk along the sill, and then grab hold of the styrofoam insulation on the left14080910and scurry right down. See where the tunnel, or channel, or raceway, or miceway, turns to the left at the bottom? 14080911

Smarter than a mouse! Smarter than a mouse!” I had to listen to this for a lot longer than I should have.

Well, I guess that’s settled, at least for now …….

So anyway, some serious gardening did take place today. The guy I live with had to go to the post office to pick up a box, registered mail, because he was at Whole Foods yesterday, when the mail came. This was in the box.14080902The guy at the post office wondered where “LV” was, and the guy I live with said “Latvia”. These are crocuses from Janis Ruksans. The guy I live with was totally excited.

And not only that, he got a bunch of cyclamen from Edgewood Gardens today, too. They’re all planted now. The guy I live with says the earlier they get planted, the less chance of frost heaving.

He says you plant them like this. Then after they’re watered, maybe just a little bit of soil or mulch or “faux mulch” (just stuff lying around) could be scattered over the top of the tuber.14080907This is an older one, that’s been here for a couple of years, at least. Those are flower stalks on top. 14080905The kind of soil doesn’t matter.14080906It does help, sometimes, to put a cage around the newly-planted tubers, just in case a Certain Party decided to dig them up. (Just because he’s a jerk.)



Cyclamen can take dry summers, and seem to be very happy here. We have a lot of ants to help propagate the cyclamen. Cyclamen purpurascens was already blooming when he was out there, planting.14080901That’s pretty much it for today. The guy I live with got a bunch of bulbs, well, really, corms and tubers, and also thinks he’s smarter than a mouse, so it was a good day for him.

The sun finally came out again, and the day became a good one for me, too.14080912


Until next time, then.




This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to this old mouse

  1. Genius!! You found the miceway! That is not easy, as I know from how my former shack/house was plagued with cute little mice.

  2. Susan ITPH says:

    No Ruksans order for me this year, because I am poor in wallet, so now in spirit, too. It occurred to me that I have only one friend named Earl. When we were in college we called him “Earl, the girl, the naked squirrel.” Earl in turn named the computer program he developed to make better predictions for his fantasy football leagues “Deep Sue” after me. I think I got the better end of that. In any case, I can’t be too intelligent, because it just occurred to me why you named your squirrel Earl.

    • paridevita says:

      Earl is a jerk and a half. He has a notch in his right ear; that’s how you can tell it’s him. Check this out, if you don’t believe it. Even though the Peterson field guide suggests populations of 1 squirrel (eastern fox squirrels, which enter Colorado in the northeast) per acre, we have three. The other two are, uh, Merle and Pearl. They’re just obnoxious, at times. The guy I live with has been amazingly frugal when it comes to plant purchases this year, except when it comes to bulbs. This is what you might call a spring-oriented and autumn-oriented garden, with a slowdown in the other seasons.

  3. Have to take what you can get, Chess, in the way of weather. Certainly enough entertainment was going on around you to distract from, you know, thunder. Is it all rumbly thunder that gets you, or just LOUD rumbly thunder? I believe we’ve heard the guy you live with exclaim he’s smarter than a mouse before, several times before. And yet still mice. Or not very still mice. Yesterday Petey the Dog deposited a petrified mouse in his dog bed at the side of my reading chair and stood there proudly waiting for me to notice. I did. Calls for rescue ensued, which rescue took way too long for comfort. Much thought is going into why a petrified mouse. Hurrah for the delivery of bulbs, especially crocuses from Latvia. I am about to order seeds and I am pretty excited, so I understand the high excitement level around your place “(USE the distraction, Chess.) Plus, this is my birthday month, so I earn a trip to Pearson’s Herbs (should be “Exotic Herbs) and maybe I’ll wangle a few extra miles beyond to the native plant nursery. What is the lifespan of squirrels, Chess? Is it possible your guy is photographing Earl, Jr., or perhaps Earl V or Earl VIII? Encouraging to see you looking happy at the end, you Border Collie, you.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with, consulting the Peterson Field Guide again, says the lifespan of a squirrel is “ten years or more”…… Even around here, and believe me, the guy I live with has been sorely tempted to bean Earl on the noggin more than once. He (the guy I live with) has one of those “grabber deals”, you know, the thing you use to pick up stuff without bending over too much, and it’s pretty effective in discouraging squirrels for a couple of minutes. (Would also have worked in your situation.) Oh, the brand name of the one here is Pikstik, though of course there are others. All rumbly thunder is loud, here, if you ask me. The guy I live with says I’m not going to get hit by lightning while eating, but I’m not sure that’s true. He does say that the weather people say it’s going to dry out next week, but they’ve been saying that all summer, and it’s been thundering all summer. Not raining much, though. What Marshall Olbrich in The American Man’s Garden called “derisory sprinkles”. How about “smarter than a mouse, today”? The six tubes of caulk might have been better used to caulk the actual miceway, but, oh, never mind. A birthday trip to a nursery sounds excellent, except for those left behind. The guy I live with suggested I might go to Harlequin’s next time he goes, but that dirt road leads to a rifle range farther north, and the popping is sometimes audible. I would not like that. A native plant nursery, especially a Californian native plant nursery, sounds delightful. (You want to know a secret? I mean if you don’t tell anyone else. There is a gardening blog featuring a garden filled with plants that make the guy I live with fairly crazy with jealousy. Camissonia’s Corner.)

  4. Marcus says:

    Hi Chess,

    Oh what a delicious sight to behold! All those packets nestled in that box …. it’s a treat fit for Xmas. More than makes up for the pesky mice problems. Do Denver mice eat crocus corms? I hear Janis and the rest of Europe have awful problems with rodents but maybe they might be voles (whatever they are?) Aussie mice, well Tassie mice, haven’t learnt to enjoy them as an underground comestible although I have had them eat my sales stock when stored dry. They particularly liked Crocus puchellus albus.
    Interesting that the guy you live with plants cyclamen right on the surface. Doesn’t he fear they will get frostbite in the fierce Denver winters? I always plant mine a little deeper. Its amazing to see how far they will come up from under the soil. I have had C. coum and C. repandum emerge from at least 20cm down and I am sure that they are capable of more. On trips into the Taygetos mountains up above Sparta in the southern Peloponnese I have seen literally thousands of C. repandum ssp peloponnesiacum, turning green like potatoes, dangling by their thready roots, completely exposed to world, victims of flash flooding in the streams that braid the mountain slopes earlier in the spring. I guess when one lot get gouged another lot get covered. Bit like life really.

    Cheers, and keep strong, Marcus from Down Under

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; we’re not going to test whether mice eat crocus corms, but squirrels definitely do, hence the new practice of planting them at least 10cm deep.
      You would think that the cyclamen tubers would get their hides frozen clean off, but they don’t. It does bother the guy I live with that they insist on growing so close to the surface, just the idea of them sitting on top of the soil seems totally weird, you know?
      The ones hardy here are C. hederifolium, coum, cilicium, mirabile, purpurascens (fatrense too), pseudibericum, confusum, and maybe some others. Coum seeds all over the place. Repandum is one they say to bury deeper when planting, but nothing has happened when that was done.

  5. Tracey says:

    I’ve tried to imagine 4 hours of thunder but I cannot do so. I can see why your nerves are upset.

    I’m glad for your sake that the guy realized where your mice were entering the house but I’m disappointed that your sofa is not really a portal to an alternative mouse universe.

    • paridevita says:

      It does sound surreal, doesn’t it? The thunder finally stopped, but the guy I live with says he woke up at 3:30 this morning to thunder and lightning. There was maybe a little rain along with that. Since I’m on goofballs, I just snored right through it. A few years ago I would have climbed all over the guy I live with and hid between the bed and the bookcase.
      The weather has been totally surreal here, all summer long. “Surreal” in the sense of “icky”.
      It’s not that disappointing that the couch isn’t a portal, to us, anyway ….

Comments are closed.