Creatures are stirring


“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse?” That right there is the true “magic of Christmas.”

Around here the mice are stirring up a storm out in the barn this time of year. We store our camper in the barn and each winter wage a battle of wits against field mice bent on becoming camper mice.

I know I am not alone because I have a friend, a former journalist for this very publication, and our main topic conversation during our infrequent conversations always centers around camper mice.

No “how are the kids, they’re getting so big.” Nope. We open with updates in what is and isn’t working in our war against mice.

So far the score is mice – many, us – 0.

Our camper is my pride and joy. I love it so much. It’s neat and tidy and everything is so clean and precise. It’s like my own little playhouse on wheels.

I keep it clean, remove all sources of food and snacks, and wipe down every inch of the interior before we put it away for the winter. I will repeat the process when we open it in the spring.

Nonetheless, what really hurts my chances of having a relaxing and enjoyable vacation in our home away from home is opening a drawer to find a furry little hobo hitching a ride.

I have been known to fling an entire silverware drawer out into the garage the last time that happened. I am also not amused by nests in our towel drawers, Q-tip fluff mounds fashioned by tiny mouse teeth and any surprises left for me in the sink.

Bucket List

We have spent countless hours and time online and in person seeking remedies for the interloping mice. There is nothing in the world of camper chat forums, Pinterest or Facebook that I haven’t tried.

We have sealed the entire camper in tape and tarp. No dice. The mice came in.

I picture them armed with tiny utility knives and now I like them less.

We read about putting the camper on concrete (done!) and placing traps around the perimeter. Also done.

We have a particularly Rube Goldberg sort of bucket + peanut butter + wooden ramp device that works as well as anything.

The problem being it doesn’t prevent the mice from entering, it just means they don’t have nearly as good a time as they planned once they get there.

This is not to say they don’t try to enjoy themselves.

BoyWonder was thrilled to show me that one thing the mice really enjoyed was my (longtime) collection of wine corks. All of which the little drunken mice had happily chewed.

I wonder if mice can get contact drunk from old corks?

We have been told to put a certain brand of heavily scented “Irish” soap throughout the camper. Mr. Wonderful raised an eyebrow but dutifully left my bars of carefully placed soap untouched.

In the spring he took delight in showing me the half-chewed bars. Not only was the soap not a deterrent, I think the mice rather enjoyed it. We moved on to fabric softener sheets laid out throughout the entire space. While we did enjoy the Shower Fresh scent that nearly overpowered us when we opened it the following spring, we found certain evidence that the mice were not a bit put off by it.

More than one mouse may have used it as part of their personal toilette.

I assure you that fluffier mice was not our goal.

Short of getting a camper cat, I cannot imagine what else we should try to keep the mice at bay.

Where does one get these non-stirring mice? Is it too late to add those to our list this year, Santa?

Is this a special option on mice available only during the Christmas season or can we count on you to bring us some this year?

I’ve been a pretty good girl all year, Santa, and “Those are not tiny raisins!” should not be my rallying cry.

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  1. Kim, I have a cabin in SE Ohio that I haven’t been able to visit in two years. It’s about halfway done. I leave sticky traps or mouse traps whenever I do get there. But by now I figure I’m going to need all new insulation, blankets, pillows, etc whenever I do make it back down. The mice are everywhere!
    Add that to my present house where I have learned the mice have been in the attic (“it looks like rat droppings, grandma,” said my 12 yr old grandson.) I’m not sure they have scissors, but I know they can squeeze thru any size opening. (And I have no idea how he knows what rat droppings look like either since we live in the suburbs and I’ve never seen one.) Take care and keep writing wonderfully funny articles.


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