Every rural home (and many a suburban one too) has mice. It's simply a fact of life. Mouse dirt is something you should clean up as soon as you get into the house, because it can carry some highly unpleasant diseases that can make humans sick. A particularly nasty one that you've probably heard of is Hanta Virus. You can find out more about that here: www.cbc.ca/news/background/health/hantav
although interestingly, CBC states that Nova Scotia is free of infected mice. Nevertheless, you really don't want mouse dirt around your home for the simple fact that it's nasty and mouse urine is smelly and Ugh. So, let's get rid of it, as well as the little perishers that caused it!
In the time-honoured tradition of "don't do as I do, do as I say", the first thing you want to do is wear a mask. One of the cheap disposable ones they gave out during the SARS outbreak in Toronto will do fine. Sweeping up mouse dirt raises fine dust particles which can lodge in your lungs and give you a nasty cough. The best way to clean up is with a vacuum, but a regular broom and dustpan will do, just make sure you dispose of the stuff in a sealed bag in the garbage or put it out to be burned. Don't just sweep it under the floorboards (where the mice live!) or anywhere inside the house because it will just attract more rodents in.
The next thing to do is clean counters and food cupboards with a diluted bleach solution. We keep a spray bottle handy in the kitchen. It cleans and sterilizes, and also gets rid of that funky smell. We have a tall pantry which we call "Mouse Cupboard" (into which no food will ever be put unless it's in a can) and that is definitely one for the vacuum cleaner.
As for getting rid of the little blighters, we've had moderate success with cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil (which they apparently dislike) and lately, steel wool instead of the cotton balls (thanks to some advice from a Scottish mouse expert, you know who you are, and thanks!) as it's about the only substance they can't gnaw through. The little blue blocks of mouse bait are good too. We're convinced that a couple of these have been carried off entire to the nest and presented to the family as a treat! We don't know where they got the tiny little dolly to transport them ...
Anyway the good news is that, thanks to judicious hole-filling through the miracle of expanding foam, there are no more nocturnal disturbances.
The bad news is that the culprit who left all the wood shavings and poop at the back door is not a mouse at all; it's a chipmunk. How do we know this? Because the little rascal decided to investigate our bags ... right inside the house! When spotted, he bolted up to the ceiling and froze. After a while he came to his senses and started making warning chirps. Next up, expanding foam!!
Rodents are not the only visitors we get at Avalon Woods. While out walking, we came across this guy:
Just your common garter snake minding his own business - until I almost stepped on him! Here's a better view:
This time up we were also treated to a spectacular sunset. The hills are placed just so we can't actually see the sun setting, but we certainly get some gorgeous skies.
In other news, it will probably come as no surprise to learn that the beavers are back. Here is the state of the road when we drove up:
There's really nothing much to be done except call the guys at the DNR - so that's what we did. Six traps were laid, and we'll see how it is when we get back.
That's it for now. Looking forward to the day when we can call Cape Breton home all year round!