Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Filling my boots

Since moving to our woodland home 11 years ago, we have done everything we can to provide a good habitat for wildlife. Some wildlife (the barn owl and grass snakes) is more welcome than others (abundant moles and daily herds of fallow deer) - but where should we draw the line?

This dilemma came into sharp focus earlier today when, rummaging in the bedroom cupboard for my snow boots, I discovered that they were somewhat heavier than I expected... I soon realised why. The boots were filled to the brim with grain with just a discreet layer of torn tissue paper concealing the cache.

This is not the first incident - some Christmas biscuits, bought as a present and hidden in our cupboard, was nibbled before Christmas and our dog got the blame. And, just yesterday, I discovered some soap in our bathroom - a fragrant clove and orange - with distinct incisor marks.

But this newest discovery certainly takes the biscuit. This mouse and its friends must have laboured for days to create this hoard - there was nearly a kilo of grain in my boots! Regardless of their careful attempts to conceal it, the cache is now gone: I needed to wear the boots (despite their newly nibbled filigree edges...).

I find myself admiring these mice for their enterprise (where did they bring the grain from? it's not what we feed our chickens...) and laughing at their audacity. Part of me really wants to keep accommodating them here in my cupboard. But really enough is enough... So our idle cats are now being encouraged to take up residence in our room (and cupboard) and, if this doesn't keep our rodent friends away, then (regrettably) maybe a spot of feline 'self-catering' might...

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