Freeloading mice, and other stories

It has been a mixed week on the croft. The weather continues to be about as summery as a not very summery thing, which given that midsummer is not far off, is annoying to say the least. However, as someone thoughtfully pointed out, I do at least have a polytunnel to hide in, which is good, because the double glazing is still in a pile in the middle of the house. The less said, the better.

Excitingly, we delivered the first big veg order for a Surf and Yoga retreat on Saturday. I found some time on Saturday afternoon and dug the best part of 15 metres, raked it and sowed the carrots and parsnips.

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Less excitingly, this morning revealed that some lettuce and radish had been eaten overnight in the polytunnel. It didn’t look like slugs – no slime – and the leaves were eaten from the top. I put it down to a mouse.

By the time we had spent the best part of 4 hours digging, planting turnips, weeding onions and generally knackering ourselves, whatever is eating the leaves in the tunnel had been back and had a rather large snack. I couldn’t believe my eyes. We reckon we have lost about 30 lettuces in an afternoon. It’s not ducks – they would pull them up, and then hens are in a run. There were no hoof prints, so I am ruling out marauding lambs, and the dogs and cats were lazing in the house, so we are back at the mouse theory. A mouse, its kids, grandkids, cousins and aunts by the looks of it.

I only have rat traps, but a quick shout out on facebook brought some mouse ones out of the woodwork.

And so, just when Jane was getting ready to go home, and I was preparing to feed the hens and wind down, we began Operation Mousegate. First, we did a job which has been put off far too long, we dug trenches (I could see digging far enough right now) and buried the plastic cover along each 10m edge, and the ends. At least that should cut down the traffic into the tunnel. Then I raided a neighbour’s garage (thanks, Lyn!) for mousetraps, and set them. Finally, I made sure that soil was compacted up to the edges inside the tunnel as well. With a bit of luck we will at least have reduced the ways they can get in, and any which are in/get in will be caught. Before you ask, no, the traps are not humane but don’t worry, we remained true to our principles, and have only used the finest organic peanut butter as bait…

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I’ll be out with a head torch at 11pm tonight on a slug and mouse patrol. Fingers crossed I don’t wake up to a decimated tunnel tomorrow.

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