Monday, December 17, 2018

What WAS that??

Until last night, things were very quiet at night around here, except for an errant fly or two tormenting me as I tried to sleep.

Last night, that changed. 

For a long time I'd been asking the Universe to bring me to my Victorian (or farmhouse) in the woods. I'd been telling everyone for years that my life's desire was to find this enigma and of course, I wanted it to be on a large tract of land, and I would be fine if it were haunted by a benign entity. 

Well, I didn't get my Victorian house, but I did get an old farmhouse. Check. It's on 40 acres. Check. 

But is it haunted? It could be. The woman who lived here previously died in the home from cancer. She was a lovely soul from accounts that I've seen. 

Her obituary describes her and her husband as loving nature and wildlife; even getting the reputation of being a wildlife sanctuary of sorts. They fed the birds, deer and left all their table scraps out for the "starving" animals which attracted a lot of them to the property. Although I do not feed the wildlife, I see the evidence of their habituation still. I see deer prints all over the yard which must be left at night because I have only seen them once during the day. I'm sure the dogs deter their presence. I see other prints as well: rabbits, squirrels, birds, cats (bigger than my house cats), possibly fox, and rodents. No wolf prints--but I did hear what might have been wolves howling a few nights ago.

Rodents are attracted by food compost and bird feeders as are deer, squirrels, and bears. I did feed the birds one year at my last place. To my horror, the rodents tunneled all over the yard leaving damaged turf. But the really icky thing about it all was that many of the tunnels led right up to the house. Now, I've always had cats. I never did see a live rodent in that house. Or hear one even. But it wasn't because they weren't interested.

But...last night something was jumping around in the attic, right over my head! Naturally, the first thing I thought of was that it must be a ghost! After all, that's what I asked for. The cats also were curious, staring up at the ceiling and trying to climb the wall behind the headboard. The noise would stop. Then it sounded like something had jumped off a cliff and landed hard. Then I heard another noise; the telltale scuttle of rodents scurrying up and down the wall--right behind my head. 

Exactly one month to the day of moving in here before any signs of mice. I went upstairs this morning to look for evidence. I found it. And I learned something I didn't know: mice like to eat candle wax. I had some taper candles in a basket with a textile on top of a dresser. The candles were chewed, but not the textile. I removed the partially munched candles to a sealed plastic tub and tucked the textile into a dresser drawer. I know the drawers won't be safe either. It's just a matter of time before they find their way into them and start destroying the contents therein as well. 

I have a new mission to find a non-toxic deterrent for mice. Yes, the cats do go up there when I'm up there. Otherwise, I keep the door closed to conserve heat. Tootsie did check things out with me this morning. She even went behind the wall to take a look. She came back empty-mouthed. So I suspect the mice are sleeping in the walls during the day. 

The warmer than usual weather has definitely triggered some unwanted activity around here. And because it finally got fairly cold last night--all the way down to 7°F, you can bet there are critters looking for a warm place to check into for the night. I just hope they don't like the accommodations and leave.