Cut off their tail with a carving knife


I need to talk about mice.

I know. Rodents are part of living in the woods. I get it. I’m not one of those shrieking-with-a-broomstick sort of ladies when it comes to mice. As an advocate for woodland critters generally, I can’t express too big of a problem with them. When we find nests in hollow trees or in an old boot or in our cookstove outdoors, I rally for the little bitches.

But of course, it’s winter. They’re cold and hungry and can squish down to the size of the wiring holes in a house, and come in and rest under the fire and snack on the crumbs left on my countertops, which, I imagine, is much cozier than an old boots we have piled outside.

For a while, one particular bugger was coming in every night; we could hear him in on the countertop having his way with the dregs of whatever we’d dredged up for dinner while the dog and cat, once mighty mousers, scratched their asses and didn’t deign to lift their salty old cataract-crusted peepers.

And so one of these nights, I was in bed in yet another failed attempt to get our dear Squirrel to sleep, when I received a text message from my Native downstairs. Yes, judge away, we sometimes send texts from within the same structure. If you knew our Squirrel and her sleeping habits, you wouldn’t want to disturb her either.

The text message said:

Fucking mouse is on the stove.
In the skillet.

And then, after some healthy back-and-forth about methods of demise:


Again, I’m all for the survival of the mouse species in the harsh months, but a mouse so hubristic as to drink from my sink a couple of feet from a Native is a mouse who needs to go. And so a text was received that a trap was being set, and I forgot about it.

Until the next morning, when I went downstairs to make eggs and found a mouse trapped and freshly flattened in my cast-iron skillet. Just lying there, neck snapped, tongue outreached toward a crumb of the previous day’s toast*.

Digital voyeurs of Cooter Hollow, there were no eggs that morning, I assure you. And for a while, I was convinced there would be no eggs ever again, not in that pan. Even when my Native came downstairs, scoffed, emptied and washed the pan, and presented it, I thought: I have integrity! I cannot eat from such a vessel!

This lasted all of two days. Because I really don’t have integrity, or just because I needed the eggs.

*Okay, maybe hyperbolic. A little.

** Yes, that is a beautiful photo of our cabin in the middle of summer, and not a dead mouse in a pan, for reasons which should be obvious, sicko.


  1. not sure if this will make you feel any better but we have been mobbed by rodentia this last year or so and I’ve come to discover other Vermonters are reporting similar overpopulations at their homes. Whether their domiciles be humble, majestic or something in between everyone is bitching. They have taken up serious residence in the chicken coop, the seed shack, the basement and yes, the kitchen. I use those plastic traps baited with peanut butter and then drop the dead carcasses off the deck the following day to feed the near pet-like fox that cruises the property with startling regularity. Oh yeah, and if this fucking snow ever melts I’m sure there will be evidence of moles and voles..oh yeah..also, until last year there were no chipmunks here but now they are legion having already eaten every lily bulb (only about 400 or so) just had to bring up mice didn’t you? By the way your piece was as beautifully written as ever.

  2. Pingback: Scenic Cooter Hollow - The yellow tile floor of the bathroom is sometimes a little obstacle course of glasses with huge roaches dying inside, stoically, just sitting there, the glasses gradually steaming up with roach-dioxide.

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