While I’m off traveling the world, or at least to Britain to see Mum, my ever loving husband keeps an eye on the house and feeds the animals. Normally I return home to a freshly vacuumed place, with clean sheets, washed dishes, well-fed pets and livestock and a smiling husband. This time things were a bit different.
Husband meets me outside. Following the welcome home hug tells me there’s good news and bad. Happily, the mouse the cats were tearing up the house to catch earlier in the week is dead. Sadly, although he has searched everywhere, my dear cannot find the moldering little body. So I should prepare myself for a less than savory olfactory atmosphere inside.
He was right. The place stank. I could scarcely accept that one tiny rodent would create such a powerful putrescence. Yet, my husband was certain there was only one dead mouse. I had just finished an entire day of travel, crossing five time zones. My body thought it was midnight. I was too tired to search for the corpse and the stench made no dent in my sleep. When I woke at 3 am, with my brain believing it was eight-o-clock and time to be up and about, the smell of dead mouse was nearly overpowering.
The stink was strongest in the woodshed attached to the rear of the house. I opened the outside door into the frosty morn so the offending odors could disperse as much as possible. All the rooms continued to reek of death. Before I tackled a house-wide search, I needed sustenance. With my four cats sitting there staring at me, I had some coffee.
All the cats love the game of catch and release. They go outside to their enclosed wire run, capture hapless creatures, carry them in the house and let them go. The next several hours are spent chasing a poor animal until finally someone chomps down too hard and the game is over. Since the enclosure must ooze of eau de feline, it amazes me any mouse would be dumb enough to enter the confines. Yet they repeatedly do so, and are caught with regularity.
The two in the above photo, Cary and Kai, are the biggest culprits. Cary, in the front, is worst of all. He brings anything in the house. Even pine cones and bean pods from the black locust tree are carried onto the livingroom carpets where they disintegrate under his onslaught of abuse.
Whenever I spot them at this nasty game, I put an end to it. My poor husband tried twice to get the mouse from the cats to no avail. The last he saw of it, the critter scampered under a door and hid behind a heavily laden set of shelves. He said he searched fruitlessly for hours trying to find the rodent before and after it became deceased.
With our noses leading us to the woodshed, we set about the task of moving a full-sized refrigerator and a chest freezer half-filled with frozen beef. Still, no deceased mouse to be seen. Finally, I crouched down and searched the tight confines of the freezer compressor recess. There, far in the back, behind wires and intimidating electrical configurations, I spotted some brown fur. The poor injured mouse had crawled into a warm, dark place to expire. The air current created by the freezer’s operation assured rotting carcass scent wafted far and wide.
With the help of a long, flex-handled clawed retrieving tool, I grasped the body and extracted it from the freezer workings. I disposed of it in a rock wall far from the house where the dogs couldn’t get at it, thinking the odor would not be detectable outside. Wrong. My husband happened to drive by the area later in the day on the farm tractor and quickly noticed the corpse’s presence. Oh well. Hopefully neither of us will need to go that way for a while and nature can finally put the poor mouse to rest. And I can enjoy a more pleasingly fragrant homecoming.