The other day I picked up my bag of redskin potatoes from the potato bin we have in the bottom cabinet in the kitchen. Behold and lo, there was a large hole in the bag, and two potatoes were nibbled halfway through!
“Yuck,” I said to the Crankee Yankee, “we have MICE! Now we’ve got to clean out the whole bottom cabinet!”
The bottom cabinet has an upper and lower level, and the spuds were on the low level. As soon as we pulled out the potato bin (onions also inhabit it as well), all the foils, wax paper, plastic wrap, etc., plus all the pots and pans, baking dishes, Vitamix, blender, grinder, bowls and our few bottles of booze, we soon saw the mice entrance way; the hole that the pipe came through had been gnawed to make it bigger.
We cleaned out everything, and I began washing every pot, pan, glass baking dishes, bowls, etc. that was in there. I’d like to think that the mice went back outside to do their business after feasting on our potatoes, or put on tiny pairs of Pampers so that they wouldn’t poop in the cabinet, but no. It wasn’t on the scale of Woodstock or anything, but there were enough of their minuscule droppings to make me want to boil everything—which I did.
Naturally, when we got up that morning, we didn’t plan on cleaning out the kitchen cabinets, but when these things happen, you have to get face the music and dance, so to speak. So the Crankee Yankee and I just made it a project. I read up on non-toxic ways to discourage the mice from coming into the house in the first place: 1) they hate mint, and 2) they hate steel wool.
The mint repels them; something about it triggers allergies or something. They don’t like steel wool as it is hard on their teeth and paws. Too bad for them.
So I mixed up a spray bottle of peppermint oil and water. The Crankee Yankee ran down to the hardware store and got some steel wool. He wrapped about a foot of it around the pipe, making sure that plenty of it was stuffed in tight. This sealed up the mouse entrance but good. Before he put it in, we sprayed it thoroughly with the peppermint oil. Once it was securely in place, we gave it another spritz. The Crankee Yankee kindly scrubbed each shelf and every surface in the cabinet while I washed all the contents.
Doing all this made us realize that we hadn’t really done the ‘do we really need this’ with some of the stuff in there. We found that we did not need the electric mixer with all its beaters and bowls (for me the hand mixer is plenty), the metal set of turkey/chicken/partridge roasters (these are those ‘as seen on TV’ deals where you stick the thing up the bird’s butt, and sit it up in a pan so that it roasts from the inside out–we used them exactly once), cake pans (I have made exactly two, count ’em, TWO cakes in my entire life), muffin pans (again, I have not made a whole lot of muffins or cupcakes), several plastic containers we never use, and another Cuisinart (we already have one downstairs). So all of these are going to go to our local donation center to clutter up someone else’s cabinets.
By the time everything was clean and dry and ready to put each and every clean item away, we were laughing about it all. We realized that the little buggers had actually done us a favor; evidently it was pure karma that they tunneled their way in to our potatoes. We now have spanking clean cabinets, everything in there is not only clean, but useful. Everything in there is something we use. Also, we found we actually had a pretty good time doing it all together.
So you could say that our tiny visitors actually did us a favor. But then again, it was probably just the Divine saying ‘clean up your act already!’