Rodents, Vermin, and Silver Stars, Oh My!

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
One of my favorite pastimes is to visit other farmgirls’ blogs. It is just one more way that I gather evidence of all the brilliance in the world.
However, I must now say good-bye to that part of my life…Okay, I’m just kidding, but after last week I will be more cautious as I enter through those virtual gates.

Let me start by saying that I don’t really understand the affection some humans have for rodents. I, for one, don’t see the attraction. Yet to be fair, I will confess that when it comes to rodents, I don’t “see” much of anything after one scurries across my line of vision, with the exception of silver stars and la-la land.
To say that I don’t like them would be a huge understatement. Recently I got a startle when a fellow farmgirl enticed us to her blog site. I love this particular blog (normally) and have in the past, found it a very fun place to visit. Recently, however, I have been increasingly concerned about this particular farmgirl as I read her posts and her comments like “Oreo is shy” and “guinea pigs are fun-loving and very affectionate.” I have yet to decide whether I think she is crazy or if she is my hero. I have never stayed conscious long enough in the presence of the vermin to be able to make any such assessments.
A few years back at a book club meeting, I was too busy chit-chatting with other attendees to hear the host excuse herself to go get her “new family member.” To my surprise, she re-entered the room with her chinchilla named Max. (For anyone who may be unfamiliar with what a chinchilla is…picture a rat on steroids.) When I came to, I had bloodied my nose and broken my glasses on the table that caught my face as I passed out.
Yes, I know that I have an irrational fear. I also know how hysterically funny irrational fears can be to people who don’t have them. I once laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe when one of my parents’ foreign exchange students found himself trapped in my grandparents’ back pasture with chickens. I had been sitting in the living room at my grandparents when we heard blood-curdling screams, and I was certain that we would go out and find some sort of bloodbath in the back. We instead discovered Seigo running around the back pasture as if HE were a chicken and someone had lopped off his head. It was the funniest sight ever…second only (at least according to my book-club friends) to watching me turn a pasty white and pass out, thumping myself in the head with the table where we were sitting.
Now look, I am a farmgirl and a tough one at that. Snakes don’t freak me out. I can buck hay bales. I have pulled calves and do many of the chores that farmgirls just have to do. I have worked in the grain bins, driven tractors, trucks, and anything else that can be driven, but I am simply NO good when it comes to the little vermin that inhabit the earth. Yes, that includes my mother’s “house” rabbit, the squirrels in the park, and the little prairie dogs that run wild around my house.
As a young married woman, my husband was a ranch foreman. As “luck” would have it, our home was located just about as close to the feedlots as anyone would want to be. During the spring when he would have to separate the calves from their moms, the bawling was deafening. Nevertheless, I will now admit that while one couldn’t hear radio, TV or themselves think during this process…everyone heard me loud and clear when I discovered our home had been infested with mice. In that instance, I managed to get my boys on top of the kitchen table with me before I was consumed by the fear that left my body in a puddle.
While blogger Deborah Jean may love her little rodent friends, she (after some giggling at my expense) has agreed to send me a warning in the future. However, the damage is done and I don’t think I will ever be able to eat an Oreo cookie again.
You can check out the adventures of Oreo and Scooter at Deborah Jeans blog

  1. Saska says:

    We lived in a farmhouse infested with mice and no matter what I did, they would not go away. So, needless to say I can handle the mice but rats and snakes…why does it ALWAYS have to be snakes?! Hamsters, gerbils, anything little and crawly belong outside hiding where I can’t see them. This farmwife/girl says NO when it comes furry critters in the house. I’ll give that showpig a bath anyday.

  2. Debbie says:

    Dear Readers of Rene’s Wonderful Words,
    I will be the first to comment on this post since it is I who must confess to being the one who prompted that terrifying flash back for Rene’ as she innocentlty perused my blog last week. We were chatting away all friendly-like over on the farmgirl connection and like Rene said, she popped over to my blog for a visit. Little did I know that one of my most recent posts (what was supposed to be a little heart warming story about a child’s first pets ) would send her memory hurling back to silver stars,a bloody nose and broken glasses. It was the photo above that was the culprit. How was I to know she had a fear of Rodents? Rene’ popped right back to the connection after her "startle" and let us all know how she felt about rodents in general and shared a smidgen of her horrifying book club memory with us,then she thanked me for inspiring her next blog post here! One kind farmgirl even wrote back defending poor Oreo and Scooter! I guess that’s when it really started to hit my funny bone hard. Well,the more I thought about her reaction to the piggie pic’s the funnier it got and the fun began, albeit at Rene’s expense. I laughed on and off about it all day!
    Rene’,today you are my hero,you have clearly grown from this experience just by sharing your "irrational fear" with all of your readers. I wish you further "recovery" on your fear of the little furry ones. As promised,I will keep up my end of the bargain with warnings about any future appearances of Oreo and Scooter adventures over at Dandelion House!

    This farmgirl plays nice~

    You just never know where a dandelion seed will take root!


    HEEEE…. giggle, giggle…. You have no idea. As I tried to post the picture of your beloved pets, Photo bucket refused to work correctly, so I spent way more time seeing these little ones then I had ever intended…. they are wearing on me…. or NOT.. LOL  thanks Deborah!!!

  3. Catherine says:

    I’ve had some dealings with "vermin" in my home recently …
    WARNING: There are photos of the little (or not so little) critters. I don’t want to be responsible for any more fainting! 🙂


    Oh, no!  But, thanks for the warning.

  4. I am not a rodent lover either. My oldest daughter always wanted a pet rat when she was growing up. I said NO. Of course we all want as adults what we could not have growing up. She now has three. I keep my distance and she does not get them out when I am around. I grew up in old farm houses which usually had a mouse or a few of them during the winter months make their way in. My room had a built in blanket box in front of the window and the little critters loved to make a home there. I did not have to see them just let me hear them and I would take a flying leap from my bed to the doorway if I could make it and run for cover. I have not passed out yet at the sight of one yet I think I’ll leave that for you. There are no rodents at my blog it is safe for a visit.

    Good to know Brenda, I will enjoy visiting your blog… thanks!!!!

  5. Gary says:

    I understand completely Rene’…
    We all have our "Nemesis Creature"… with meee it’s spiders.
    A spider is a BAD thing, and if seen by me, it is a dead thing. I am a member of the SPCA and HSUS, however I will actually stop my daily walk across Campus if I spie a spider and go kill it.
    Ok… I too know this is irrational, but it’s my version of your "nose dive"… about a year and a half ago, a southern house spider came into my home. These are spiders the size of your hand…
    I got the Ortho and dropped it on the third blast… went immediately to the store for product… bombed the crawlspace under my building… bombed the attic… sprayed an entire container of Ortho all over… caulked every crack I could find… pulled the shims off the plumbing and stuffed steel wool in the space around the pipes, and finally I nearly passed out from the fumes, and had to get a stand-up fan and open my Home up and blow it out…
    I have no worries now though… Midnight, my Bombay Cat, can hear a bug’s little footsteps or wing flutters… he’s the "go-to" guy for bugs… he even knows the word "bug", and it sets him off on a Mission.
    Rodents… like I said Rene’… I understand… my doggie Gaia would have loved you, as she HATED them, especially squirrels, which I had to spell "s-q-u-i-r-r-e-l" in conversation, or she would go beserk.
    Yep… everyone has a "Nemesis Creature"…
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa


    Ha-ha-ha   Gaia would have been my best friend Gary…. Thanks for understanding. I have a friend that freaks out over spiders and she calls me to her rescue often….My little dog (Schnauser) Abby kept the rodents at bay.. she has been gone for almost two years and I miss her.

  6. Kady says:

    The only varmits you’ll see on my blog are of the furry feline or canine variety. Come visit anytime. Oh, you might see some burned eggs in a pan – so beware. I had an eggstroidinary eggsplosion yesterday. Love your stories.

    Thanks Kady,

    I can’t wait to visit it!  I can "handel" burnt eggs….LOL

  7. Michele says:

    I know the feeling.
    I hate all of them!!!!! I used to joke that "I don’t break for squirrels". If they have the bad luck to run in front of my car just to taunt me…. oh, well.
    Then my sister moved in with me. Turns out she loves the danged things. She puts bread on the deck for them and will say as one of them scurries psat…"Oh, there’s Frankie or Jojo or Jonny or Hermione" Well, she’s so nuts that her bathroom is filled with ceramic squirrels names Verl, Merle and little baby Pearl.
    My granddaughter even calls her "Aunt Nuts"
    What am I going to do???
    Michele aka vintagediva1

    hahhah.. Love that.. Aunt Nuts!!!

  8. Ann Haas says:

    I’m with you about mice! Every place we have lived, it seems like I am the pied piper of mice. We were especially plagued with mice when we lived in the country. Imagine my surprise when we moved to the city to a lovely 1920’s Tudor and rounding the corner into my kitchen one day and being confronted by the biggest rat I have ever seen in my life. The basement door was locked from thereon in and a cover over a drain in our basement floor. When living in the country, I had a 45 minute commute to work. While sitting at a light one morning as I was almost to work, here comes a little mouse crawling out from under my truck hood and staring out me through my windshield. The Country Mouse became a City Mouse very quickly. We did have a lot of laughs sometimes at the mouse antics but they certainly can be a nuisance.

  9. carol branum says:

    hi Rene,we had a rattlesnake in the house once,and I have never forgot that,it crawled through the front door,but luckly it was not coiled,and was layed out and it got killed right away.mice and rats were a problem too,but since we have gotton a lot of cats,and daddy will refuse to kill a black snake.Black snakes will kill rattlesnakes.Also we have Guineas,and they keep rattle snakes away some too.Daddy had 3 possoms and a coon on the porch this morning eating the cat food.He loves them,and says oh thats ok,they are hungry too.But,then he complains about always being out of cat food.We havent had a big rattle snake problem really since I was about 10 years old.That year daddy and my Uncle freddy,and several men from the church came out with gunny sacks and had a rattle snake roundup,I remember Momma "Hallie telling me ot to ever tell any body that we had ratlesnakes!After the roundup they cut off the rattles,We have a counter in the Kitchen behind the stove,and daddy lined up the rattles on the counter,I remember as a little girl being afraid to go into the kitchen at night when it was dark,coz I was afraid that the rattles would come back alive!I bet we had about 2 dozen tails on the counter.Some of them had as many as 14 rattles on them.Some of them were hudge 7 foot almost and fat snakes.I was so scared when I was a little girl.But,we havent seen any in a while,not nearly that bad.I am sure they are still out there.But,Daddy says,that he has actually seen Black snakes fight a rattler and kill it.So,keep a few blacksnakes.If the population of blacksnakes gets to thick,I make him kill a few,but,he don,t want too.And,we argue,But,daddy has lived there for over 50 years,and he knows best.I am still totally terrified of rattlesnakes,and I dont care for black snakes,rats and mice don,t bother me,spiders don,t bother me,but,brown recluses do.I am afraid of Cougers,and feral hogs.And I am not fond of long horn cattle.they look great,but,daddy had a few long horn cattle one time that terrified the crap out of me.We still put out mice poision in the house.But,daddy says he hasn,t seen a mouse at all for a couple of years,I guess 14 cats outside helps.I still think he needs to get a cage at Orchelns to trap those possoms,he says he shot one of the big ones,I asked him if he cooked it,and he just,have a dood day girls,Must I say,the Ozark hillbilly,Carol Branum…

  10. Oh Rene’
    You would have hated coming to my home years ago….our home always had 4 legged critters as well as winged ones…
    from 3-rabbits, one of which thought he was a dog, and another that we called "Deamon Bunny-figure it out! lol!)" , 1 suicidal hamster, 3 guinea piggies, 1 Iguana,(husbands idea), asst fish, 1 cocatial and asst dogs & kitties…..thank goodness my daughter was not in to creepy crawly insects!
    As for the rodent population, I have discovered that if I "plant it- they will eat it" uugghh!…I actually had my "1st Kill" a few weeks ago…I drowned a mole who had burrowed his way around my Iris’s and lavender….
    Next timw you come visit, I will make sure we are clear of any rodent’s, don’t want ya fainting on the property,,,,might scare off the deer…oh wait! heeheehee!
    luv ya,

  11. Nancy says:

    I can handle almost anything outside, but in the house is another story! Bats are my biggest fear…can’t stand the things!

  12. Debbie says:

    Since we’re having Frank and Hernest hour here, it’s Bee’s that terrify me. Yellow Jacket’s in particular. All this talk about the fear of vernmin, snakes and squirrel’s, has brought up a funny memory for me involving my most feared insect. My husband and I along with some friends were having a nice row on a fresh water lake in the high Sierra Mountains one late summer day. We had packed a wonderful picnic and had made our way about half way across the lake when we decided to stop rowing and eat. We pulled out our subs and started to prepare the rest of our feast on the paper plates I had passed around to our crew. It wasn’t long before we had company… and lot’s of it! Our peaceful spot in the middle of the lake had become a war zone…It was us against the bees! My other boat mates were calmly trying to shoo the bee’s away,I however was already hysterical and had tossed my plate over board. They tried to calm me down but I grabbed their plates too and over they went! Whew… No more meat eating jellow jackets in the boat with us!

    We all still laugh over that day… I think we stopped for pizza on the way home!

  13. Betsy Lou says:

    I personally don’t mind little critters unless they cause a problem. Though I will tell you that I had a very creepy experience one day when I put my riding boots on in a hurry and noticed one seemed a little spongy in the heel. To my horror when I took my boot off there was a very dead squished
    mouse. At least I think that’s what it was as it was no longer recognizable.

  14. carolj says:

    There is a poem that begins, "I think mice are nice." I cannot agree. It’s their tails!!

  15. Sonia says:

    I can appreciate your terror of rodents, only not so much on Guineas and gerbils/hamsters. I can even stand mice but rats completely freak me out. I was in a pet store one day and nearly started hyperventilating when I saw myself face to face with a giant albino rat. Something about their tales, so thick and long and so, so WRONG completely derails me. But then the only other animals that scare me are skunks. Their white stripes give me goosebumps. Not their faces or their smell. But. Those. Stripes.
    We’re moving to the country in the Fall and I’m petrified of running into them up there. Lord help me.

  16. Heather Ozee says:

    Hi! I believe our heavenly father wants us to be happy. And we should bring all decisions to him in prayer. Here’s a verse that makes me feel ok about praying for things/changes I desire in life:Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
    Have a Great Weekend!

  17. Marilynne Adams says:

    I love all creatures, big and small, and it is hard to understand the fears most women have. I have a close friend who goes completely stupid if she sees a snake! I have to admit I do not like a spider to GET ON ME, but critters and creatures and crawlers are all part of nature, which includes US! And if you act crazy when a mouse crosses the floor with your children present, they will most likely grow up to do the same. Try to pet a rabbit sometime,feel how soft and sweet they are (other than biting occasionally!) Chinchillas are the softest things ever. We had a pet rat one time that was a real character, would sit up in the corner of the couch and "box" with you. They each have their own personalities, just like dogs and cats. I hope you outgrow your fears, you are missing so much.

  18. Girl: I am grinning so hard my cheeks hurt. Yes, I understand your feelings about Vermin. I too suffer greatly w/heavy heart pounding, hair standing up on the back of my neck, just the heby-jebbies in general when I see mice, rats, squirrels, chipmonks, all of those kinds of Rodent-types. I don’t have the same reaction to much of anything else like snakes, rabbits, or much larger creatures. I dislike cleaning up rodent leavings and just wish that they did not chose to exist anywhere around me. I am sure other people love them, and I don’t hold it against them. Just had to grin w/you in your story as well as the other comments left here. This is my first visit to the Farmgirl website since I started subscribing to the magazine a few months back. I will be back. I was raised on a dairy farm in Texas, and have never lost my farmgirl ways or roots for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  19. debbie selland says:

    Oh my, I can handle almost any thing, but a mouse or heaven forbid a RAT I just can not tolerate. This all began on a hot sunny day when I was about 13 and wearing a pair of bell-bottom jeans. I was helping clean out a granary on our dairy farm, when a mouse ran out of the old tarp I was shaking on UP the right pant leg of my jeans and lodged itself at my thigh and got stuck. Well, I shucked my jeans faster than you can ever imagine and ran for the house. I can still to this day remember the feel of that darn mouse on my leg and that has be some 30 some odd years ago!! I was forever scared.

  20. Web Forms says:

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and hardly found any specific details on other sites, but then great to be here, seriously, thanks…

    – Josh

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