Friday, August 21, 2009

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Every time my in-laws come to visit from Louisiana, they bring with them a bounty of goodies that includes things like crawfish pie, Boudin, fig, mayhaw, and muscadine jellies, a box of salsas of varying degrees of hotness made by one of my father-in-law's clients, and, of course, a big ol' honking box of Gulf shrimp. Only problem is, the shrimp comes frozen. Which means short of sticking the thing under S.B.s table saw and risking my life and limb, I have to unthaw the big brick of shrimp and cook it all within a few days.

No worries, though. After a couple years of this, I have the routine down pat. I usually start with a lemon, parlsey, and shrimp pasta, move on to the ubiquitous shrimp 'n' grits (a new recipe this year, thanks to Shamu), then end it all with a big pot of gumbo that we can eat on for a couple days more and still have some left over to freeze for later.

Last night, to celebrate the fact that today is a rest day in our workout schedule, S.B. and I decided to allow ourselves some alcohol and a new dish that we could cook together while sipping our drinkees and enjoying the mellow summer evening: grilled skewered shrimp wrapped with fresh basil and bacon. Mmmmm . . . bacon.


It was with major anticipation that, after spending a full thirty minutes on the messy, slightly tipsy business of skewering and wrapping shrimp, S.B. opened the lid to the BBQ grill to find that a mouse had not only taken up residence in the smoker box, she was also in the process of giving birth.

Needless to say, Momma Mouse was none to happy to see us (actually, scared out of her mousie mind was more like it) and although we tried to snag her while she was in her box in order to relocate her and her little family, she was having none of it. She quickly ran up the wall on the side of the house and wouldn't come down.

A sad, sad sight greeted me when I finally got up the courage to peek in the box: Two tiny newborns the size, color, and texture of jelly beans were squirming helplessly in a nest crafted out of the Pepto Bismol colored insulation that protects our pool pump. No doubt stolen by momma on one of her daily foraging expeditions. How she managed to get by both Ivan and Maddie is one heck of a testament to the evolutionary success of these wily little critters.

Yes, I realize that the vast majority of mice are simply up to no good. Scratching in the walls, getting into the pantry, gnawing through car engine cables, spreading Hanta virus. Still. Only seconds into their life on this great and glorious earth and this is how they are greeted? After I made a big enough fuss, S.B. finally sighed his S.B. sigh, agreed not to shoot the lot of 'em, and instead pulled the baby birthin' box out of the grill and set it in a larger box on a law chair next to the wall where mamma had attached herself.

And then we proceeded to grill our shrimp. Because hungry eventually trumps blubbery and tearful in Moi's household.

We should have thought to replace the birthing box in the grill once it cooled down but I'm ashamed to admit I forgot about the mice. This morning, S.B. had to remind me. When I checked on them at 8:30, I was surprised to find them still alive and squirming. But no sign of momma. So S.B. took the smaller box and placed it back in its original spot in the grill and shut the lid, in the hopes that mom would come back.

It's two o'clock in the afternoon and I just lifted the lid. The jellies are squirming up a storm, but mom isn't in the box.



Jenny said...

oh dear God. This is why I live mostly in the city and when I'm on the Island? I STAY INSIDE.

Good luck and sorry.

Big Shamu said...

I'm afraid I got nothing. Which really sucks. I have a feeling nature will take it's course hopefully sooner than later.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

oh. Crap.

Call aminal control, see if they can advise? Or a local vet? sadly, I bet they tell you the same thing: the jellies are no-hopers.

Gawd, it's just not fair - even baby varmints are still babies.

Kymical Reactions said...

poor baby meeces. (I have a pouty lip right now) I don't know how to help you with the momma mouse problem. I'm still trying to figure out my frog invasion. :(

h said...

I don't know of any way to lure the Mom back except to stay clear of the area.

fishy said...

Clueless. Is there water in the grill box?

chickory said...

its terrible.

and i hate it.

sorry moi.

moi said...

All: Jellies still squirming. Still no sign of mom but I did go and drop water on their mouths. I can't feed them. Nature will just have to do what it can do . . .

dianne said...

Thats so sad, lets hope momma mouse comes back, she will have plenty of milk for the little jelly beans, I think they do have a built in 'maternal instinct' so if you leave the box where it is she may return...I hope so. ♡

pam said...

Oh man, this is difficult. Icky creatures grown but all animal babies being helpless and cute ... nature may need to take its course. It may be that once they had been moved, mama wasn't having it any more. I did similar with a birds nest that was unknown to me but lurking in a potted plant on our patio. I moved the plants around. Little eggs inside the nest. No mama bird ever came back for them. :(

NYD said...

Forget about the mice. They're probably goners. I know it seems harsh of me to say it so directly, but youve touched them and disturbed the area. There is very little chance for the momma mouse to retun. There is no such thing as a inborn maternal instinct, but there is a survival one and I'm afraid that she's probably trying to take care of the rest of her litter.

Dani said...

Oh man! Wish I had some advice to give yah. :)

moi said...

Inexplicably, the jellies are STILL alive! These must be Super Mice. Ugh.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

Maybe mom has been feeding them - they can't have survived this long on their own!

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