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Friday, October 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Ammi Midstokke: Coexisting with nature in your kitchen

by Ammi Midstokke

There are certain people out there, I am sure, that have a sort of karmic magnet for chaos. They are the people that somehow manage to pile several catastrophes into a day and casually cook dinner on the side. I watch them from a distance and silently judge their sixth sense for disaster and mayhem.

Until now. In a single day last week, I managed to have a chimney fire and a water heater failure – the latter turning my straw bale walls into a sponge for giants – within hours of each other.

After I had disassembled and reassembled the entire chimney pipe and discovered a stink bug village, a wasp nest the size of my head, and conversed with most of the fire department – who now know me on a first name basis – the wall started spewing mud and hay.

This isn’t really what you want to see your new house doing. And though this is my first home, I was under the impression that water is supposed to stay in pipes for best results.

The next day, as I was cooking dinner and perusing my home owner’s insurance policy, I discovered the evidence of mice near my oven. Suddenly, other evidence made sense and I realized the mice were likely making a time share out of my oven. Also, that unique flavor of my home cooked sweet potato fries was probably hantavirus.

As my pipe-assembly tools were still handy, I took apart my oven to find the swankest mouse nest I’ve ever laid eyes upon. Cozy and warm, made from stove insulation, it was clear they had been having orgies under my burners while I made pancakes. It took me hours to clean out and I’m pretty sure the little buggers moved back in the next day. I’m thinking I should just install a tiny toilet for them and put out tiny doormat to make them feel at home.

I have been catching them in a live trap because I clearly have a soft spot. I believe the mice have taken to considering these live traps – Holds Up to 30 Mice!! – as sort of teen community centers.

They do not seem at all disturbed when I peer in at their fat little bodies as they continue to munch away at apples and nuts left for them. Perhaps I need to install a tiny pool table in there for them.

It would appear that mice and stink bugs and wasps have been here much longer than my house, having established themselves as permanent residents of the land and structures upon it. I’m hoping there is a way we can co-exist, preferably with me inside the building and those creatures outside.

Until then, I will continue to verbally threaten them whenever I go into my pantry. “Remember that guy on Never Cry Wolf?!” I shout as I open drawers and cabinets, prepared for them to leap out at me.

I think they know what a carnivorous coward I am and rather take delight in my generosity of releasing them back into the wild. I imagine a steady stream of them are making a pilgrimage through the forest and straight back to my house.

I’m going to need more traps. And some doll furniture.

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