Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mouse Nest in the Woodpile

More About Birds and Animals...

Mouse NestWarm and cozy mouse nest

We found this beautiful little mouse nest yesterday while we were restacking the woodpile. I was much impressed with the skill with which the little creatures had made it. The nest was a warm, dry and cozy home in the woodpile, covered over above with split logs and a tarp. It was uninhabited, but I'm sure it's been full of baby mice at least once -- probably many times.

The nest is made mostly of chewed leaves and grass and some sort of hair (or something that looks like hair.) I don't know if they tear hair from their own bodies as some rabbits do or if they found some other source of hair or a hair-like substance.

Mind you, I don't like mice in my house, but they have their place in the ecosystem outside and I respect that. That being said, I've looked at a few dozen webpages about mice and their nests today, and I think this is the nest of a house mouse, a Central Asian species, that was introduced to the U.S. many years ago and is now one of the most problematic rodents in Kentucky (and the rest of the world.) One of their common nesting places is woodpiles!

Still, I felt a twinge of shame as we removed the nest and laid it on the ground. It was constructed so well that it held together when it was moved. I remembered the Robert Burns poem, To A Mouse. On turning her up in her nest with the plough.

I'm sure you've heard a phrase from one of the last stanzas of the poem:
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

There's much more to the poem, though, so if you haven't read it in full recently, it's well worth reviewing.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.