Thursday, 3 April 2014

Nice mice?

Do you have those days when you feel like rather a rubbish human being? With the latest report out from the IPCC about the implications of climate change we have good reason to feel gloomy! That isn't what triggered my feelings today though.

Having been too disorganised to make it to the Transition meeting, I was feeling rather cross with myself, so I decided to use the last glimmer of daylight to move my compost heap. A bit of gardening always cheers me up.... even if it is dusk and rather a smelly job.

At the weekend, I built a double compost bin, with the help of my oldest son and youngest daughter, which will look a lot tidier and be more practical than our current 'heap'. I am rather pleased with how good it looks (for a homemade compost bin), but I still needed to move the current compost pile to make a space for it. Plus I was hoping to dig some of the lovely well-rotted compost out, to use on my vegetable beds. I was happily digging away, when out dashed a little field mouse, and another, and another!

So I have had a stern lecture from my nature-loving husband, about not disturbing the wildlife in spring when everything is nesting and how the baby mice will now be unprotected, cold and likely die because of my efforts! They are mice - technically classed as a pest, but they are very cute and aren't causing us any harm, other than eating my radishes (and making me jump out of my skin every so often!). Also they are a source of food for the Tawny Owl that we hear in the woods behind the house, so killing the mice may also harm the owls that are already struggling with habitat loss and food shortages.

Not only am I now feeling dreadful about the wildlife, but can you imagine the mess I have created in my already untidy garden? We have a pile of un-rotted compost that I 'temporarily' dumped on the grass, a newly built compost bin still taking over the patio and a pile of semi-composted material at the back of the garden that is now untouchable! The full horror will hit when the sun comes up......

The shed is already out of bounds as the blackbirds have decided to nest in it this year. The last 2 years it was the robins. This year I have set myself a target of putting up some nest boxes to provide the birds with some alternative and more convenient accommodation, because I want to pull the old shed down. The shed happens to be in the sunniest spot in the garden, which would be the perfect position for a greenhouse. Do birds nest in greenhouses?

There is some good news on the local, home grown, food front.....after a 2 year wait I now have an allotment! (I think they are called Victory gardens in the US.) My growing space has now been doubled. Full details and photos to follow in the next post.


  1. I am afraid we kill them in these parts they are the biggest pest in my garden worse than slugs. I would not be able to grow anything if we didn't. They don't seem to have any predators here so we have to cull a few to keep the population under control, they move into our house if we don't.

    I am sure if you move the contents of your old compost bin into your new one they will reconolise very quickly!

    1. I do love hearing other peoples opinion on this :-) Losing all my crops to mice would no doubt alter my view of them too.

      But I was just thinking that the mice are just trying to feed their families, just as we are growing veg to feed ours - why are our needs more important than theirs? If you take it a stage further - Gamekeepers and farmers who lay poison to kill birds of prey are just trying to protect their livelihood too. Are their needs more important than a golden eagles? It seems to me that we need so much that we really leave so little space for wildlife.

      It is pigeons that I hate! They are dirty, greedy, noisy birds that destroy my veg. Probably if they were as rare and protected as a Golden Eagle I would still feel the same. As it is they are harder to trap or poison than mice!