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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Mice and peppermint

There's no better motivator for cleaning and organizing than having critters decide my fabric stash will be THE place to hide, breed, and live out the winter.  These are very smart mice.  They don't eat regular mouse bait of any kind.  I need more lye and peanut butter to make more bait.  No one I know owns a cat and all the feral cats of the neighborhood have disappeared.  I think maybe some of the neighborhood pit bull dogs may have killed the cats. 

I remembered an old time remedy my Grandma Mama used.  Peppermint.  Supposedly, mice don't like the smell of peppermint.  It drives them away.  Grandma Mama had a special patch of mint growing in her garden.  Every year she crushed the mint leaves and mixed them in a little lard in a tin can.  She left this can near the wood cook stove for a few days to make her own version of peppermint oil.    Later she would put bits of fabric or cotton batting in the oil to make peppermint balls.  She would put them around the house in places where mice were likely to roam.

Well, I don't have mint growing in my yard.  I can't get to the store right now to buy peppermint oil.  My daughter will pick some up for me.  Hmm....  I do have these.  These came from Taco Bell where my SIL and I eat once a month on our shopping trip.  The cashiers don't mind giving them to me when I ask for a few extra. 

I crush these up and put into a jar.

I add some really hot water to melt it all. 

I put some of the melted mint water in a spray bottle and added just a bit more water.

I spray around the kitchen counter and along the baseboards all over the house.  I don't know for certain this will work but my house smells better.  It really can't hurt to give it a try unless the meat eating ants decide they like peppermint candy too.  (knock on wood)  I really believe this should be the peppermint oil because the concentration of oil in candy is very small.  Candy is mostly sugar. 

I won't be doing any fabric or craft organizing until after I get the storage/guest room painted.  My best guess at when I'll get started organizing again is January.  I plan to buy the paint on my next shopping trip in a few days.  In the mean time, I'm working on 6 charity quilts to be given to residents of the nursing home where my mother lives..... and trying to stay out of the way of the mice.


kathi said...

THANKS. i am GOING to REMEMBER this one. my FAVORITE cat took "that last ride" sniffles. the cat remaining, is being VERY bad. won't poop in the litter box. NOT acceptable. and i am TERRIFIED of MICE in the studio. the roll battings. ye GADS. but WE ALWAYS have PEPPERMINT CANDY here. ALWAYS. so. hmmmm?
now ANY IDEAS on how to get a CAT to NOT GO someplace.?

Anita Estes said...


Hmm... Cats. I have a couple of ideas you might try. The cat refusing to use the litter box may be because he's older and in pain. He may associate the litter box to the pain. He may be trying to avoid the pain by avoiding the litter box. Have him checked by a vet if you haven't already.

Citrus fruit (SMELL ONLY!!) is good to keep cats from certain areas. Oranges, lemon, grapefruits and so forth. Citrus is highly toxic to cats which is why they usually stay away from it.

Moth balls work the same way at keeping cats away. I used them in my garden area to keep feral cats from going potty in the soft dirt. Mothballs are very toxic too. I would be afraid of having either around to tempt a cat unless used very very carefully.

I did not want to kill any feral cats so I put the moth balls inside glass jars with holes punched in the lid. The smell could get out but the cats couldn't accidently eat any of it. You could try putting some citrus oil on cotton balls inside glass jars then putting those around areas where you don't want him to go.

Let me know if you try either of these and if it works. Please be careful though. I would NOT want to be the one to suggest something that eventually hurts your furkid.