Thursday, October 14, 2010


The oldish fellow in the coveralls was grinning. A grin is something you always like to see on the face of either your doctor or your mechanic. “Got some good news and some bad news.” he said smiling broadly.

Being the optimistic sort, I always want the good news first, totally convinced that it will completely negate any possible bad news.

“The good news is that you don't need a windshield wiper motor.” he said obliging my choice of which news first, but then he started to chuckle. “ But lady, you really do have a case of mice. Those varmints have chewed all your wiper motor wires down to the nub.”

I wrote about my windshield wipers passing away during the night in my boils and sores post. My first thought at the time was that since we were in almost drought conditions, this repair could wait. However this week I was wanting to take a trip to Florida to be with my sister during this painful time for the family and I wasn't keen about a long wiper-less journey.

The good news was that it was a relatively inexpensive fix. How on earth I was going to keep it from happening again was the bad news. Now fortunately, my little house is rat-tight but my tiny pickup sits in the relative open under a car port.

Guess I did too good a job running off my neighbors cat a while back. Now I was paying for my inhospitable nature. She may have scratched my paint but I had no mice problems while she was defacing the pickup's hood on a nightly basis.

“Here kitty kitty.” Oh that's right, some drag racing teens took her ninth life a while back.

Off I went to the trusty Internet. Of course the first remedy was either traps or poison. You all ready know what a softie I am about animals. My main desire was to discourage and make them go elsewhere---not murder.

Odor seems to be the repellent of choice. Appears mice are suspicious of strange smells. Highly touted were threatening odors like coyote urine which can actually be purchased. I can only hope the coyotes volunteer their urine. This is not human friendly however and while it may deter rats , I am pretty sure the heralded stink would wipe me out.

Aroma therapy seemed the least noxious way to go for me. Many on the Internet touted Bounce dryer sheets as a repellent, while others say peppermint works wonders. Both said that after a while, the rats get use to the odor and would come back. My theory is that I will keep changing the odors to keep them off balance.

So, I have tied dryer sheets in each corner of the engine compartment, concentrating on the newly repaired wires location. When that aroma begins to fade, I will sprinkling peppermint essential oils on the dryer sheets , then oil of cloves when the peppermint fades, then back to fresh dryer sheets.

If nothing else, I am going to have one grand smelling engine. I really want to be close by the next time I have my vehicle serviced.

Now I am also concerned about wires lower in the chassis so I have resorted to a small amount of used cat litter mixed in the gravel under the vehicle ( my house cats finally have a function besides being decorative, amusing, and affectionate.)

So far I can't smell the litter over the dryer sheet aroma but then I do have a nasty sinus infection (sadly, the reason for eventually aborting the Florida trip). We will see if I can tolerate the cat litter when the infection clears.

That taps out all I know how to do. If you have any other methods for repelling the furry wire chewers, I'd love to hear them. Also, when you are faced with a good news/bad news situation, which do you go for first ?? Just curious.


  1. Good news every time; no remedy other than possibly getting some gravel to put in the carport or filling it with concrete, then the critters are less likely to go in there. hate to say it but the winter they might get worse. Are there any cedar mills near you? You might be able to get some free cedar chips and pour them out in a thin layer in your carport and that smell would be nice to drive on and might ward them off.

    Are you going to Florida? If you are close to me, do you want to meet up or stop by?

  2. I had not thought about that kind of problem before. I guess I would think that when you started a car that mice would run away.

  3. Oh Patti that's awful! I hope that Linda's advices will help! I know that when we first moved into this house we had mice, but we set traps and later we had cats and now we haven't seen a mouse for 40 years.
    Thanks for your comment! Dina sent me an e-mail called "Hineh mah tov", meaning : "how good is it..."
    I used it as Weekend Reflection...

  4. I like the bad news first to get it out of the way...Too bad my grand daughter does not live near you. She would take the mice home for pets. Another animal rescuer in the making there.

  5. As I am by nature somewhat a pessimist, I'd prefer the bad news first, then the good news.

    I don't, as far as I know, have mice on the property, probably due to the neighbor's cat roaming freely about. Squirrels are another matter; of those there are dozens, and they will chew on almost anything. The telephone wires leading into my home have been replaced twice because of squirrel damage.
    Hope you get better soon. Sorry your trip had to be postponed.

  6. I prefer good news first because if I get the bad news first I fret over it and usually miss the good news.
    Mice, rats and other rodents do not like the smell of vinegar. So you might add that to the arsenal of peppermint, oil of clove, dryer sheets, cedar oil, tea tree oil.....Dang old wire chewers. We had rabbits who loved to eat our cable wires and so we sprayed it down with apple cider vinegar. Helped. The Olde Bagg

  7. I like the bad news first to get it out of the way, but the good news has to be really good!

    Good luck with those mice. I have no idea how to keep them out of cars, once they've figured out how to get in. They are tenacious little critters.

  8. Oh yes, I know about this. Any car parked outdoors is bound to be a shelter for some warm animal or two.

    I want the good news first. The joy of it will buoy me for the next stage.

    Hope the furry problem gets handles by the drier sheets.

  9. Oh, my...That's really something...But great remedies!!!! I'll have to remember that!!!! Love the good news/bad news bit, too!!! Will have to remember that!!! You always write such fun posts!!! Love, Janine XO

  10. Patti, everything I know about getting rid of rats I wrote about in my blog sometime last winter. You may have missed it so here it is if you are interested:

  11. My mother spent a weekend with us and she discovered a mouse nest, under the hood, when she went home.

  12. Linda Starr,
    Now that is a good idea and we do have a shop that makes cedar furniture that I will visit tomorrow. I will have to smell better than litter.Thanks.
    Not going to Florida right now but next time, I will let you know and maybe we can meet for lunch.

    I'm sure they do, it is what they do at night when it is parked that is so damaging.

    Reader Wil,
    I really wish I had an outside cat. My house cats are of no use what so ever. Maybe I could live trap.

    Would she like me to mail them to her? Got to love her caring. I'd be happy to live trap them for her.

    Pat Arkansas,
    So far no squirrels here but what is it with these rodents and wiring?

    Linda in NM
    That I can do and will do. Can't hurt anything and may work. Thanks.

    Now that is not what I wanted to hear but fear you are right.

    Well I have a lot to try. Good thing I like a challenge.

    Sniffles and Smiles,
    Thanks Janine. As long as I can find the humor, nothing is too bad.

    Yikes, you mean I have to make him a pet? Seriously, that was a funny post of yours, thanks for the link.

    I guess it is as part of country living as the quiet.Hope there weren't any babies in the nest.

  13. I would ask for the bad news first.

    My sister-in-law had that problem or perhaps it was squirrels nesting in her engine. Unfortunately she is deceased or I would ask her how they resolved the situation.

  14. I think I want the Good News first, so I can brace myself for the Bad!

    Mice eating the wires!! Good Lord! I wonder what sort of Nutrition there is in that!
    I have never heard of the idea of Aroma Therapy to fix this problem...I'm like you---I hate killing any Animals, though I must say, Rats are not high on my list of "saves". (lol)
    I hope you are able to get rid of them, my dear.

  15. I take the bad news and skip the good news. It's just a token anyway so our caterwauling isn't so loud. But hey, the caterwauling would make the mice think there is a cat around. So caterwauling would be a good thing. Love and peace....

  16. I haven't a clue, but my compassion towards animals stops with rats and mice. I'd be setting out sticky traps.

  17. Bad news first, please. I like to end on a high note.

  18. Always, good news first!
    hmmm...there's a cat, in my neighborhood, that is ruining my newly painted garage doors. I could catch him and send him to you for free!!! Don't know what his owners would think...

  19. Linda,
    Well at least I know I am not alone. Thanks for that.

    From what I have read, they chew on wires to wear down their teeth with grow at a pretty alarming rate. Alligators, sharks and mice are on the bottom of my list of creatures to protect, yet I will give them serious effort in finding a way to humanley move them on.

    Caterwauling, now why didn't I think of that. Worth a try.

    I know, they are stretching my compassion but I am an animal nut.

    That is definitely one way to look at. Pretty sure there is no right way here. Just what works for us.

    Ah the old disappearing cat routine. I am still trying to get the scratches off my hood. Lots of waxing.Good luck.

  20. When our daughter rented this old farm house, she got a lot of mice in her engine and they tried crawling into her car. Anyway she used traps under the seats, and D-Con, she finally got rid of them all.

  21. I forgot how we dealt with this dilemma as it was long when we had that problem. But I believe it was because of the cats we had around with us. They are nature's rodent repellents. Treat them nice and they will do their job loyally as any devoted worker can be.

    Thank you for the feedback in my cold snap Pat. By the way, it was my 60th Birthday celebration, not 50. That was 10 years ago. (^_^)

  22. OMG now I know why I am keeping my outside cats around. I do hope that works for me.
    Lord girl you have really tried some strang remedies..hahaha Let me know how they work.
    I heard something in my attic last night and scared the beegezzz out of me.
    Patti I am behind on my visiting and I am so sorry about Tommy.
    I will of course continue to pray for you and your family. I so wish there was something else I could do.
    Be careful while traveling honey
    Love ya

  23. How about acquiring an outside cat?

  24. Wish I could lend you Mazie Grace for a few days. She would have all the mice, etc. taken care of in no time. We've never had a problem with them getting in vehicles thank goodness.

    I want the good news first. That way I can be happy for at least a few minutes.

  25. I have a real phobia of mice and rats!!
    The old saying about squirrels... (I'm paraphrasing.)
    "Does a big fuzzy tail really make a difference?"
    HECK YEAH!!!!
    Good luck with the vermin!!

  26. We often had those pesky wood rats building nests & chewing wires in our pickups or machinery during summers in the mtns with the cattle. They work fast too. I killed them anyway that was handy. Not on my list of saves.
    It will be interesting to see if any of your methods work.
    Good news first, then what comes comes.
    Hope your feel'n better soon.

  27. Hm, good news first. Very creative solutions to the mouse problem - good luck! I hope your sinus infection clears up soon.

  28. Patty
    Not saying I won't resort to traps but for now, I prefer the nonviolent ways. I suppose the first time I have to replace the whole harness, I may move to the dark side.

    Thank you about Tommy. You have a full plate your self lady.
    Hope it was just your resident ghost shuffling around the attic.

    Linda Myers,
    I would but I hate the thought of animals outside in winter. Maybe I could rent a cat for a short time.

    Sweet Virgina Breeze,
    Mazie Grace is a force to be reckoned with and worth her weight in good stuff.

    Gabriele Agustini,
    Isn't it funny what a fuzzy tail can do to ones attitude towards a creature?

    Thanks, doing much better now. I have my toes crossed for the humane ways, NRA methods are not totally eliminated yet.

    Thanks so much. I can now smell my cat with the bad gas so I guess I am well. Wonder how she would do with a charcoal diaper?

  29. Bonnie,
    That must have been a typo. Regardless, 60 is still a puppy in my book. Enjoy.
    I do have cats but they are inside cats with no claws. Wonder if I could get a claw implant?

  30. I love that you don't want to kill, just make them leave

    I asked my neighbor and he swears by peppermint scent

    I always want the bad news first so that I can end on a high note

  31. I always like the bad news first so I am left with the good news in the end.

    Sadly, I have no solution to your problem but hope that you've got it taken care of now.

  32. Dianne,
    Thanks, I will try all I can to be humane. Thanks for checking, am trying peppermint now. Sure makes the vehicle smell tasty.

    I am working on it now. Fortunately I do enjoy a challenge.

  33. I am late for the party here as usual.... Good new vs. bad news... depends on how I am feeling at the moment. Must be the Gemini in me.

    The previous owner of my 4Runner had a mouse die in the ventilation system of the car. The owner was ill and did not drive it much, so it became attractive to them. When it was clear our friend would not be getting better and entered a facility, his son had the car worked on and the ventilation system cleaned out in preparation for sale. It took several months for the odor to go away. Now it just smells like dogs. ;)

    When gas was up over $4 per gallon and I still had my big, black Chevy truck, I parked it and did not use it much. The mice moved right in and chewed the insulation covering the firewall and moved it into the fuse box. This particular truck had a huge fuse box housing and made a perfectly cozy home for them. Once I discovered they were in there I started the truck and ran the engine almost everyday. That seemed to discourage them.

    We use the drier sheets in the camper. Had no issues at all through the winter last year. Your post has caused me to change my plan for the day. I realized I need to pop the camper up and mouse proof it! Nice, sunny day. Seems like a good thing to do today.

  34. Barry,
    What smells worse than decaying rat? Nothing. That had to have been awful.
    Glad to hear the dryer sheets do work. Thanks.
    Good I could be a reminder.

  35. Depends on the bearer of the news. If my doctor I like the bad news/good news so when I leave my mind has a positive thought even though it may not last.

    Rodents including squirrels are not on my pet list but I rarely poison them because I have a dog. I cheese trap the mice. I hate the sneaky creatures.

    Sorry your trip plans, if recent, were cancelled. Some of my friends are allergict to dryer sheets.

    Too bad some fan or other device insided the truck doesn't launch the nasty little varmints into their next life span whatever that may be.

  36. Nitwit,
    So good to hear from you, been worried by your quiet. Hope all the tests went well and they have you on the right track now.
    So far aroma therapy is working--- I think.