Outsmarting Big Al

Our children learned early on that outsmarting their dad wasn’t an easy go, and their friends who called him “Big Al” figured it out as well. Now, varmints are another matter. They haven’t gotten the word. I won’t even get into his ongoing battle with the squirrels who’ve found many ruses to get the bird food he provides with his hard earned money.  

Last year about this time in a different battle, he found traces of uninvited residents in our shed out back where we keep the Christmas decorations. Armed with boards, hammer, nails, and caulk, he headed out and stopped up every single hole – or so he thought.

Bringing in the Christmas decorations this week revealed that he had missed an opponent. I was a bit surprised when I opened the huge box that held all the medium boxes of Christmas decorations to find acorns scattered in it. I passed over it with a “That’s weird,” and kept pulling out boxes. Down a layer, I pulled out another box and spied this compiled square of shed insulation that you see in the pictures. It filled the empty space between boxes perfectly. Looking closer, I could see a perfectly formed oval nest hollowed out inside.

It fit the description of a mouse nest on the Internet, and I could imagine how cozy the mouse family must have been snuggling together down inside that soft warm nest. I had to admire the ingenuity of the parent mouse in circumventing Big Al and in the clever confiscation and use of the shed insulation.

However, I think I should warn Mama Mouse that the battle is not done. Big Al has more boards, more nails, and more caulk. Already he is plotting a return to the shed with intent to do a more passionate search for holes. He’s making a list of his tools and checking it twice, already aware of varmints who are naughty. (He didn’t find any that were nice.) His goal for the shed is “not a creature is stirring – not even a mouse.”