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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. I smell a mouse

Chuck Hinman: I smell a mouse. Even though Chuck had one of the best gardens ever, he never ate a thing out of it.
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - Father's Day - June 20, 2004

By Chuck Hinman

I smell a mouse

Even though I am old and live at Tallgrass Estates and can't have a garden, never the less, the Nebraska farm blood in me reminds me that it is time to order some garden seed catalogs, to turn the garden over, and to plant something. Anything!

Building a house with VA money

Shortly after Connie and I were married in 1952, we had an idea it wasn't wise to dish out money each month to rent a house when we could afford to build a house.

One of the perks of being a veteran of World War II was that I qualified for 4% Veterans Administration money to build a house. So we bought a building lot in southeast Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in a subdivision called Phil-Acres and built our first house. The subdivision consisted of 10 acres. Ours was the second lot sold in that subdivision. The area quickly developed and now sits next to Washington Park Mall.

Field mice welcomed new homeowners

The first fall and winter we lived there we were surrounded by pasture-like land with tall weeds growing everywhere! We soon discovered the area was infested with field mice that welcomed us as next door neighbors as well as a respite from oncoming cold weather.

The inside of our house was mouse-proof but the garage was a literal playpen for all the mice in the neighborhood. They were probably attracted by our cocker spaniel's (Andy's) food bowl.

Trapping and disposing of mice

The mice terrified Connie and they repulsed me so we bought five mouse-traps. They filled-up about as fast as we set them out. It wasn't unusual to trap five mice each night. There were so many, it was necessary to have mouse funeral services each morning before I went to work. It was brief! No Taps or flag ceremony!

Before long it was hard to find a spot in the "mouse cemetery" portion of the yard that hadn't been previously used. Fortunately we were in the country so we weren't subject to ordinances that dictated how many little mouse bodies could be buried in each hole.

Where should the garden be?

By the time spring rolled around, we began thinking garden and the first thing that came to mind was where should the garden be located?

Wouldn't you know, the ideal spot seemed to be smack-dab in the center of the mouse cemetery. It was perfect -- no other place fit. But first I needed to turn the garden over!

Well, everywhere I spaded, there were mouse bodies in different stages of decomposition. I reasoned that even though the idea of growing a garden right in the middle of a mouse cemetery was repulsive, that it, in fact, was probably going to be extremely fertile!

Garden was wonderful but...

So we planted the garden and it was wonderful. The first things to be harvested were wonderful red radishes and leaf lettuce for salads. I'd look at a ruby red radish and just about take a bite ---- and I couldn't do it! I'd try again! Even though it was one of the best gardens we ever had, I never ate a thing out of that garden! It didn't bother Connie! That's OK but it bothered me when I kissed her!

We had the best tomato plants and the prettiest tomatoes but I never put one of them in my mouth. I gave most of the produce away without telling our little secret!

First and last year to have a vegetable garden

That was the last year we had a vegetable garden; we had a nice flower garden but even the pansies appeared to have mouse faces on their pretty blooms! Look at one some time and see if you don't see a pesky little mouse face.
Old McDonald had a farm -- E - I, E - I, O --------
And on this farm he had some mice - E - I, E - I, O
With a mouse, mouse, here and a mouse, mouse, there and
Here -- a mouse, there -- a mouse,
Everywhere, a mouse, mouse!
Old McDonald had a farm, E - I, E - I, O!
Written by Chuck Hinman, 14 July 2005. This version has a few revisions based upon a revised version sent by Chuck Hinman in April 2011.

This story was posted on 2013-06-23 05:23:57
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