… or maybe not. There was a lot of screaming coming from my garden yesterday. And that screaming was coming mainly from me. I’m not afraid of rats or mice but I do get scared when they jump out at me. For the past few days I noticed that when I went to take out my compost (mainly at sundown since that is when the baby goes to sleep) there is a rat at the very top eating my fresh compost scraps. So I made a mental note that it is time to turn the compost. I was pretty sure this rat was just visiting so if I turned the compost in the middle of the day he wouldn’t be there. Well I was right… there was no rat. But two mice came bounding out of the top after a few shovelfuls into the job. My sister was there to witness my screaming. I took a break and went back later in the afternoon to finish the job. I worked very slowly because I was so afraid of running into a bunch of baby mice. Thankfully I didn’t see any baby mice but 5 more mice jumped out at me. They couldn’t climb up since the level of the compost was lower at this point so they ran out the bottom, running into me then down the side of my house into the front yard somewhere. And not all 5 jumped out at once either… they decided to pop out at random intervals making me increasingly more nervous as I continued emptying the bin. I’m glad my sister went home so she couldn’t witness the rest of the afternoon of screaming. Well it took all afternoon but I finally emptied out the bin and moved it into the round composter to finish off.
Some lessons learned from yesterday:
1. My compost was really dry. I read somewhere that mice like nesting in dry compost piles so I will have to do a better job of keeping my pile moist.
2. I need to do a better job of covering fresh scraps going into the compost to discourage rats or mice.
3. I need to turn the pile more often. A disturbed pile does not make a good home.
4. I read up on the dangers of mice droppings and urine in the compost including Leptospirosis which is caused by inhaling infected rat urine. Once the urine dries, the pathogen doesn’t survive. Mostly I am reassured that the compost is still safe to use but I couldn’t find much information on this in regards to gardeners. Still I am going to be cautious even though this is exceedingly rare.
5. I am probably going to need some therapy and some anti-anxiety medication.
Sorry there are no pictures of any mice coming out of the compost. I was too busy screaming.