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Beyond the Turkey Sale: Fall in Pemberton brings potatoes, field mice, and moose meat



Raised in Vancouver, I never had to worry about mice (only rats in the lanes and alleys, who generally stayed there, despite threats from my dad that if I hid my unfinished liver dinner in the bathroom garbage bin, rats would come into the house).

Here in Pemberton, rodent infestation is another matter. Field mice abound at this time of year. I have lived in two homes in Pemberton, and both have bordered on open fields. Now is the time these cute little mice (the paradox is that field mice are much sweeter-looking than their coastal cousins; tiny and round, with little thimble-like heads, resembling the Tailor of Gloucester of Beatrix Potter fame) come in from the cold and damp fields into warm houses. Leaving leftovers out on the kitchen counter is asking for trouble at this time of year, and any foodstuff stored in its original cardboard package is fair game to the little sh*ts (which is what I call them as that is what they leave everywhere).

Any package of crackers, granola bars or cookies must be put in another plastic bin or container. I have wiped out the Re-Use-It Centre’s supply of Tupperware in years past for such a reason, and I have a standing order from my near-Costco-living relatives for those clear plastic bins containing pre-washed salad greens to keep my seasoning packages, taco shells and pappadums safe from gnawers.

We moved a week ago to a house up the road. For some reason, even though this new house, like our old one, borders on a field, I hoped we would be immune from an influx of field mice. After all, we had enjoyed a year or two of rodent reprieve, thanks to diligent container-using, a few mousetraps, and the scent of our neighbour’s cat.

My husband left yesterday for the annual moose hunt. Before departing he cleaned out the freezer to make room for this year’s bounty, and took the uneaten meat from last year to friends in Mount Currie. (“Are you sure you want to do that?” I asked him, surveying our now-empty freezer. “What if you don’t catch anything?” “Bite your tongue, woman,” was his indignant reply.)

I was left alone in the new house with our five month old baby. I wasn’t happy about being left alone for four straight days but I acquiesced because basically, I had no choice. It was hunting season – essentially Christmas for male members of my husband’s family and that was that.

Feeding my baby in the living room on the second evening alone, feeling the strain that comes from knowing you are on your own with an infant for the next few days with no break in sight, I saw, as casually as can be, a field mouse scurry its way down the hallway. Down that hallway is our carpeted bedroom and the baby’s carpeted bedroom. With my child halfway through dinner, however, I could not very well drop everything to chase down this elusive little pest.