Tag Archives: mice

Little Mice, Making Mischief

At 3 a.m. we awoke with a start to the sound of mayhem coming from the kitchen. My husband arrived first on the scene, and was just in time to see our otherwise lazy cat flying along the counter-top in hot pursuit of a mouse.

Listening for mice in the walls, or maybe just thinking about shadow puppets.

The plural noun for a group of mice is a “mischief.” How appropriate for the mice that share our home. They’ve eaten my favorite rubber spoons, left trails of droppings behind the stove, and shredded a pair of oven mitts for nesting material (eek!). But at least the cat finally got some exercise.

By the time I got to the kitchen the excitement was over. We set some live traps, did our best to decontaminate the scene, and eventually flopped back into bed. I don’t think we slept much. I kept listening for the trap in the kitchen to spring, too far away to hear except in my imagination.

The experience rattled around in my brain for a few months before a Spoonflower neutral pillow contest brought it to the surface. We caught two mice in our live traps, and I released them among the leaves and grasses. Now they’re hanging around in this repeating pattern, no doubt hoping to find my new oven mitts or a tasty spoon.

Would you like to explore with the mice? You can purchase this design on Spoonflower soon, or sign up for my e-newsletter for special info and a free coloring page.


Recently I needed reference photos of mice. I’ve snapped bighorn sheep, pocket gophers, praying mantis, flies, fish and salamanders. Rabbits by the bucket. Squirrels by the tub. Not one mouse.

Be careful what you wish for.


My husband and I were having dinner on our porch when I heard him say “what the heck is that?!?” He’d spotted a mouse gathering spilled thistle at the base of the bird feeder. We spent the next few nights photographing and counting mice. We may have to think about a relocation plan. Or at least a little tightening up around the foundations before fall.

But how nice to have the universe respond in a moment of need. In fact, it’s been a season of serendipity. When I attended the annual conference of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators in July, I lucked into the perfect experiences.

I learned about advocating for tiny members of our ecosystem in a talk by Marla Coppolino. Her presentation gave me ideas for raising awareness of Colorado native bees and pollinators. I took home an incredible piece of artwork sculpted by Karen Johnson. I want to wear it everywhere!

Linda Feltner taught a workshop using the principles of notan – creating a balance of lights and darks, warms and cools in a composition. I’ve taken a bird workshop from Linda, and love her teaching style and her depth of knowledge about painting the natural world. Her GNSI workshop was an eye-opening exploration of composition for natural science subjects. I gained an understanding of how to situate the birds and insects I want to illustrate in their environment. I can’t wait to get started.


Leon Loughridge (Dry Creek Art Press) also demonstrated notan principles in his field sketching workshop. Leon showed us how to see the lights, darks, warms and cools in the landscape and to shape them for good balance. Something else I’m anxious to practice.

Recently, I needed some raven photographs. There are ravens just up the hill, but they are cagier than mice. I may need more than serendipity.