I'm a little phobic about certain kinds of bugs, especially the ones with the little, tiny bodies and the very long, creepy legs. Just thinking about them makes me shudder. Don't know why, they just do.

I'm quite self-possessed in the presence of many other creatures. Just the other day, Rosie was chasing a grasshopper around the kitchen, trying to eat it. I scooped up the little hopper and placed it outside, careful to keep the predatory puppy in the house.

I don't love spiders, but I can cope with them, mostly; I've rescued the occasional bird that got trapped in the house or garage. Didn't mind holding them at all.

And I am our household's designated mouse dispatcher. I wouldn't go out of my way to play with small rodents, but I'm not afraid of them and I don't object to disposing of them once the trap has done its work.

Recently, we've been discovering evidence of the critters in our kitchen. A hunk nibbled out of a loaf of bread on the counter, a bite taken out of a peach, their telltale pellets in our cupboards.

Yes, like many country dwellers, we have mice in our house. We tried something called Mouse Magic, which is a substance like sawdust impregnated with oil of spearmint contained in little sachets. Supposedly, mice can't tolerate the smell of spearmint, and so they stay away. And it actually did work — almost like magic — for a year or more. But now they're back. I guess they just couldn't give up a good source of food and shelter because of a little stinky spearmint.

So the other night, I baited a couple of traps with peanut butter and set them out in the kitchen. These were not your Havahart traps, which necessitate a long drive to release the offender far enough away that it won't return to the house. On the other hand, they weren't those horrible glue traps that allow the rodent victim to die of thirst as it struggles to get free — heartless!

They were just ordinary traps. You put the bait in the little well with a flap on it, lift what the instructions refer to as the "killing bar" and lock it into place, and set the trap where you suspect the quarry hangs out when you're not around.

In the morning — voila! Two dead mice, which I removed from the premises before my more squeamish spouse got up. I'm sure there will be more bodies before we're rid of them.

Actually, it's relatively simple to deal with mice in the house. We know where they are — in the kitchen, where there's food. (Kind of like the guy who is said to have remarked that he robbed banks "because that's where the money is.")

But we also have the wily little fellows in our garage and shed, where it's harder to set traps and much harder to actually be rid of the mice, since there is pretty much an endless supply of them outdoors, and it's way easier for them to get into the garage or the shed than the house. They love to nest in the air filter of a car or an ATV, to chew the wiring in any machine, etc., so that we were at our wits' end as to how to send them packing and put a stop to rodent-induced repairs.

Our friendly ATV mechanic said he uses mothballs. We were game to give it a try — you can acquire a large quantity of mothballs for much less than the cost to fix chewed wiring, or remove a mouse nest that has fouled the works of a machine. We duly took everything out of the shed — there was quite a lot of stuff that was ready for the dump, swept it clean, and then placed the mothballs along the inside walls and closed the door to let the mothball smell get good and strong. That would get rid of those pesky mice!

A few days later, Maureen looked in the shed. "The mothballs all melted," she said.

So it goes in the ongoing struggle for survival between woman and mouse.

If readers have a method of getting rid of mice that they swear by, I'd love to hear about it, as long as it's not gruesome. Email me at sreynolds@villagesoup.com.

Sarah Reynolds is the editor of The Republican Journal.