Sofa; cloudy, 31 F, 0519
This house has many mature trees in the side and back yards. Every autumn, the trees lose their leaves. Some threes also produce many nuts. This is very nice, but leads to one problem; mice. The mice love the nuts and love the cover of the dead leaves to hide in. If I do not get rid of both, then there is a mouse population explosion and they get in the house.
This requires a layered approach. I do not like poisoning the mice because the effects other beneficial wild life. When a mouse does in the house, there are several traps around the basement baited with peanut butter. That will usually get them.
Outside I make sure that I get as many nuts (hickory and acorns) as possible racked up. I dump them in the woods where the dear, mice and squirrels can enjoy them. I also rack up and get rid of all the leaves around the house and yard. This denies them cover while running from the woods to the house.
Finally, I encourage natural predator like owls, foxes and snakes to take their place in the food chain. I build a nesting platform for great horned owls in the woods. They take up residence in the spring and raise new owlets every year. The foxes are regulars in the back woods and there are plenty of rat snakes living back in the brush pile and stone wall.
As far as the yard cleanup is concerned; most of it is done with the lawn tractor. I mulch and bag the leaves up and dump them in the compost pile. The remaining is taken care of with the rake. The white oak always holds onto its leaves. Throughout the winter, the west wind blows the leaves back into the woods keeping the lawn area clean.
The area in front of the house under the hickory tree requires raking to get rid of all the nuts.
It takes a few hours to complete, but is well worth the effort.