There is a garden in Sheffield, England, where every cat dreams of gaining entry.
But this magical world is off limits to the furry community felines.
They can simply observe the adorable daily activities from afar with obvious disdain.
The human guardian, photographer Simon Dell, has constructed a haven for the residents of the fairy-tale land.
Those residents are a group of cute-as-can-be garden mice.
Dell was outside one day photographing the array of wildlife in the area. On any day, all varieties of birds and even a fox can be spotted.
Suddenly, he caught movement out of the corner of his eye.
Looking down, he noticed a miniature mouse standing erect in the fresh-mowed lawn.
Instead of the desire to rid his yard of the often considered pests, he took a different approach.
Simon ran inside, grabbed some peanuts and returned to the tiny creature.
After only a short while, the mouse reappeared and approached his new friend.
He began calling the little mouse with the cut on his ear, George.
This wasn’t the first mouse Dell had welcomed to his property though.
He had another mouse who’d lived in his shed the previous year.
His shed mouse, Stuart, disappeared that spring. Although he’s yet to return, Simon holds out hope.
As he sat with George, Simon noticed the neighbors cats peering over the fence at the events.
He knew he needed to do something to keep George safe from his natural predators. But why not ALSO make it aesthetically pleasing too?
The project began small.
Simon grabbed a few logs and made a protective barrier around a box for George. The artist in him refused to stop there though.
So he camouflaged it with straw and moss.
As the days went by, he added more and more to the mouse sanctuary.
He tapped into his woodworking skills and carved intricate mouse-size homes.
But there was no stopping him now.
Simon filled the breathtaking creations with all the creature comforts needed.
To his surprise, George thanked him by becoming a willing model.
The talented mouse seemed to pose perfectly for photos!
Fruit, nuts and berries are the perfect photo props and catered meals!
Hollowed out fruit is now used as a fragrant seat.
Holiday meals are celebrated on a miniature scale but enjoyed by the masses.
It doesn’t get any cuter than tiny tools.
Well maybe it does….
“Not safe in the garden every time I walk out they pelt me with tiny snowball’s . Now this may sound fun till you get one right in the ear And as they are so small they really do go right in the ear.“
Word must have spread of the safe mouse-town because before long, others had joined George.
To date, Dell has seen about 5 mice calling the once simple woodpile their home.
One is looking a bit large around the mid-section and Simon is hoping it is a pregnant female.
He named her Mildred.
In preparation for a possible baby-boom, he’s ready to enlarge the village to accommodate.
“Knowing mice can have up to 14 babies, I could be building many more log pile rooms. But I have space and don’t mind living alongside such cute and very photogenic little critters.”
Another resident is Mini, a curious little girl whose made herself at home.
She’s definitely pulling her weight with doing chores.
(Old doll toys are the ideal size for George and his growing family!)
Although this new home would provide some protection from the cats, Dell knew there was no fooling them with a few decorated logs.
He wasn’t about to let the special bond he and George had, end in tragedy.
There were still many dangers lurking just over the fence.
Simon shared his self imposed responsibility and solution with Bored Panda in a recent article.
“I decided to build them a home as I wanted to give them a safe place in the garden and not fall prey to cats or other animals.”
“Also, as I was feeding the mice it was the right thing to do as I would feel it was my fault getting them to come out if they became prey. Being a wildlife photographer, I wanted to create a nice looking habitat for any pictures I would take.”
“I then put up some wire fencing along the fence so there was no way the cats could get to the mouse. I also have a small Jack Russell Terrier dog so the cats know not to come in the garden and the dog pays the mice no attention.”
With the winter months now approaching, Simon is sure to provide an extra bit of warmth for his petite family.
Feathers from an old pillow are happily accepted for bed lining by the critters.
So now, while Dell can enjoy his feline companions inside, he knows his extended family are happy and safe.
The cats can only dream of getting close to the “mouse-sterpiece”.
Fortunately for the world, he’s taken us on the journey with him.
For those that just can’t get enough of the absolutely adorable photos, Simon has a calendar of the cuties.
Purrchase your squeaktastic calendar HERE!
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