Friday, September 25, 2009

The Worst Idea of 2009

The Mouse Nation and I have had great difficulties coexisting peacefully since I assumed the role of Commander in Chief at Spirit Creek Farm. Historically, poison had been placed in the crawl space of the house, in large quantities. I did away with that, but found I had to resort to smaller packages of poison inside my house a couple of times a year.

I have since made sincere efforts to coexist with all the flora and fauna at Spirit Creek, refusing to wage chemical warfare or other genocide. I stopped the poison altogether but then endured a few horrible episodes of infestation. The mice warriors declared jihad on me for the previous generations that had been poisoned. They ruined clothes and books and toys and all manner of things in my house. They chewed through the seat belt on the passenger seat belt in the truck three times! They chewed through the furnace wiring and several areas of truck wiring. In total, I think it cost over $500 for the various repairs. It would have been hundreds more, but Ford replaces safety belts for free, even when the same belt was chewed through three times!

I resorted to live traps, in the house and in the truck. That worked fairly well. It required that I keep a close eye on the traps. It also presented the problem of where they should be released. I let one little guy go in the glare of a baking hot day, covered in peanut butter, miles from water. I felt guilty about that, so then I started releasing them back onto my property but at the far east end. If they could survive for a quarter of a mile they could reach water.

I bought a stack of snap traps sold under the brand name Tom Cat. Do not buy these worthless traps. The mice either licked all the peanut butter off without triggering the trap, or they survived the snap, and I had to feed the still living mice to the dog.

Finally I found good snap traps, the ones sold at the farm store. Those traps are swift and humane, and the mice never survive. The problem this year has been that peanut butter, once the siren call for all mice, lost its power. I even rebaited the traps but the mice ignored them altogether. All I caught in the traps was dust.

As soon as I settled down at night to watch television, the rodents came out. They were getting so bold as to run to the center of the room, stand on their hind legs and look me in the eye. I would shout and they would dart away. In a few minutes, I would hear them chewing industriously on something out of sight. My anger and frustration grew. In the words of George Bush and Jeff Lebowski, "This aggression will not stand, man."

With tensions escalating, I bought sticky traps this week. First, I made a formal announcement that all mice had 24 hours to exit the premises, or they were going to die. (I know mice can not understand English, damn it!) It was a gesture of peace - a sporting chance - an energetic intention. Then, I set the traps out directly by every single snap trap they have ignored for weeks. Within 20 minutes, three mice were stuck in the glue. It was pathetic to see them struggle, but I had been told on good authority that they would not live very long. I left them alone. For 24 hours I left them untouched and thought they were all dead. When I picked up the traps, to my extreme dismay, they were all still alive. What a horrible thing to happen to the little mice.

I filled a bucket with water and dropped the traps into the cold water. I felt even worse, if that was possible. Sticky traps were, beyond a doubt, the worst idea of this entire year.


Anonymous said...

I dislike mice. I don't like to see them dead or alive.I have gone so far as to construct boxes with plastic windows to place traps into, then plead with a brother to empty them.

I once had to hang a bag of peanut butter clusters from the ceiling to keep them from the (%^# rodents. I caught them trying to build a bridge to get to the bag.

I've heard that they hate the smell of bleach because it messes with their sense of smell.

I know that the "electronic" pest chasers don't work.

I haven't tried electronic traps yet, but they may be next on my list.

Jackie said...

So... if I understand you, Dick Cheney, you aren't all that upset over the waterboarding of these mice?

Anonymous said...

Waterboarding is out because someone would have strap them to the little boards. I wouldn't be against a little rendition.

I really don't want them to suffer ... just die very quickly. I'd thought about getting a barn owl, but then there's all the owl crap to deal with ... and all that hooty hooting while I'm trying to sleep.

Jackie said...

(Technically, they were attached to the boards...) A snake is a good alternative - very silent, not much poop. In fact, a snake DID get into my house during the first horrible jihad. The local plumber won't ever show up at my house if it's a job where he knows he'll have to get under my house. I think it is because there are some big, big snakes under there. I understand. I have to call someone from far, far away and pay twice as much for jobs like that. I am like you - I do not want them to suffer. Just move out or die immediately. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

So, in somebody's world snakes are better/different than mice?