Vermin hunting

Okay, before I start my rant on rodents and why they all need to vacate my yard (please go to the neighbors!) or die, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some tv shows that have been introduced.

All summer, we have been eagerly awaiting Hole in the Wall, some wacky show ripped from the Japanese game network (those wacky Japanese!)  I am sad to say that, after watching the sneak peek and then the other sneak peek (?), I do not like it.  It’s not very funny.  There’s a lot of dumb chatter and not much potential for wacky incidents.  They either make it through the hole, or they fall in the water.  Yay.  Now, Wipeout I find hilarious.  I can’t get enough of the Big Red Balls.  The Sweeper is my all time favorite.  Love that show.  It always makes me laugh.  Hole in the Wall?  Not so much.

I was on the fence when I heard about the new 90210.  Then I watched it.  And I discovered the only reason I was watching was to see Jennie Garth in her old role, all grown up.  But the new kids?  It’s like they’re trying to be Gossip Girl but not succeeding.  So, I’m just not into the show.  I think it would have had a chance if it had come out before all these snarky, spoiled, sometimes-rich kid series had emerged, but now?  It has some real competition and I’m not sure it’ll prevail.  I mean, if their target audience is the demographic who is too young to have watched the original show, then the new version isn’t edgy enough to keep up.  If it’s trying to draw in fans of the old show, then there’s not enough tie-in to that era to keep us interested.  I don’t know.  Maybe next year I’ll end up watching an episode and actually be interested.

I am currently hooked on Mad Men.  I think you should be, too.  The sets are gorgeous, the cast is gorgeous, and it’s fascinating to watch their lives play out in this era where it was perfectly reasonable to have a suburban wife and a city mistress.  Where everyone smoked and drank, everywhere and all the time!  When wives were just starting to realize that maybe their voices counted for something and life offered more thanjust raising children and having dinner on the table.  I don’t know… it’s just drama and fun and addictive.  The show, that is.

Okay, on to the mice.  We have mice in the yard.  Or meadow mice.  Or possibly moles.  Whatever they are, they are not gophers.  They are not things that make a big mound of dirt leading to their tunnels.  They do, however, leave little puffs of airy dirt in top of holes 1-2 inches in diameter in my garden and in THE NEW SOD.  I don’t know what they are.  I don’t even care if they live in the dirt.  I just want them to stay out of the grass.  Is that so much to ask for?

We are skeptical about hiring an exterminator to gas the holes.  Even though we think that’s how the gopher was killed, I just don’t know if it would work with these rodents.  Also, every time we have someone gas the yard, we have to put up a temporary fence to keep the dogs from getting too close.  As I’m sure you know, poison gas isn’t picky.  And while certain dogs can be a pain, I certainly don’t want to gas her to death.  So we’ve set up mouse traps.  But who knows how many mice are running through their underground network?  I’ve had mice before, as pets.  I know how quickly they multiply. 

I have learned one thing about setting mouse traps outside.  Well, a few things.  They may benefit you someday, although I hope you never have reason to use them.

  1. Peanut butter and oats sometimes acts as good bait.  Apple works better, but can be pulled off without setting off the trap, apparently.  Apple pushed into peanut butter does a much better job.
  2. Ants will find your bait faster than you even though possible.  Ants are gross and also carnivores.  Did you know that?
  3. The trick to catching mice is to place the trap right outside the visible hole.  Arrange the trap so the mouse essentially has to cross it as soon as it exits the tunnel.  Placing it any further does no good.  I guess outdoor mice won’t go investigate food, but they may be lured out of the tunnel by it.
  4. It is best to dispose of the mouse as soon as you see it.  Otherwise, the ants get to it.  See #2 above.  Eww.
  5. If you leave traps in the grass and the sprinklers go off, it will rust.  Happily, a rusty trap still works just fine.
  6. There is a trick to setting traps so they don’t snap and hit your fingers.  It’s good to either learn this skill or know someone who does so you don’t end up with sore fingers (like I have).
  7. Mouse traps are not really resuable.  That’s why they’re fairly cheap.  I don’t know why I thought we would be removing a dead mouse and resetting the trap.

And now, my question.  Why do mouse traps design the bait-placing piece to look like a piece of yellow Swiss cheese?  Is that for my benefit or the mouse’s?  It doesn’t even make sense because cheese isn’t really the best type of bait. 

T is the one who can set traps without getting hurt.  I’m the one who has figured out where to place them for maximum body count.  We make a good team.  He’s also the disposer.  I just take a look in the morning and come in to report the findings.  In general, he gets rid of any dead animals in the yard for me.  I’ve tried to do it, and I seriously end up squealing and running away.  It’s just too much.

If anyone has suggestions on what to do, I’d appreciate them.  I’m all for living in harmony with creatures, but they’re not holding up their end of the bargain.  They’ve crossed the line into the garden and grass and that’s not okay.

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