Monday
Jun122017

A Better Mousetrap

The ground squirrels seem to have given up on getting into the house and the garden, but now we are overrun by mice. We have trapped about five in the basement in the last two weeks. The chickens have had plenty of protein. Surprisingly, there are a lot of mice out in and around the chicken coop. I have seen holes chewed in the bags of feed and there are a couple that run between the chicken coop and my herb garden. They like to hide under the lavenders. I think they are living dangerously, but apparently the chickens are not all that great at catching them. Rather like the dogs. 

The mice are annoying the husband to the point where he decided to try building a bucket trap. He saw this idea on a YouTube video. He set it up tonight:

The mice are attracted to the peanut butter on that orange tube in the bucket, but the tube spins, so when they get out there, they fall off and into the bucket of water. He said he expects it to be full of (drowned) mice tomorrow morning. Indeed, when I was taking this picture, I saw one sniffing around, but it ran back under a lavender plant when I got closer to the bucket.

[I promise not to take any pictures of drowned mice.]

We shall see what happens. I am about ready to import a bobcat to take care of all this vermin. 

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June is the month when summer is still trying to get enough lift to get off the runway. It was 35 degrees when I woke up this morning. The furnace has been coming on the last two mornings and I am very glad the basil seedlings are still in the greenhouse. Anything under 40 degrees and basil will turn black and die. What's out in the garden now will either survive or not. 

We got the strawberry bed under control Sunday afternoon. The remaining bare sections are now weeded and filled in with sports from the bigger plants. We are still eating last year's strawberries, so if this year's crop is smaller than usual, that is okay. The husband weeded the potatoes and mulched them with grass clippings. We eat lettuce. Every day.

The cabbages are thriving. The zucchini and watermelons seem to be doing okay. The corn is up but needs some more heat to really get going. And my grapes have finally made some significant progress. Tonight, I weeded the swiss chard, collards, and part of the row of beets. It's all looking good. 

The fruit trees are really doing well, too. I meant to get a picture a few weeks ago when the apple trees were just covered in blossoms. Hopefully, we might get some this year. Last year we had pears and peaches, so the apples can't be far behind. 

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I have done another half dozen canvas grocery bags and am close to reaching the saturation point. I'd like to work on something else for a while. DD#1 asked me about making some things for her patients to use, like activity pages with buttons to help with fine motor skills. The problem now is time—I am having to sew in snatches of time here and there and that's hard for me to do. It works when I have stuff cut out, like grocery bags, but in order to start a new project, get everything assembled and cut out, and know precisely where I am going with it, I need a good solid chunk of time. I hate interruptions. I want to start something and see it through to its conclusion. Two or three hours to work on a project would be great. That's just not happening.  

I was describing to the husband a tutorial I found on the Instructables.com website. It was for a duffle bag, and the picture that accompanied the tutorial showed a duffle bag of precisely the size and shape that I would like to make. I got very excited. Unfortunately—and this is the problem with that site—some of the tutorials are really good and some of them are not so good. This particular tutorial was short on details. Really short. The instructions consisted mostly of things like "Cut a couple of rectangles for the side in the size you would like," and for the end pieces, "Now draw the sides and top as part of a circle, or other bulgy shape."  Amazingly, the comments included a few glowing reports of how the commenters had used the tutorial with great success. I might go back and try to puzzle it out, but even at 5 a.m.—my best time of day—it was making my brain hurt. Bulgy shape? 

Transcription work has changed a bit and I am still adjusting. One of the doctors who used to dictate quite a bit left the clinic and several other doctors have been hired in the last 2-3 months. Breaking in new doctors is hard: they have to learn the system, get to know the patients, and figure out their own personal style of dictating. The problem is that I do not make any money while I sit there and listen to them read through previous reports or click through the computer to find the information they want to include in the curent report. My productivity—measured in the numbers of lines I am typing and therefore the amount of money I am making—has taken a hit in the last couple of months and I am actually working longer hours. I am hoping it will start to get better soon, but there are days I look at the doctors in my queue and just groan because I know it's going to be a slog. And July is typically the month when all the new fellows and residents start, and they all have to be trained, too. I think it may be a long summer. 

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Reader Comments (5)

What an ingenious mousetrap. I'm eager for the report. Can he find an ingenious trap for ground squirrels? You can't be the only people with this problem.

June 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHusband's mom

No drowned mice as of 5:30 this morning when I let the chickens out, but I saw another one running around.

June 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Szabo

I like your husband's mouse trap and am curious to see how well it works.

I am trying to catch the critter that is draining the sugar water from one of our hummingbird feeders (probably racoon or opossum). I am using bacon for bait in a "Hav-a-hart'- like trap. No joy so far.

June 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Thomas

What pattern do you use for your grocery bags?

June 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEsther

Esther, it's this one: https://www.seasonedhomemaker.com/how-to-make-a-reversible-lined-tote-bag/

except that I line mine with quilting cotton, not another layer of canvas.

June 13, 2017 | Registered CommenterJanet Szabo

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