Things have been very busy at work. The first grading period (of eight) ended Friday, a fact I did not realize until Wednesday afternoon. What with the hurricane and all, we had had less than three weeks worth of actual classes, so I hadn't given enough quizzes for accurate grading. That made for a busy Thursday, composing six fair-sized exams for Friday, and a very busy weekend grading them. I'm only now digging out from under the pile of accumulated work. Serious posting should resume tomorrow tonight.
In the mean time, here's some mouse-blogging for my more fanatical readers (if such there be):
Between the time I left for work yesterday and the time I got home today, I have caught nine mice. That's with only three old-fashioned mousetraps, though I just put out three more. Thanks for all the suggestions about mouse-bait: peanut butter, gumdrops, and more. Attracting them has not been a problem, and my gooey stinky way-past-its-sell-by-date French Münster has been working just fine, though I also caught one with a bit of Korean squid stir-fried in hot pepper. It's getting the traps to detonate that's the problem. I've caught a total of thirteen mice in about ten days, but have also had roughly the same number of traps cleaned out without going off. So far, my brother's suggestion of flour and water seems to be working best, smeared on the trap before and after adding the cheese to form a crust like a tiny tiropita.
Not really an update:
Make that fourteen. As I was writing the last sentence, another trap went off. The weather has turned much colder in the last couple of days, so I suppose they are looking for a nice warm place to spend the winter. It makes me feel rather like the British soldiers in Zulu: they just keep coming, wave after wave! Or is this a small-scale Willard?
This really is an update: (11:30 PM)
Fifteen. Time to haul away the last two bodies and reset their traps so I'll have all six ready for the hordes of desperate suicidal rodents trying to get into my apartment. Putting the traps a foot away from each other doesn't seem to affect the kill-rate. I would have thought that having a dead friend or relative in plain view would affect even a stupid rodent's appetite, but apparently not.
This is another update: (11:45 PM)
Hmmm. I seem to have stumbled into a pseudoscientific comparison of American and imported technology. The two old traps (the third one seems to have lost its springiness) are Victor brand, made in Lititz, PA, perhaps by Amish craftsmen who pass down the skills from generation to generation. (Lititz is near Lancaster. Whether it's pronounced LIT-itz or Luh-TITS, I do not know. If the latter, perhaps it's French.) The four new ones are PIC or PIG brand (hard to tell from the slapdash paint job), made in Taiwan. The American traps have a much more complex bait apparatus, curved at one end like a toboggan, with a hole in it. I was able to tie my squid strips in knots through the hole. The Taiwanese traps just have a metal plate with a small square depression for the bait. They are also stronger, i.e. springier, and more sensitive. I had to set one of them four times, since it kept going off when I set it down and tried to gently nudge it into place.
Results of last unscientific test: The two American traps caught no mice, though the one closest to the stove was licked or nibbled clean. The four Taiwanese traps caught two mice, but one of the two traps that went off broke irreparably, and the other has a (relatively) huge pool of congealed mouse blood on it -- around half a teaspoon, which is, I suspect, more than half of what the live mouse contained. Despite the small sample size, it seems that stronger Asian traps are more fragile and messier, but American traps are insufficiently sensitive. Experiments will continue, at least until the mice are all dead and damned.Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 02, 2003 10:08 PM