Friday, May 30, 2008

No Innuendos In This Title

I've gained something of a reputation for being an expert at getting rid of mice at work. I suppose that it's due to my numerous stories concerning the 45 mice that we've caught in the house. There have been some memorable ones. Of the 45, three were catch and release. The other 42 hopefully felt very little pain.

My preferred method of mouse removal is the good, old-fashioned snap trap, with a bit of peanut butter on it. It works most of the time and I think it's almost always quick, although I know it's not painless. I'm not a big fan of poison. It has a tendency to get around and before you know it, you're poisoning something you didn't mean to. I tried poisoning moles once at our last house and within a week found a few dead squirrels. I didn't like that, especially since we had a cat at the time.

Last week one of my co-workers complained to me that he had mice under his garage or front step (I forget which). He didn't want them there. Last time this happened he waited some time outside with a bat waiting for them to come out so he could club them. Evidently it worked in the past. Not so this time.

There was some great office talk about how to get rid of the mice that included poisoning, flooding, gassing (with car exhaust) and trapping. I of course described my disapproval of poison.

So this week my coworker comes to my desk and starts his story with "Some expert you are." It seems he took sticky traps (not really a favorite of mine either) and put them down in front of the hole. He weighted them down with bricks. Then on the other side of the sticky traps, he put an old fashioned snap trap with peanut butter.

He was not successful in catching his mouse (or mice). To get to the peanut butter, the mice put rocks on the sticky trap, allowing them to walk across and then they ever so delicately licked the peanut butter off the trap, leaving an empty trap and a useless sticky trap. Those are smart mice. I told him, that if it keeps up, they might just be smart enough to hire a lawyer to serve him eviction papers.

We also continue to make progress on things. I finished a firewood shed for the wood I split over the winter. It holds just over one cord of wood (4' by 4' by 8').

We have a lot of wood on the property. By my reckoning we have three or four cords scattered about. Most of it is hardwood too, oak, mulberry and buckthorn. There's also some spruce, pine and basswood. I had hoped that a good deal more would fit in the pseudo shed. I'll maybe build one more and the rest will have to stay out in the rain.

Three or four cords of wood is probably what it would take to heat the house for one winter, so if we only use it for supplemental heat, that's a lot of wood, and I'm looking to cut down at least two more mulberries in the next few years. If they don't fruit, they're going to be on the list.

I was also excited to finally identify the last major bit of greenery on the property. The horribly overgrown "hedge" on the south side of the property needs something done with it. It is ugly and growing over onto my property by about twenty or thirty feet. Unfortunately the plants start on the neighbor's side, so I can't just rip them out. The best I can do is cut them back to the line and I didn't want to do so until I knew if they would regrow from old wood. Someday I'd like to put a yew hedge along the entire south side, but that's not in the budget for awhile yet.

Turns out that the bushes are Tartarian Honeysuckle, which is great because it means I can cut them back to within an inch of their life. It also means that they can be invasive, although they don't seem to be a problem here - maybe the buckthorn has kept them in check.


DiploWhat said...

Are you sure it's not columbine? Most, including gardner's and Wiki, confuse the two thinking they are the same. I forget the difference my self right now. One is a bush and one is a plant. I believe if it's a bush it's technically columbine...but maybe I'm mixing it up. In MN most of the stuff you see that they call honeysuckle is actually columbine....

ShoNuff said...

With the wood you can jsut leave it out to age as long as you're not going to be burning it real soon. It will dry out properly for burning, then you can just load up the shed with what you will burn the next year.

Diplo, I'm pretty sure you reversed. The Columbine (which I grew up calling honeysuckle) is the plant so Honeysuckle would be the bush.

Pusher said...

That is a lot of wood (and a very handsome woodshed!).

DiploWhat said...

I double checked my taxonomy, and the bush, is, in fact, honeysuckle. Columbine is native. In any case, if you check the WI DNR site, it says that Tartarian Honeysuckle is an invasive species, but the plant they show is in berry form instead of flower. also lists it with the right description.

Mr. Kluges said...

Yeah - it is listed as invasive. I'm struggling as to whether or not I should propagate it to put it up as a hedge in the back. We've got over 500 feet of hedging I'd like to put in and propagating the honeysuckle is a free way to fill in that space. If I knew that it would grow as an under story bush without getting stringy, I'd be all for putting it in the back.