Monday, December 11, 2023

Animals, Dust and Otherwise

Since I cleaned so thoroughly beneath the TV table on Saturday, I decided yesterday to tackle the other side of the living room -- beneath the couch. I knew it needed cleaning because when we had Dave's co-workers over for Thanksgiving, Olga's Kong rolled under there, and when I reached in to retrieve it my arm came back -- to my mortification -- with a whole zoo of dust animals clinging to it.

So, yes, I moved the couch, vacuumed up the dust, mopped the floor, and thoroughly cleaned all the crevices of the couch itself. Dave and I were afraid our little mousie friend might have a nest in the couch, but I checked all the seams and they're secure. So wherever mousie was living, it's not there.

And then I set a trap, and this morning, there's a mouse in it. Adios, mousie.

Some of you commented that you're sure I'd be using humane traps. I would if I had any handy. Unfortunately, I don't, so I used a snap trap and mousie is indeed dead. (I would never use a glue trap. Those things are horrible.) I have read that humane traps actually aren't all that humane. Once released outdoors, the mice -- if they don't get inside again -- often die because they're displaced from their nests. I have no idea whether or not that's true but in this case I felt I had to act fast and didn't have time to struggle with the ethics.

Anyway, after all the cleaning, I arranged disposal of our old TV set -- pickup is scheduled for New Year's Day, weirdly -- and then took Olga for a walk.

We found a tennis ball behind a construction fence on Potteries Path. Olga wanted that ball. Never mind that she has about ten of them at home.

We both tried valiantly to reach it, but it just couldn't be done. We had to leave it behind. Fortunately, Olga is the epitome of "out of sight, out of mind," and it was promptly forgotten.

Looking for some reading recommendations? Here are some interesting articles I've come across and bookmarked during the last several weeks/months. Some of them may be behind a paywall, depending on whether you subscribe to any of these publications or have already run out of your allotted handful of free articles for the week or month:

-- A story in The Washington Post looking critically at our cultural obsession with purging possessions. And here's a related story from The New York Times about the positive aspects of clutter. Neither of these are particularly new, but maybe you'll find them timely during the holiday season.

-- A somewhat related Washington Post story about the benefits of decluttering your life goals. In other words, re-drafting your bucket list to create a "chuck-it list."

-- A hilarious (but fairly rude) analysis of the the famous urban myth involving Richard Gere and a gerbil. Again, several years old, but well worth reading. (MEL Magazine)

-- A completely insane story in the Tampa Bay Times about the planned demolition of a gigantic mansion in Tampa (built by former pro baseball player Derek Jeter) by its new owner, who intends to build an even bigger house.

-- A touching story, again in The Washington Post, about a Florida school librarian who quit her job because of the state's crazy fixation on the content of library books.

-- An NYT story that I confess I haven't read yet about tropical parakeets that have occupied the skies over Brussels, Belgium. (I intend to read it, though, because the same parakeets are all over our bird feeder here in London!)

-- An excellent video in The New York Times that explains how the British government has managed to endanger what should be the country's proudest achievement: the National Health Service.

(Top photo: A Christmasy real estate agent's office on our high street.)


Moving with Mitchell said...

That's some great artwork in the office windows. And a perfectly timed shot with the dog and his assistant. I'm glad you caught the mouse so quickly. Sorry for the grief you'll now get for not using a live trap. I would have done (and have in the past) what you did. We

Andrew said...

Under furniture is normally best ignored. What a shame you had put your hand underneath and discover the truth and then feel compelled to clean.

Basic mouse traps seem to kill a mouse at its neck. Quick death.

When you next walk Potters Path, Olga will be looking for the ball.

PS I read about American candy stores in London. What a disgrace, but I don't think the same has happened here...yet.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

The painful truth has been deliberately masked with a festive window, another amusing tale from The Book of Olga and a bunch of interesting links...but I am afraid that you cannot hide the horrible fact that with malice of forethought you assassinated one of God's living creatures, showing not one iota of remorse!

Ed said...

In the later years of my childhood, during the 80's, we lived in a rambling 2 story farmhouse that at the time was over 100 years old. Needless to say, we had plenty of mice. So my mom, bought my brother and I each two traps and said she would give us a dollar (a princely sum back then) for each dead mice we caught.

After the first week, my brother and I invested our proceeds into a half dozen more traps each, and we ran traplines in our house and as boys, argued over the richest territories. A few months later, we trapped things out and went on a dry spell but in the winter months, we would still get enough every year to buy a few gifts for under the Christmas tree!

Jeanie said...

OUt of sight, out of mind. Sometimes, that's not a bad thing!

I should get a trap. I don't know where to put where it won't trap the cat.

Bob said...

I say if the mouse is helping with the rent or the mortgage then you get him out any way you can! Squatter.

I love both Olga's determination and her willingness to simply walk away when needed.

The Bug said...

That picture of Olga trying to get the ball is the best. Ha!

I'm with you on the mouse - especially in winter it seems more humane to dispatch than to try to release it outside.

Ellen D. said...

When is your Holiday break? I bet you are looking forward to it and hope you have some fun planned.

Sharon said...

I saw that article about the Florida librarian but not the one about the parakeets. I'll take a look at that one.
Olga has sharp eyes to spot that ball.
I love that top photo. You timed it perfectly to catch the woman walking her dog.

ellen abbott said...

Interesting about the mouse maybe not surviving being released outdoors. Why wouldn’t it make a new nest? I’ll have to look that up. I use snap traps. I tried a live trap and while it always got set off I never caught a single mouse.

Ms. Moon said...

The other day I lost my beloved Mexican pure silver thimble while I was mending on the couch and so I tried to find it in the deep recesses of that piece of furniture. I stuck my hand down the side which was NOT designed for human hands but when I did finally manage to get my hand out I held in it a remote control that should be in a museum. God knows what else is in there. I did not find my thimble. I did, however, find an ancient pen that writes well.

Boud said...

Thank you for using a quick death trap. The humane ones only give the mice exercise in hiking back to the house!

crafty cat corner said...

Can't tell you how surprised I am that you killed that little mouse, I didn't think you would do that.
All life is precious from the tiny ant to the elephant. that's how I feel, I wouldn't tread on an ant if I could avoid it.

Red said...

Wher there's one mouse there will very likely be more. Keep watching.

Susan said...

Success and the mouse is gone. I use the same trap quite successfully and always have a mouse or two at the start of winter. Your home sounds beautifully refreshed with all the cleaning you have done. Dust is never ending. With my Bernese Mountain dog who sheds year around, I've got fur too.

Allison said...

Dust is never ending.

Kelly said...

We always use basic mousetraps. They're the quickest and most efficient way to handle the problem. I agree that glue traps are horrible and I'm not fond of poison. (ever smelled a decomposing mouse in the wall that didn't dry up like it was supposed to??)

I'm not sure about mice, but I do know that live-trap/release can be a death sentence for other critters. Many are territorial and once you deposit them somewhere else, things might not go well for them.

Janie Junebug said...

How had I lived so long without knowing about Richard Gere and a gerbil? Thank you for calling my attention to this very serious matter. I'm grateful to be at long last in possession of this knowledge.


Debby said...

Oh my gosh. I remember my mother and her friends tittering over the gerbil story when I was a child. I had forgotten all about it. I remember she also spearheaded a drive to get my brother's 3rd grade teacher fired. He was gay and she really banged on about the danger to little boys. This would have been in the late 60s. Those mothers failed, something quite remarkable to me when I think back about the fact that we were quite a backwards remote part of the world. He retired r the same school district. The two things are totally unrelated except that they were so discussed in one phone call after another.

Margaret said...

A kill trap is much more humane than what my cat would have done to it. I won't go into details. I don't even want to contemplate how many dust bunnies are living under and behind my furniture. Eek, as the mouse would say!

River said...

I would have used the same trap. Happily, I haven't seen a mouse in all the years I've lived here. Plenty of other creepy crawlies though, millipedes, slaters, cockroaches, earwigs. No idea how they get in.
I love the decorated windows.
I plan to read those articles over breakfast tomorrow, hope they aren't too long.

Steve Reed said...

Mitchell: Not too much grief. I think people understand the need to nip that problem in the bud ASAP!

Andrew: It's true! Olga will never forget that ball until it's hers. (Never mind what I said about "out of sight, out of mind.")

YP: God's living creature shouldn't have colonized my house!

Ed: What a great way to deal with the problem! Mice are a fact of life in old houses from time to time.

Jeanie: I did have to consider where I put it to protect Olga's nose!

Bob: Yeah, definitely a squatter! In Britain, squatters have legal rights. (!)

Bug: I really thought she might be able to squeeze herself under that bar!

Ellen D: After this week! Yes, I am looking forward to it!

Sharon: It was completely inadvertent, to be honest! She just walked in front of the camera!

Ellen: I don't know! As I said, I can't vouch for the truthfulness, but that's what I read.

Ms Moon: I remember being a teenager and cleaning out our family sofa and finding a roach clip that had to have belonged to my father during his hippie phase -- at least 8-10 years before.

Boud: That is the truth. Mice are crafty and unless you kill them, they will come back.

Briony: It never makes me happy to kill anything. As you know, I struggle with it. But even my Zen teacher taught me years ago that killing is unavoidable, and in this case, I just had to get that mouse gone ASAP.

Red: It's true! I kept out the traps to see if any others get caught.

Susan: It always makes me feel so much better to get the place clean, especially at this time of year when we're shut up inside.

Allison: That's for sure!

Kelly: Yes, I think people imagine that releasing an animal out of doors restores it to an ideal life, but that's often not what happens.

Janie: Ha! That is such a famous story, I'm surprised you hadn't heard it! I loved that article because it was really the ultimate analysis of the whole phenomenon.

Debby: How interesting! It's impressive that the school district held firm against that campaign, even way back then.

Margaret: Snap traps are really not bad. They kill instantly. There are much worse ways to die!

River: Some of them are long. It may take a couple of breakfasts. But I hope you like them!

River said...

Every single link wanted me to sign up or subscribe, so I didn't get to read after all.