December 22nd, 2013

krazy koati

Can you make friends among people and animals

I need to come back to mice, in, happily, a less somber tone. This year the mouse population in the area has grown, probably because we've been feeding birds and spilled birdseed makes life easier for mice. We saw them in the garage or wandering around the feeder some. That's fine, but as autumn approached they started coming into the house. We're friendly to mice, but our hospitality is limited.

bunny_hugger had a number of humane traps that don't kill or injure mice, both by design and by the mice not going anywhere near them. This went on a couple weeks while we saw mice running around the kitchen or dining room or even the living room, with remarkable speed and no fear of us. bunny_hugger came to the conclusion there were multiple mice, but I had none of that. I'd allow we had one extremely trap-wary mouse but not two unless I saw them. Within a half hour we saw one mouse in the dining room while hearing another in the pantry, so, there you go.

We got an improved sort of trap, but the mice continued to have no interest in it until, lacking other ideas, I tried putting peanut butter --- which mice love above pretty much everything --- on the ramp into the trap as well as inside. This finally interested the mice, I suppose because they didn't have to go all the way in to something suspicious to get peanut butter. The next morning we peeked inside and saw two mice. We brought them out to the garage, where we're happy to host them, opened the trap and watched the first mouse zip right out, the second amble out, and the third mouse turn out to exist --- briefly hidden by some of the trap's inner panels --- and look warily at us for a long while before disappearing. We had no idea. You can see why people used to think mice spontaneously generated.

Trivia: The Apollo Guidance Computer program for the translunar injection burn was Program number 15. Source: The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation, Frank O'Brien.

Currently Reading: Joseph Henry: His Life And Work, Thomas Coulson. I don't know why but until this book I'd never stopped to wonder what the Smithsonian did during the Civil War. (It wasn't dramatic, although the War Department did consider taking over the Castle.) The book is from 1950 and written in that somewhat arch style nonacademic biographies had back in the day, but it also comes dangerously close to those old Dupont biographies for the radio that sounded like parodies of themselves.