Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

image of a typewriter ribbon“Your woodpecker’s back!” My Darling B called to me as I was making coffee Saturday morning. Five seconds later, if you’d been my neighbor you would’ve been treated to the sight of me galloping across my back lawn in an undershirt and pajama pants, waving my arms in the air and cussing, “Get the hell away from my house, you goddamned motherless bastard!” because that’s the cool, calm way I react to wildlife in a suburban environment.

I like animals as much as the next guy. I get all gooey-eyed over soft fluffy things like cats and rabbits and hamsters. Birds aren’t cuddly but they sure are pretty, even the one that comes to visit Our Humble O’Bode in the fall. He’s white with black speckles and he has a spot of red feathers like a cap on his head. He’s no bigger than the fist that I wave at him when I hear him pecking holes in the wood siding. Big holes.

He did this last year, too. There are several small patches of wood putty in the siding on the south corner where he started to peck holes, and one big temporary patch made of three-quarter inch plywood over a hole that he must’ve finished by waiting until I was at work, or by investing in a stealth beak. No, it’s not that. He’s pretty noisy this year, so unless he lost it, or only rented it, it couldn’t have been that.

When I asked The Mighty Google to tell me how to keep woodpeckers from eating holes through the walls of our house, it only laughed. There is no way to stop them, is the conventional wisdom. Short of tearing all the aluminum siding off the house and replacing it with aluminum, or battleship armor, woodpeckers cannot be deterred. And they cannot be trapped, either. It’s illegal. I can have all the guns I want, but I can’t use them to shoot woodpeckers, unless they come in through the front door and menace me so as to make me fear for my life.

I can’t shoot them, but I can offer them an alternative. They’re supposed to be drilling holes in our house because they’re looking for a place to nest, so I put up a bird house that I just happened to have handily laying around in the garage. Maybe it’s even a woodpecker house, I don’t know. If the hole’s not big enough, I think he’ll be able to handle drilling it out a little. He seems to have a knack for it.

peckerhead | 6:13 am CDT
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Monday, April 16th, 2012

image of rodentI think I caught most of the mice now. Maybe just the dumbest ones, I don’t know. They were coming to the trash bag that hangs under the kitchen sink to eat their dinner, and making one hell of a mess of it, too. Weren’t trying hard at all to hide what they were doing. It got so bad that half of the stuff I scraped off the dinner plates fell through the holes they made in the bag onto the floor. When it gets that bad, I get off my lazy ass and start catching me some mice.

I use a no-kill method to catch mice. I have to. I’m married to My Darling B. She wants to believe I can’t kill mice, and I want her to keep on believing that, so I bought mouse traps that look like Lego bricks, baited them with peanut butter (because I heard that mice are powerless when it comes to resisting peanut butter), and left them propped open in the cupboard under the sink, where we would find scattered kitchen scraps and mouse droppings every morning.

I caught one a couple days ago and stupidly thought that was the one that was doing all the damage. What a big dope. What a large ass. What an ultramaroon. There’s never just one mouse. The kitchen scraps and the mouse turds kept coming back, so I baited the trap again and caught another mouse, bigger and filled with a lot more wee-wee than the first one was. And that seems to be about the end of the mice for now, but that second one had enough pee in him for ten mice.

Catch a mouse, and you find out just how much urine one of those little furry things can hold. When one gets stuck in a trap, seems like the first thing he does in there is whiz all over himself, and if he’s in there for more than five minutes, he whizzes all over himself again. But this big guy – he was a lawn sprinkler. He pissed up a storm. A monsoon, even. I had to grab a couple paper towels to sop up the spillage as I was handling the trap to dump him into a pail for transfer to a local park. This little guy’s name should’ve been “Cloudburst.”

Or “Stinker.” Stank like a urinal with a broke flusher in the most popular bar in town on a Friday night. I have been face-down on many a tiled bathroom floor, but I have never smelled piss as rank as that. Made me want to wash my hands in a bucket of raw bleach, then rinse with Pine-Sol.

When I finally finished cleaning myself up, we took a little ride in the car down to a park by the lake shore where My Darling B could tip the bucket into the underbrush and let him run away. If he makes it all the way back to our house from there, he can eat all the kitchen scraps he wants.

whiz | 9:09 pm CDT
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