Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Observing Season Begins...

Well, it's been a long hot summer. In these parts, it's in the hundreds most days and stays light (and hot) until after 9pm, and I have to be at work early, so their is very litte astronomy for me. The obervatory is mostly closed for the summer.

With the cooler weather and longer nights, it was time to open up and dust off the equipment. Much to my dismay, I find just about every level surface in the observatory liberally sprinkled with mouse droppings. I keep no food in there and there doesn't seem like much for them to get into, but it somehow became thier playground. I had seen mice running along my backyard fences and even along the roof rails of my observatory, but I had no idea they were having parties every night.

I had a few mouse traps left from when I rid my pantry of mice. It worked well in just a few days. I took the traps and put peanut butter on them, as I did with the mice in the pantry, and put them around my observatory. The next day I would find the ones I'd set on the roof rails sprung and laying on the ground with the peanut butter cleaned off, but the ones I set inside my observatory were untouched. There were however more droppings.

So last night, I set all the traps on the roof rails and waited about 50 feet away in a lawn chair for twilight. Sure enough, just as it started getting dark, here comes a rather large mouse along one roof rail. He sniffed the trap a few times and then as I watched he sprung the trap, which flung him head over tail through the air at least 8 feet. This was no ordinary mouse. This was a rat. I reset the trap and with minutes another one was there. Again it sprung the trap and got away. I did this a few more times as it got darker. Then, to my amazement I saw one running upsidedown under a roof rail to avoid the traps! What is this, Mouse Hunt?

The war has begun and I will win.

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