The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Archive for June, 2018

Great White Hunter

Posted by Exile on June 23, 2018

Three long days to catch a very clever little mouse.

I knew he was in the house. I’d seen him, late one night, where he came sauntering through the living room. I wasn’t quick enough to corner or catch him.
The door to the terrace stays open during the summer allowing the dogs to come and go as they please. I suppose that works for mice as well. I figured the mouse would leave of his own accord.

But no.

The little sod moved into our kitchen. In fact, he was under the kitchen cabinets which are built in and not easily removed. He was more than happy to eat the potatoes from their container in the cupboard under the sink and he picked holes in the bottom of the rubish bag hanging on its rack. All in all, he was enjoying himself at my expense and I had to put an end to this state of affairs.

Killing him was out of the question. My dear lady wouldn’t let me, even if I had wanted to. I had to catch him alive and then release him back into the great outdoors. Easier said than done.

I bought a trap. A very humane thing built in the form of a tunnel which closes behind the mouse as he goes for the bait at the closed end. I baited it with chocolate. Strangely, mice do not prefer cheese.  Apple would also have done it. Or other fruit or peanuts.
It really made no difference though. The mouse figured out how to get in and out of the trap even though I heard it trigger two or three times. No bait left. No mouse caught.
This was getting me nowhere.

I have a suspicion that this was a great source of amusement to the long haired and lovely one. I think she was secretly cheering for the mouse.

I made my first attempt at making a bottle trap. I thought that if I could get him to climb into a bottle that was sufficiently upright that he couldn’t climb out again, I’d have him.

No. Once again, the bait was always gone and so was the mouse. I felt cheated. This was getting to be embarassing. I could hear my wife sniggering at me.
Not to mention the mouse… I’m sure he was thoroughly enjoying himself.
My respect for this hardy little adversary was growing with every failed attempt at catching him.  Clever little bugger, I thought. But I am nothing if not determined.

Something had to be done. So I went off to see if I could find an effective and foolproof  humane trap using the internet as my source of information. I found one. Home made and easy to put together.

Here’s a picture of the contraption:

The principle is simple. The bottle is barely balanced on a wire fulcrum passing through the bottle with the bottom of the bottle being the heavy end. Leave some space under the bottle to allow it to tip. Bait goes into the bottle. The mouse gets in through the usual hole and his own weight tips the bottle down. The block in front of the bottle neck now acts as a solid barrier holding him in. All built with some bent wire, a soda pop bottle, a piece of scrap lumber and a few screws.
OK, the bottle will see-saw as he moves about inside it but every time he gets close to the bottle neck it will tip down and keep him in.
Easily made and at very little expense, this thing actually works. I caught my mouse within an hour of setting it up.

Call me “Trapper”….!

I proudly showed my prize to the dear one. She instructed me not to hurt the mouse and to release it “somewhere safe”.

I did. Albeit in the middle of the night. Far from home.

I’m keeping the trap though…

Update: 26/06/2018.

It’s a good thing that I kept the trap. Either the mouse came back or there were two of them. Potatoes kept being eaten and the rubbish bag was punctured again. Once again, I set my trap and caught a mouse. Not taking any chances this time, I drove about three miles from home and released the critter.
I left the trap overnight with no further capture, so I believe we’re mouse free. The missus thought it was all highly amusing: “The mouse came home to Daddy:” she says.
“Little bugger.” I said.

If it turns up again, I’m taking it to Sweden and releasing it there…


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Giving it some Stick

Posted by Exile on June 4, 2018

I do get out into the woods every now and then. They aren’t far away and my grandson and I go out there to look for animals and birds and get away from iPads. He is more agile than I and occasionally I need to rest for a minute or two while he runs about in the undergrowth. I decided I need a walking stick capable of holding me up. I would fashion this myself.

I had a pole. A good thick piece of rounded pine, as long as I am tall. Too long, I know, but it would make a good stick. What about a handle? I thought a piece of antler would be good, but where do I find antler? The chances of finding one in ‘our’ woods is about zero.
Luckily my son-in-law has a hunter for a father and he had a chunk. I knew the young man would make me happy sooner or later…

The best way to fix antler to a pole is to reduce the top inch and half of the pole to a dowel about three quarters of the diameter of the pole. Then drill out the antler to the appropriate size and set the whole thing fast with epoxy glue. Once the epoxy has hardened off one can chamfer the antler with a file so the joint becomes more fluid and flowing. This, I did.

IMG_0794And here’s the result. One chunk of antler fitted very securely to the top of the pole.
Obviously the stick, now assembled, is far from finished.
The cut faces of the antler must be capped by something because the centre of any antler is very porous and will disintegrate. I puzzled over this for quite some time. In the end I decided to use some Corsican briar that I had lying around in my pipe tackle drawer. Every man should have such a thing. I cut some small cubes of the material and bored some holes in the open faces of the antler to help the epoxy get a grip.



Once they were glued into place the sanding down and finishing process can begin. I discovered that my Dremel tool was my best friend in this. The grinding attachment made short work of forming the wood into buttons.

Happy with the shape and fit that I had achieved I turned to the buffing wheel to polish the buttons up. That worked. First with a wax mixed with pumice and then a buffer with ordinary polishing wax. Antler polishes up with (believe it or not) Brasso on a rag. It comes up to a mirror shine.

Happy with the handle, I cut the stick down to a length which corresponds with the height of my elbow. It is very comfortable to walk with and tall enough to allow me to either tuck it under my armpit and lean on it or simply to cross my arms over it and do the same.
So there it is. A stick for life. Heavy enough to be used as a defensive weapon if necessary and light enough to walk with. I’m really quite pleased with the result.



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