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Of mice catching and some other odds and ends

October 2, 2011
By ESTHER MCCOY - Staff writer , The Herald-Star

I'm sure the readers who heard about the McCoy mouse problem two weeks ago will be glad to know that I received some wonderful suggestions from readers by telephone at home and work, and by e-mail, fax and snail mail. They even came from as far as Reynoldsburg.

First, I should say that we caught a rather big mouse in our peanut butter-laden snap trap on the day that the column appeared. Then I thought I had written about the situation and got readers all stirred up for nothing.

Just to be sure the rodent that bit the dust didn't have any relatives lurking about, Lamont set the trap again. For two days, it remained baited with peanut butter but on the third day, the Peter Pan spread was gone but the trap was still set, just like so many other times in the past. That meant another mouse had become our uninvited guest.

Article Photos

Alex Chrisman, daughter of Damian and Wendee Chrisman, looks over the program but later cracked open a book and entertained herself.

This meant war. We needed to get all those suggestions out and see what would be best suited for armed warfare.

There were loads of suggestions about the "Stickies" that bring a mouse to its knees on its surface. Betty Hasley and Joan Carl thoroughly recommend them. Joan even caught a baby snake on the one placed in her garage.

Toni Petricca uses the water bucket trap. This comes about by filling a bucket half full and spreading peanut butter a short way down from the rim. As the mouse tries to get to the peanut butter, he takes a dive into the water, and no one can swim forever.

My school chum, Shirley Stewart from Reynoldsburg way, names several hints. Her husband, Don, would put moth balls in the cab of his truck when it was parked for the winter. It seemed to keep the mice out but also kept everyone else out because of the odor.

Shirley swears by Downy dryer sheets that are spread around the house, car and other buildings. She uses them in a potting shed that had always been a haven for mice and now it is critter free.

Another of her suggestions was D-Con. She says it was seldom that she would see a dead furry creature, telling that they go outside in search of water, just like humans want a cold drink after eating theater popcorn. It has to be kept away from other animals as D-Con does not discriminate, according to Shirley.

A nice writer just named Don wrote that the bait disappearing from our trap must be a problem with the trap. He mentioned a Victor trap that has a large, yellow, plastic cheese-like trigger. Just fill two or three of the small holes with peanut butter on the edge sticking up when the trap is armed. Then the mouse is induced to try the delicious bait with more than its tongue. Don tells to squeeze the curl at the end of the trigger with pliers to reduce the opening, so only a narrow slit remains. I think that Don should re-invent the mouse trap as he has good luck with this trick.

Now, I am going to have to resort to what I call "bits and pieces of things" that happened over the past several weeks. It has been one of those times!

When Lamont and I attended the Harrison County Farm Bureau annual meeting dinner several weeks back, I was impressed with the book marks they distributed. There was a picture of a farmer, probably from the 1940s, with a baby calf. It tells that farmers care about their animals. With the nearly 76,000 farmers who operate Ohio's dairy, beef, chicken and hog farms, all strive to provide excellent care to the livestock they raise.

Proper nutrition, clean housing and regular veterinary care ensure healthy, happy animals and a safe, wholesome food supply. And this is the only way that meat, eggs and milk can appear on the dinner table.

We sat diagonally across from the Chrisman family for dinner and it was nice to see Alexandra, a seventh-grade pupil who prefers to be called Alex, reading a book when the grown-up talk got to be too much. I love to read and like to see children with a love of books as well. I want to tell her that the mum door prize that she gave me is growing very well. We traded door prize gifts. I gave her a cheese board and slicing knife because she did not think she could grow the mum too well.

Pam Haley, Ohio Farm Bureau trustee, was a dining neighbor. I always get nervous when I am around the state officials, afraid I am going to say or do something wrong. She was very nice and quite friendly.

Peggy Horn is the new county Farm Bureau office administrator and was quite busy with the dinner arrangements.

The group served the new Velvet Ice Cream flavor that was put together by an Ohio teen. It is honey-carmel ice cream, or maybe that name is turned around. Anyhow, it is really good. It was served with a variety of homemade cookies that really hit the spot.

In case you are not aware of it, Saturday will be National Pierogi Day, to be followed by National Apple Month. The problem with apples is that they are so scarce this fall. This has not been a good year for the growth of the fruit. We have three apple trees that are completely bare, and they are usually bending with apples. And I am told that the price of cider is outrageous.

To think that I worked at the cider house at Weldays Orchard in my teens and the price of cider, if you brought your own jug, was $1.50.

The Smithfield Apple Festival is going on for one more day today. There will be a community church service at 11 a.m., the sentimental songs of Roz and Lynn at 1 p.m., "Twice As Nice" at 3 p.m. and the crowd pleaser that has been around since the start of the festival 39 years ago, the Great American bed race. We will sincerely miss Bob Rish manning the stop watch to determine the amount of time it took for each team to race to the finish line. He held that job for 37 years. We miss you Bob and are praying for you.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and the Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at

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