Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   taking over rat extermination
Monday, October 2 2023

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

I had a screening interview scheduled for this morning, and when the phone didn't ring at the appointed time, I figured it was just more job hunt ghosting. But then the call came. It was for a software engineering job in Kingston, which was fun, and I was all excited about it until I learned the pay was at most $85,000/year. Apparently it was for a junior position and was mobbed with interest. I said that was far below what I will accept, and with that the call ended.

As you may recall, a couple weeks ago we decided to turn over our Brewster Street rat problem to professionals. It wasn't ideal, since those professionals the proceeded to set lethal traps for the rats, something we had initially hoped to avoid. We're ethical vegans, after all, and rats are yet more citizens of the ecosystems in which we operate. But even ethical vegans draw the line somewhere in this world full of opportunistic organisms, something made obvious every time we kill a tick or swat a mosquito. The upshot of all this is that the professional exterminators managed to kill six rats in total after setting twelve traps, mostly in the Brewster Street basement. I went over there today to see exactly what traps they'd set and where they'd set them. The exterminators' two week contract (which had cost us $500) was coming to an end and they were eager to renew (for another $400). I was thinking that I could handle things from here, since I'm not particularly squeamish about rat traps and figure this extermination business is not exactly rocket science. By seeing what the professionals had done, I figured I could buy my own traps and continue their work as long as necessary. It wouldn't even be hard work; they'd set the traps and only checked them three times per week.
Not surprisingly, the exterminators had set their traps mostly in visible places on the floor along the basement walls. There were a few on higher ledges, particularly near a hole the rats had chewed through the spray foam I'd used to block their big access hole through the wall near the washing machine. Interestingly, all but one of the traps were standard Victor-brand spring-snap rat traps, the big rat version of a mouse trap I would play with as a child. There was also a single black plastic rat trap in the basement stairway half way up to the first floor. None of the traps had been triggered and, happily, none held any dead rats. If we're lucky, the rat infestation is already over.
So then I drove over to Herzogs to buy my own rat traps. They didn't have a lot in stock, and then it occurred to me that it might be better to set a diversity of traps than to stick with one brand. Perhaps rats are sensitized to the smell of Victor-brand rat traps. This had me driving out to first Lowes (which I quickly left after realizing my wallet was no longer in my pocket) and then Home Depot. It was at the latter place that I bought something like eight traps for a total of twelve. Most were Victor-style spring snap traps, though more than half of them were made by Tomcat, a competitor that sold them in packs of two. (It nice to generate less packaging, even if it costs slightly more, as it did in this case.)
While in these various hardware stores, I was also on the lookout for the kind of stout C-shaped steel components used to hang pipe-based gates on gate hinge pegs. For some reason I'd had such a component at the cabin and realized it could be used to firmly attach a chain to the middle of a pipe, something I want to do to better prepare the permanent part of the dock for winter. I needed four such components and already had one, so I was looking for a few more. Herzogs and Lowes didn't seem to have them, but luckily Home Depot did, though just barely. I managed to find two there compatible with 1.5 inch pipe and a smaller one compatible with 1.25 inch pipe (where once of the chain connections will have to go). I also bought four large quick links, which will be an essential part of the chain attachment unless I want to fire up the welder.
Back home in Hurley, it might not surprise you to learn it wasn't long before I was in the bathtub, letting the warm water melt away my muscle pain from all the weekend's digging and lugging. I also had a number of painful injuries on my right foot (the ventral stalk of my big toe and a patch near my pinkie toenail) that could use some soaking.

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