Mousepalooza

The house is infested with mice apparently. Last week we had four straight days of baby mice events. And after a week of rest we had another mouse today.

We haven’t caught today’s mouse yet. But the four mice last week were all taken care of. All these mice are on the main level. Not sure why. Maybe they are living in the air vents now. Otherwise they are climbing up from the basement. Three of them showed up at 4:30 to 5:30 AM. The fourth baby mouse was our first confirmed kill. I came home to find it’s twitching body underneath Dixon, our cat. He licked it to death apparently. Probably just wanted to play.

Today’s mouse was in the living room. Daisy, our other cat, chased it around the couch. At one point getting it to jump 5′ straight up in the air out of fear. That mouse is currently under the freezer.

Wait!

The trap just went off!

I had bought another live trap today, along with some smelly things at Lowe’s that are suppose to make mice go away. I also noticed more blue foam in a slightly different place at the back of the house so this must be the new mouse hole. And the steel wool was hanging down near the edge of the siding…they are definitely getting in there. A couple weeks ago we saw a live mouse near the rim joist in the storage room but there wasn’t much we can do about it at the time. Too high up and then it went behind the air exchanger…oh yea..that’s right there’s a mouse in the trap…I forgot.

Dixon is batting at the closed trap.

I pick up the trap…its got some extra heft to it. It’s definitely balanced to one end.

A quick “mouse” text to the wife for backup support. Cats mill about wondering where the mouse went.

Shaking I go out on the porch. I hate mice. They dart around too much. Zero logic and predictability. Defies how I’m wired.

The trap has a spring loaded door. Bare foot, bare hands…I’m ill prepared. I pull the door back and shake. Damn. It barely opens.

I pull the door back and shake. It closes again. This time there’s a tail sticking out at least.

Mouse.

Third times the charm. I’m able to hold door open on trap and shake. Mouse is literally hanging on to the inside of trap for dear life.

Mouse drops to pavement. Limps away.

Bye mouse.

I Don’t Even Know What Day It Is

That’s the reality, we don’t keep track of days anymore. We’re regressing into some primitive lifestyle where the day of the week holds no meaning. The kids are out of school so we have no cyclical rhythm other than the sun going up or down.

I suppose today is Friday, and I figured I’d squeeze one post in to share random updates.

Rain

It’s rained every day this week, and now it’s really cold. Like tomorrow is supposed to have potential for frost overnight, so I’m glad we’ve been lazy and not planted any veggies. Everything is growing at an alarming pace. The yard needs to be cut again. Weeds are everywhere obscuring any semblance of the walking paths we struggled to put in last year. The front yard has a nice pond in it due to the poor grading job; I’m trying to determine if I should put in a rain garden or cut a “V” across the front yard in an effort to drain it. In the back yard there’s a definitive erosion “V” forming that I think I’m going to put in a dry creek bed, wight #57 gravel, about 2′ wide and 30′ long amongst the boxwoods and garden path. It’s becoming a mess back there.

There's a "V" begin created by the boxwoods as the rains swoosh across the property.

There’s a “V” begin created by the boxwoods as the rains swoosh across the property.

You can see the soil erosion pooling by the blueberry bushes.

You can see the soil erosion pooling by the blueberry bushes.

Blueberries

The blue berry plants look horrible. They flowered already but barely any flowers. No blueberries this year, for the third year in a row. You can see them in the pics above by the wood posts.

Cocoon

I’ve been seeing weird caterpillars around the driveway and now a weird cocoon. I’m hoping it’s some sort of invasive species that will kill off my apple trees and or all the other plants we’ve bought. Maybe they’ll turn into giant moths that will encase the house in silk and then sit on it. With my luck I would live through the entire ordeal.

God if you loved me, you'd let this turn into a giant moth monster that eats me.

God if you loved me, you’d let this turn into a giant moth monster that eats me.

Coyote

Today we saw our first coyote on the land during daytime. Our son spotted and rightfully identified Canis latrans running past the bees and veggie garden out to the pond dike. So we had a lesson on what to do if you see a coyote while playing: quietly walk at a fast pace directly inside the house while also keeping an eye on, and protecting each other. Too bad we don’t have outdoor cats like this guy (click here). I snapped a blurry photo from my studio door window, of the coyote going over the pond dike (apple orchard in the foreground).

Find the coyote. Hint, he's near the red arrow.

Find the coyote. Hint, he’s near the red arrow.

Cats

Speaking of cats, and studio doors. We returned from the school picnic to see the studio door wide open. I forgot to lock it, and without a strike plate (left off during construction and waiting for one to show up from the lumber yard for 6+ months) the door swings open sometimes. I feared the worst because the cats are always looking to get out whenever we open the doors. I walked in and saw Dixon in the studio right away, what a relief; one down, two to go. Of course Daphne, a “runner” back in the day, was sitting in my bedroom as expected. That just left our resident dare-devil, Daisy unaccounted for. I just assumed she was dead and gone.

See, just a few days earlier the boys left the screen door open and Daisy got out. Which is horrific because cats don’t come back. They don’t come when you call. They say “f*ck you, I’m free and wild”. So I employed the wife to go get tuna while I tried to keep “eyes on the target” as her, Daisy’s, furry little brown and white ass mosey-ed around in the thickest thorn laden thicket you could imagine, over by the play-set. Eventually the wife came out but then Daisy bolted inexplicably towards the porch. As the wife looked under the back porch I eyed Miss Daisy sauntering up past the “pond” in the front yard, smell the rose bushes and the nose her face into the open garage side door.

See, leaving the garage door isn’t lazy, it’s good planning. She stepped into the garage with me hot on her furry little heels and I closed the door. Granted catching a cat in the garage is no easy task, at least you know you’ll eventually catch her, which we did.

Fast forward back to today. There was no way of knowing how long the door was open; we had been gone for three hours easily. So we started our search, family style of the whole house, by floor. Well luck turns out, there Miss Daisy sat, down on the basement floor, and I saw her right away. Her and Dixon seemed weird, like they had gone out but came back in to our plush confines.

After lunch the wife wondered if maybe someone broke in and was in the house so I finished up my sub sandwich and did my best to search for maniacs hiding amongst our junk throughout the house. As far as I could tell we were / are fine.

Here are some pics of the front pond by the way:

We should have set the house higher so that the grading could have been better. Now we get a pond in the front yard.

We should have set the house higher so that the grading could have been better. Now we get a pond in the front yard.

The other part of the front yard that floods. Sucky grading job.

The other part of the front yard that floods. Sucky grading job.

Sand

I went to Toys R Us. Their sand is toxic – it says “not for sale in California” which tips you off that it contains cancer causing silica. But hey, it says right on the bag that it is “asbestos free” so at least that’s a plus, right? I may go with concrete sand which at least is a larger grain size and may not be inhaled, or we have fine pebbles in the driveway, and the boys enjoy playing with those – can fill the box with those.

Hey, at least there isn't asbestos in the sand. Am I right, or am I right.

Hey, at least there isn’t asbestos in the sand. Am I right, or am I right.

Rug

We got a rug from Home Decorators on sale for the porch, it was only like $190. Problem is it looks too blue for our decor so we’ll have to return it. We love the pattern though. It’s a shame. I think we need to goto some place in Columbus that has a ton of outdoor rugs and find one in person.

Trinidad outdoor rug from Home Decorators

8′ x 10′ (nominal) Trinidad outdoor rug from Home Decorators

I guess that’s it for a Friday night. Hopefully the rain stops soon and it warms up again. Luckily we’ve been lazy and haven’t planted our veggies because it might frost over the next night or two.

That’s all I got.