Hello everyone; yes, once again, it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, another year older and very much wiser, here to bring you the latest news from our garden. You may remember me from such notable posts as “Guarding The Fort” and “Nothing Gets Done”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose. “Too close”, again. Hardly anything happened today. It started to rain this morning, and then turned to slushy snow, and so I got to walk in slush for both of my walks. It was fun. It’s still snowing slushy snow. See?Anyway, the guy I live with spent an awful lot of time doing mouse-related activities today. As you may know, he’s been searching all over the house, trying to figure out where the mice are getting into the house (he knows where they’re getting into the crawl space, because he plugs the hole every day, and a new hole is chewed right next to that one), and finally, finally, saw this hole in the corner of the downstairs closet. He moved everything that was piled on top of the chest of drawers, and the drawers, and the chest itself, and stuck a pink coat hanger into the hole, to see where the hole went. He doesn’t know why he had a pink coat hanger.
(The guy I live with runs the vacuum cleaner all the time, but this corner hadn’t been vacuumed in years, which is why it’s so gross looking. Note all the little pieces of styrofoam.)“Aha”, he said. And more styrofoam. So the guy I live with plugged the hole, and vacuumed up the mess in the closet, and has now declared himself to be smarter than a mouse.
Now, if you’re one of the two or three people who has been reading this blog since it started, you may recall that he made that declaration at least once before.
I do have one bit of gardening-related news. Remember the cactus seeds he sowed on the first of March?He didn’t get this quite in focus, and the pencil isn’t really as close to the germinating seed as he hoped (the seed is off to the right, about the pencil lead’s length away, and there’s once the same distance away, just below the tip).
The guy I live with says gardening is really easy. A lot of people try to make it look harder than it is, but it’s really easy. Words of wisdom for today.
Until next time, then.
We had odd weather here yesterday too, sun grey sun thunderstorm. What a beauty pouring rain and hail and more hail and the hail and rain just kept coming. Thank goodness it wasn’t too big and didn’t damage my mum’s car. I even went outside and got wet when it was only lightly raining, mummy thought I had lost my marbles. I wonder what slushy snow would feel like. Maybe I will find out one day as it has been known to snow here lightly on occasion. I hope your guy is smarter than a mouse and he has won the war then no more getting up in the middle of the night to remove bad mice which of course you don’t seem to hear now anyway. Amazing how fast some things can germinate isn’t it. What a too close face today, is this a please give me a biscuit face?
Every face is really a please give me a biscuit face. Or a brie face. (We don’t have any brie right now.) Slushy snow is really wet, like one third rain and two thirds snow. There isn’t very much on the ground and it might be gone tomorrow. We do worry about getting massive amounts of snow, and the guy I live with having to wake up in the middle of the night to knock snow off conifers and stuff, and we don’t even like to think about hail. I remember the pickup truck (“ute” in Oz) we had, when I was a puppy; it was horribly dented by hail. Getting all wet is really excellent, especially if you can shake yourself off right by someone, isn’t it? I certainly hope the guy I live with is smarter than a mouse.
That’s what my mum has, a ute, funny thing it fills like a swimming pool every time it rains. Not very practical for here in suburbia and she might have to sell it even though she likes it (and it costs an arm and a leg in petrol now that we are so far away from Sydney). The local ducks could use it…
There was someone here who planted a vegetable garden in the back of their truck …..
What mice may possibly lack in intelligence, they more than make up for with their tenacity, impressive problem-solving skills and ability to squeeze into the tiniest of spaces. My Uncle Vince once shook a mouse out of his ski boot–after he had been wearing it for an hour….he thought it was a pebble. Boy was he ever surprised! (As were the people around him in the lodge….) Around the manor here we plug mouse holes with steel wool and dried peppermint leaves. We also have some ultra-sonic devices in the attic eaves, where the sound doesn’t bother my sensitive ears since I never go upstairs. We have a number of spoiled cats residing in the neighborhood who clearly deem it beneath their dignity to indulge in something so base as catching a mouse—or maybe it’s because they are all stoned on my grammy’s catnip plants, though they always deny it even when confronted with the irrefutable evidence. That’s a cat for you—stone-faced liars with no moral compass, which is probably one of the better things that can be said of them. Speaking of irrefutable evidence, a family of skunks has taken up residence under the barn. Scary days ahead…….
Indeed. The guy I live with spent more time yesterday mouseproofing and stuff. And then last night, after we went to bed (he says), there was this loud chewing in the living room. It went on for a very long time. Chew, chew, chew. Gnaw, gnaw, gnaw. It sounded like either pine cones being gnawed (there’s a basket filled with pine cones from different kinds of pine in the living room) or the couch being gnawed. The Tin Cat was full of fresh peanut butter, but no one went inside. This morning, after a cup or two of coffee, the guy I live with spent some time looking for possible new holes, and found none. It could be that there was a mouse already inside the house before the last bit of mouseproofing, chewing on a piece of biscuit or something, or, so he says, it could be a ghost mouse. Now I’m worried.
Possibly there is something more substantial than a mouse living in those pine cones…I’d be worried, too.
There is that. Some of the pine cones are really big. We’ve had pack rats here. One time, and this was before I showed up here, but my grandpa Flurry told me the story, that an unopened box of dog biscuits (this was before the guy I live with started buying them from the health food store) was left in the garage, and the next door there was a hole in the box, and all the biscuits were gone. Now that’s scary, if you ask me.
We battled rats in the garden this year–the feed in the chicken coop is the magnet–and that was bad enough. But rats in the house!!!!!! Yikes! Reminds my grammy too much of her childhood in London when her grammy was actually bitten by a rat on her ear while she slept! No, no, no!!! Rats are not something you ever want to have in the house! Eeeeeewwwww……
Well, there were pack rats in the garage. They’re about the same size as regular rats, but tan on top, and white on the bottom. Neotoma mexicana is their name. They’re actually quite attractive, and my mommy and the guy I live with would put sunflower seeds on the patio so they could watch them eat. Shining black eyes. But, as I’ve said, my grandpa Flurry loathed having rodents in his garden, and so … I still see them on my walks. Really, they’re expired pack rats. I think you know what I mean. Hawks, coyotes, owls, etc. But I notice them.
If there must be rats around, best they be expired.
Or, um, you know, consumed….
I’m crushed. I was truly convinced that the mice were coming in from a time-space portal in the couch. I hope for your sake that the guy you live with has really solved the mouse problem, although I suspect he has not.
We’ve had cold but no new snow. Everyone is hoping that spring will begin in April. Complete strangers are complaining to me on the subway about the weather!
It is reassuring to be told by an expert that gardening is easy. It does seem easy to grow a cactus. I bought treegators for our baby magnolias and will install them once the snow is completely gone (April? May?). I’ve never used them before but the little trees need water in the dry summers here, so I am hoping it will be easy to install and refill them as promised.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call the guy I live with an expert on much of anything. He’s killed so many plants that when he goes to a nursery where they know him, the plants cringe in terror. The subject of treegators has come up here once or twice. They used them on This Old House, and they look like a good idea if you remember to fill them. (Possible problem, there.) The snow here is already melting, so even though the guy I live with complains about the snow, and not being able to do anything, it is free water for the garden. This is an important time of year where water is concerned, too.
I wouldn’t discard that time-space portal theory quite just yet….
No, well, maybe we’ll see some results tonight. Or the guy I live with will wrap the house in aluminum foil.
Oh, Chess, we’re filled with envy for you and the guy you live with. We wish we only got snow and slush. Instead, we got an ice storm AND no electricity for 12 hours. It was scary and fun. It turned into a camping trip, albeit in a very expensive tent. The gal I hang out with built a big fire in the fireplace. Everyone slept in their clothes with wool hats and lots of blankets. I got a basket with my blankie on the hearth by the fire. Contrary to what everyone else thought, it was toasty warm in my opinion. Anyway, we want to know if you and the guy you live with appreciate the art of procrastination. The gal I hang out with kept looking outside all morning thinking she should move the truck from out under that dead oak. It wasn’t until the electricity went out, the wind picked up and she heard a crash that she decided it would be expedient to move it. Especially since the crash she heard came from a large oak limb which landed right next to the truck. It was her plan to tell the guy she lives with that she had the forethought to move it BEFORE the limb fell, but since she has a terrible poker face, she erred to the truth. Meanwhile, we’re sympathetic to your mouse issues. While foraging for something to eat that didn’t require a stove to cook it, we found evidence of mice in the pantry. Do you know they like chocolate? We found that strange but stranger things are always happening in this neck of the woods. Well, as the say in the south . . . y’all stay warm, dry and safe.
The guy I live with does know that mice like chocolate. There was this one time, when he was really frustrated about mice in the kitchen, and someone suggested mini peanut butter cups as bait for the Tin Cat. A problem arose immediately, when he tried one of the mini peanut butter cups for himself, and that’s all I’ll say. We’ve never seen an ice storm here, because it almost never rains here in the winter. It rained yesterday, but then changed to snow. Ice storms sound scary. When the guy I live with took my mommy to New York in January of 1999 they saw the aftermath of an ice storm, branches everywhere, and it looked very much like a really late snowstorm here, or an early one if it’s autumn (the kind where leaves are still on trees), and that sort of thing is quite enough, thank you. There are pictures online of the ice storm in Slovenia which are pretty amazing, he says. (I don’t look at scary stuff.)
Out here, thanks to the gusting rain last weekend, even the palm fronds gleam bright and washed in the sunlight. I see the pic of slushy snow and think, “how lovely.” Your garden in slushy snow light seems spooky and atmospheric. Do purebred border collies appreciate atmosphere, Chess? A number of the guy you live with’s photos I would be happy to hang on my walls.
If I had bet on the day the seedling cacti photos appeared, I would be a wealthier woman right now.
I say the guy you live with must be made to account for the absence of brie in the household he runs.
The guy I live with says brie is expensive, and it disappears quickly. He also says there’s plenty of atmosphere in the kitchen, where we are, right now, which I think is rude. The slushy snow is almost all gone now, and the guy I live with worked in the garden, some, and got his shoes all wet, and so now he’s complaining. I never complain when my paws get wet, so I don’t know what his problem is.
Ooh ooh, “slush fun,” I get it!
The guy I live with thought it was funny. I guess it is. If he says so, anyway.
Near Cistus Nursery, a farm has a couple of big old pick up trucks by the road, first planted with Narcissi and then later with annuals of some sort.
I wanted to do that with the old toilet, but the plan was vetoed. I never got a new one, so it didn’t matter.