The weather this past weekend was wonderful. The sun shone all day Saturday. It was difficult to decide just how to spend such a wondrous day, but finally we decided to head out to the Camp to check things out.
Our neighbours watch our place pretty closely. One of our neighbours, a friendly fellow who travels past our place many times in a day, in his pickup truck, on his ATV, on his tractor, or on foot, keeps a special eye out for us. This past winter he plowed a short way into our driveway, so that if we came to the property in the winter, we could get our vehicle off the road. When we arrived on Saturday the snow bank, that had built up across the driveway as a result, was still high enough to scrape the bottom of the car as we drove in.
We were pleased to find that the only unwelcome visitors in our little patch were the mice in Grace the trailer. The dry trap we left there did not catch one mouse, and it was full of mouse droppings. The peppermint oil soaked cotton balls were either missing, or scattered around the floor, not much of a deterrent it seems. The mice had chewed wood from somewhere, we still don’t know where, and there were wood chips all over the kitchen counter. They came up through the heating duct, which I had covered with a pine board, and it was moved. Next fall I’ll use the same pine board, and will place a heavy rock on it, so that it cannot be moved aside for entry. It seems that no matter what we do, the mice are going to come in. Travel trailers are large mouse houses. I think that, had I realized that it is impossible to keep mice out of a travel trailer, I would have opted for a small sleeping shed on the property instead. It could have been mouse proof, we would have seen to that. Too late now though, we cannot spend money twice. We made our decision and will have to make the best of it. We won’t be wasting time or money on commercial products though, they don’t work. Preventing the mice from entering is our only goal now, although I don’t know what further steps we can take. Something for us to ponder anyway.
Attila cleaned the mouse droppings and debris out of the boot of Grace, and we left the mouse mess in the trailer for a future visit. One of my tasks while we were there, was to setup the 5 gallon bucket mouse trap, with ramp, water, and the smear of peanut butter just above the water line.
With the unpleasant jobs out of the way, we enjoyed the rest of the day immensely. Winter winds had brought down a lot of branches in the forest surrounding the camping area, so we spent our day gathering them and burning them in the fire pit. Sitting around a crackling fire, getting up from time to time to collect fuel, to feed the fire, is such a relaxing activity. We also burn all our discarded personal papers in the fire pit at the Camp, so it was good to get that job done too.
This spring we noticed many birds. Crows of course, and Turkey Vultures, who always check us out when we have a camp fire. There were small birds that move lightning fast, so we never get a good look at them. Chickadees and Jays called off and on through the trees.
Our wetlands were still covered with ice. We have two significant wetlands on the property, one of which has dried up every summer over the last three years. The larger of the two dried up for a period of time last summer, which would have been a perfect time to get in there to remove large fallen trees… but last summer the garage roof was replaced and it took every ounce of Attila’s energy to get that job done, so not much got done at the Camp. There will be other years.
When we built the fire pit three years ago, to municipal code, it had a perimeter of sand laid down around it. The sand has virtually disappeared into the clay soil. But, as luck would have it, one of our misfortunes at Mist Cottage had a silver lining. At Mist Cottage the new paved road leads all the runoff from the road to our driveway and dumps it there. Because of the construction trucks and equipment that now dominate our little street, there is a lot of sand and grit that washes down onto our driveway from the road. Over the winter it built up, and Attila shoveled it into buckets, filling two five gallon buckets. I also swept up all the sand we had put down on the ice over the winter, ice caused by the freeze/thaw on the road, it all ran down into our driveway to freeze/thaw there. So that amounted to a three gallon bucket of sand. Now we get to take all that sand out to the camp and spread it around the perimeter of our camp fire pit. The first bucket came out with us on Saturday, and it works a treat!
Sunday was a completely different kind of day.
Attila had the kitchen for the morning, he finished making his Turkey Soup from the turkey bones from last weekend’s Turkey Dinner, and he made a batch of Hummus, using the chick peas I had cooked in the Instant Pot, earlier in the week.
The sky was overcast all day long. It was warm enough however, to apply paint to the exterior of the house. So Attila spent the afternoon scraping peeling paint off two sides of the house, and then painting the bare spots. It looks like the house was just painted. He did a great job. There is more to be done, and the bit above the front garden is the priority now, as the perennials are beginning to come up.
When we bought Mist Cottage the paint on the siding was peeling off and fist sized flakes were hanging from the wood, blowing in the wind. In the autumn of 2011 I began to scrape the paint off the siding, layers and layers of it. I did my best, but could not get every last big off. When I was done, we sanded it and painted it. This past winter, seven years later, the paint began to peel again. The peeling occurred where the original paint had not come off, so it was the original paint that peeled, not the paint we applied, except where it was applied over the original paint.
Scraping and painting, in my imagination, was a daunting job. But Attila said this time it wouldn’t take long, because we did such a good job the last time, this would only be a touch up. By golly, he was right! The rest of the job will only take one or two more days to complete.
While Attila was spending his afternoon working on the house siding, I got busy in the kitchen. Two loaves of bread were baked, cooled, packaged, and frozen for the coming week. A batch of muffins were baked, cooled, individually wrapped, and frozen. A Pork Roast was seasoned, seared, and cooked in the Instant Pot, Attila’s all-time favourite Instant Pot meal, maybe even his favourite meal altogether. Laundry was washed and hung out to dry on the back porch. This was a big deal for me, it isn’t really spring around here until the laundry can be hung out to dry on the back porch. Dishes were washed, dried, and put away. I even had time to begin yard clean up, picking up fallen branches from the front yard.
I continue to battle the wasps. It seems as if they have a nest in the wall cavity behind the exterior front porch light, that is the only place they have been seen crawling out of. At least three a day are killed, last night two were found crawling on the living room curtains. There are many outside as well, usually somewhere on the front door, or crawling somewhere around it.
Mist Cottage had serious animal and insect issues when we purchased it. There were communities of Chipmunks living in the finished ceiling in the basement, it took over three years to successfully evict them. Mice were everywhere, it took another two years before we managed to keep them out of the house. Grackles nested behind the roof facia, where the wood had rotted, and continue still to attempt to return to that much loved nesting location, which is not covered with sheet metal, as they peck through two inch thick wood. And there wasps everywhere, with large hanging nests in the trees surrounding the house. We have not yet achieved a comfortable balance with the wasps, they continue to infiltrate weak points in the Cottage exterior to build nests. The struggle continues. In the meantime, I listen daily to the Grackles pecking on sheet metal just outside the window, and kill every single wasp I find, indoors and outdoors.
And that is what we did on our weekend. Best ever!
Date: 11:31 AM EDT Monday 8 April 2019
Condition: Light Drizzle
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Dew point: 4.5°C
Wind: NNW 11 km/h
Visibility: 2 km
“Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.”
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