Mice

I took a whirlwind trip to visit the Rideau Camp, and to check Grace the trailer, to see how she weathered the winter. Attila made the trip with me.

Attila dragged deadwood from the front of the property to the camp fire pit, and I spent my hours there cleaning Grace. Mice had infiltrated and left disgusting droppings in the kitchen drawers, which had to be removed and cleaned out of doors, as well as all the contents sterilized and washed. I think Attila found where they came in, chewed right through the rubber flashing on one of the doors. I am on the search for metal reinforced flashing now, so they can’t chew through it.

It was lovely to drive through the countryside on the way to the Camp. There were bright yellow Coltsfoot blooms along the road in, and the ground at the Camp was covered with emerging Trout Lily leaves.

At Mist Cottage the sunshine saw to the last of the snow on the lawn. It also persuaded a few blooms to emerge from the awakening Lungwort in the front garden. Rabbits have been eating the new growth from the onions and garlic plants in the garden. There are more rabbits about this spring, probably because the wetland forest at the end of the street has been destroyed. A fence around the garden might be required!

I have been working on my genealogy database, allowing myself to wander around through primary documents on ancestry. This morning I reviewed all the deaths in the Parry Sound area for 1918, one of the Spanish Flu epidemic years. There were more than 70 deaths due to influenza, and many deaths due to pneumonia, which in some cases might have been related to influenza. I enjoy following little lines if inquiry like this from time to time, just seeing what the data will reveal. Then, when I have some information, I like to contemplate how it played out in lived lives, the human element, the feelings, the effects on human communities, that sort of thing. My Granny was 16 years old in 1918, with a war on, and a flu epidemic, it must have been a challenging year. I wonder did she have a beau, did she lose friends to the war or the epidemic? I’d love to be able to talk with her again, to find out about her life.

A new ball of yarn was started on the crocheted blanket project. I find I have been picking it up a bit more frequently, when I want to sit and think.

The holding pattern with Attila is working well so far, so that domestic life is relatively comfortable. I am beginning to get my bearings here, feel solid ground under my feet. My affection for Attila is undiminished. I am still leery of the situation, the unexpectedness of the terrible, terrible mistake has shown me the precariousness of my life, any life really, something not easily forgotten.

Today is predicted to be warm, 15C, and sunny. I am very keen to grab my bucket, and a ladder, and give Iris the trailer a good exterior washing. Sitting under a tree, she has accumulated some green algae on her roof, and long one side. A good washing, and an interior cleaning are a very good idea.

As I sit here writing, the sun is streaming in through the living room windows. The beautiful, bug free, maybe even open today windows!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Monday 23 April 2018
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dew point: -1.9°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: NNE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -2
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.”
Samuel Johnson
1709 – 1784

A Perfect Weekend

Not everyone gets along with the ex-husbands/wives.

My first marriage was more than regrettable. I don’t hold a grudge, but I also don’t want to spend time with people who make me unhappy. My ex, and his ex, and his other ex, and his current wife all make me unhappy. I bit the bullet for Terra’s wedding, and attended, even though my ex also attended with his current wife. There was civility. He took videos of me from the other side of the dance floor, thinking he wasn’t noticed. Totally creepy.

So, when Terra said she was having a huge first birthday party for Sunny and Sky on Saturday, and asked if it was OK with me if she invited my ex and his wife, I said yes, if we weren’t at the party at the same time. I agreed to come early, and leave early, to accommodate his schedule. I did this for Terra, as she said it meant a lot to her to have him there. Terra let me know on Thursday that he had decided to come early to help them setup, and to stay late, attending all the hours of the party. I told her we would drop by sometime this week, and wished her well with her party, we did not attend. It seems that passive aggression won the day. Compared to the insanities of the past, this is a small bit of silliness, with no police and no lawyers involved. I think I am mentioning this situation to clarify that all is not rosy in my world, there are pockets of misery that I do not dwell on, but that are an ongoing source of pain and disappointment. What I will say is, be very, very, very careful who you have children with girls!!

On Thursday our plans for the weekend changed. We spent the evening packing Tank with all sorts of things to be kept in Grace the trailer at the Rideau Camp. Things like bandaids, and plastic bags etc. Friday I prepared clothing for a weekend at the Rideau Camp, spraying some pants, overalls, shirts, and socks to ward of mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks.

DSCF0715 The clothing to be sprayed with a 10% permethrin solution were laid out on the back lawn in the back yard. After donning a long sleeved work shirt, long pants, rubber boots, a cap, latex gloves and a breathing mask, one side of the clothing was sprayed, mindful of the occasional breeze. Then the clothing was turned over to accommodate spraying the other side. The clothing was hung until completely dry, then folded, and packed for our Rideau Camp visits.

On Friday we were loaded and off to the Camp as soon as Attila got home from work. We arrived with plenty of daylight left to unload Tank, and store all the items we had brought with us in Grace. Because our plans changed so quickly, and I was feeling a little distracted by the way in which the change had come about, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the food situation. I had planned on only one meal on Saturday night, as we would have headed for the Camp when we left Terra’s party. So, our meals for the weekend were, shall we say, spartan. While I organized things inside Grace, Attila got a camp fire burning, and after a quick supper consisting of cheese and crackers and muffins, we enjoyed sitting around the campfire until the stars came out.

It was a beautiful night Friday night. The bright moon peeked out from behind varied layers of racing clouds, occasionally stepping right out onto an un-curtained stage. The fire warmed us as it threw dancing shadows into the forest. We could hear coyotes nearby. The air gradually became crisp and sharp with each intake of breath.

After putting out the camp fire we retired to our bed. Changing into cold night clothes was shocking, but we soon warmed under our comforters. I wore a beanie to bed, and we both wore socks. Still, I awoke several times in the night, cold, having uncovered an arm, or a bit of shoulder. The temperature fell below 8C, very cool for sleeping. I should have brought my hooded sweater with me, it is great for sleeping when it is really cold, as it retains the heat around my head, neck, and shoulders. But alas, I had not thought to bring it!

Saturday morning brought the sun, and milder temperatures. It was a beautiful day. I arose many hours before Attila, so I sat with a cup of hot coffee, and watched four blue jays foraging for food on the forest floor right outside the window. Then I headed outside. I started a camp fire, burning it bright and hot for the day’s work. When Attila arose we ate a quick breakfast of morning rounds (bread) and coffee, and began our day of projects. Attila gathered and brought to the wood pile all of the branches he had trimmed off the trees to accommodate getting Grace onto the property. The branches were green, with green leaves, and pine needles, so that they needed careful tending as they burned. Leaves and pine needles burn brightly, and lightly, so that hot bits of ash will rise up out of the fire pit. It is important to monitor them all, to make sure no flames exist outside the fire pit. Since it had rained recently, everything was wet, and there was almost no danger. But still, I kept a close eye. My day was spent tending the camp fire, with small forays to perform other short tasks.

There were a lot of tent caterpillars crawling in swarms on our trees. We killed them with long sticks, and continued to kill them as we found them for the entire visit. Attila used a weed killer to spray poison ivy that had invaded our property along the entrance driveway. I spent some time searching for, pulling out, and burning brambles and wild grape. The brambles make moving around on the property unpleasant, as they are quite barbed. The wild grape grows up trees and eventually kills them. I also had to empty the tote where we keep our humanure buckets, which were totally undisturbed. A colony of big black ants had decided the tote would be a wonderful place to establish a nest, I thought otherwise. I took the tote and emptied the ants into the forest where they belong.

In keeping with our continued vigilance against domestic intrusions, Attila spent a great part of the day working on the exterior underbelly of Grace, putting steel wool in larger entry points, and caulking smaller entry points.

Attila filled a pothole that had developed near the culvert in the driveway. He also whipper snipped to the end of the driveway and along the road in front of the property.

As we worked the sun shone, the birds sang, the wind blew, the sparse clouds raced across the sky, and the leaves whispered home. A pair of beautiful hawks flew over us, screeching, clearly disturbed about something. We do not recognize many of the bird calls, unless we see the birds. There were four very loud blue jays who travelled above us, stopping to inspect our activities. We heard pileated woodpeckers deep in the forest, and owls. As usual a pair of turkey vultures flew over head to see what we were up to, checking for any possibility of a meal. And of course, as evening drew near, the crows began to gather in one of the huge oak trees near the back of our property, they are always very loud.

Our dinner consisted of bean burritos that Attila prepared from the homemade refried beans, and homemade salsa, all sodium free, which we brought with us. We decided to let the camp fire die early in the evening, so that we could enjoy an early night. As dusk fell we retreated to Grace. I changed into my night clothes at that point, as it was still relatively warm, and so avoided a repeat performance of donning chilled garments at bed time. We slept well and soundly through the night, warm and comfortable at around 11C.

Sunday we awoke to cloudy skies. We spent our morning stacking firewood, Attila, and pulling brambles, me. We also came to a decision about where we will place Grace on our property. Before we move her, a half dozen trees will need to be felled, and several more loads of crushed stone will be needed to level the site. All in good time, she is fine where she is for now.

After lunch it was time to go home. A steady, all-day rain had set in. We arrived home in time to do laundry and cook a nice hot chicken dinner.

It was a perfect weekend.

All the while I continue to work on my crochet projects. Last week I began a kitchen hand towel, to hang from the oven door handle. We had one that I bought at a Church Bazaar years and years ago, and wore it out. I finished it this morning, and love it! Now to make one for Grace, and one for Iris, our two old trailers.

DSCF0717 My latest crochet project completed. A kitchen towel, that will hang from the oven door. We use this towel to dry our hands, as we go about with various kitchen tasks. This began from a pattern, which I found beyond my skill set, so I altered the pattern, using the lemon peel stitch for the towel, and single crochet for the tab. I am finding that crochet offers an opportunity for constant learning!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Monday 5 June 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 14.2°C
Dew point: 12.6°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: NE 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.”
Jane Wagner

Unwelcome Visitor

Last night we took a drive out to the Rideau Camp. It was lovely and sunny when we left, just after Attila got home from work. In the distance there were towering cloud formations, billowing up into the blue sky.

Introducing Grace, our new old travel trailer, a 2001 5th Wheel, which now resides at the Rideau Camp. She will make our visits to the Camp much more comfortable, and allow us to visit overnight from early May until late October.

Sofa bed grace may 2017 DSCF0710 Here is what we found when we went to open up the sofa bed! An animal had chewed into the mattress, leaving quite a lot of foam bits in the process. We had heard no noises, there was no smell, no signs at all of an animal intrusion, other than the obvious damage to the mattress. But there it was, this evidence of intrusion that obviously took place before we got the trailer. The previous owners said they never used the pull out bed, and so they would not have seen this. It doesn’t affect the sale as far as we are concerned. The trailer is old, and old means that these kinds of things are par for the course. The hole is large, and would not have been made by a mouse. Our closest guess is that the previous owners left the door open at some point in their travels, a squirrel got in, was frightened, burrowed into the mattress, then took the first opportunity to escape again through an open door. They must have been in the habit of leaving the door open and unattended. We don’t know with any certainty what animal caused this damage.

The weather remained sunny for several hours after we arrived at the Camp. Attila whipper snipped the “lawn”, which is really our personal collection of indigenous weeds. I began by donning a breathing mask and vinyl gloves, then removing the sofa bed cushions, spraying all areas in and around the evidence of animal intrusion, then removing the foam bits. During this process there were no noises, or any signs of animal activity. I think whatever did this is long gone. We aren’t entirely sure of that though, so when we left last night we set the live trap beside the sofa, and two glue traps on either end of the trailer. We do not anticipate catching anything, but better safe than sorry.

After dealing with the debris, I opened up the sofa bed and had a look underneath to see if there were any entry points there; there were none, nor was there any evidence of animal presence under the sofa. The damage seemed to be completely confined what can be seen in the photograph. That was a relief. I will do a second round of disinfection of the hole in the mattress, and then stuff it with foam and repair the covering fabric. That said, the mattress is terribly uncomfortable! If we were going to seriously think about having people sleep on it, we would consider replacing it with a better quality mattress.

Moving on from the sofa cleanup, the bathroom was next on the list. It was very clean in all the well used and/or visible areas, but there were some serious looking black clumps at the back of the cabinet, near the entry point for the water pipes. This is a common entry point for mice in homes. Out came the hydrogen peroxide, the area was sprayed, the clumps removed and bagged, and the area washed. Then out came the bats of steel wool, with which I firmly filled in the holes around the pipes, which will prevent any intrusions from mice. That was as far as I got with my cleaning.

I joined Attila outside to sit and watch the storm clouds roll in, they were moving fast, and the wind was picking up. As the first raindrops began to fall we retreated into Grace. The propane stove was sitting at the ready, no setup required. We heated up a can of beans, threw in a few diced wieners, and enjoyed a hot meal as the storm raged around us. We were snug as bugs in a rug.

After dinner I tackled the dishes. I brought out a wash basin with us, because although we have a kitchen sink, we cannot use the drains until we have dug a dry well and figured out how to direct the grey water tank to it. All in good time. In the meantime, dishes will be done in the basin, which will be carried outside to pour onto the our large garden of indigenous weeds. Attila spent some time inserting more steel wool to close the holes around the large spaces created where the water pipes come up out of the floor in the kitchen. There may be other entry points for rodents, but I haven’t found them yet if there are.

Another bonus is that I discovered that a plastic tote will fit in the closet, so that I can bring fabrics, bedding, facecloths, towels, and leave them there, well protected from rodents and insects in the tote.

The storm soon passed, and the sun came out once more, it was time to head home.

We were almost reluctant to leave, we enjoy being there so much.

This morning I sit with my list of items to outfit Grace. I am quite delighted that my collection of odd old plates and bowls have a home that befits them. Over the years when I saw an old lone plate or bowl at a yard sale or charity shop, one that I loved the look and feel of, I bought it. Twenty five cents here, ten cents there. So now our meals in Grace will be taken on these lovely old pieces of history. Junk to almost everyone else, objects of pleasure to us.

I am starting to crochet a kitchen towel, a small towel that loops over the oven handle and is secured with a button. We had one we bought ages ago at a church sale, and it recently wore out. Time for a replacement, or three, one for Mist Cottage, one for Iris the trailer, and one for Grace the trailer.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Wednesday 31 May 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.4°C
Dew point: 10.8°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: SSW 22 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”
George Eliot
1819 – 1880