The Trip South

The Trip South

Saturday Morning, November 22, 2014

Here it is, Saturday morning. I am watching the road reports like a hawk circling prey. Right now ice pellets are pelting out of the sky, I can hear them hitting the chimneys. Attila is out there working in it, and will return home for lunch. After lunch we pack the car and leave for the little house in the city.

Everything has been gathered and placed near the back door, so that loading the car will merely involve carrying things out, and finding a place for them. I am bringing canning jars and the pressure canner and the hot water bath canner, hoping for an opportunity to put them all to use. I have all the discarded shirts ready to go, hoping for an opportunity to transform them into towels, hot pads, tote bags, and curtains. I have lots of warm clothes packed, a few books, and of course my computer!

The weather people keep saying, over and over again, that the ice pellets will turn to rain by this afternoon. The road reports indicate the roads are now completely clear, and wet. Since it is a smidgen above freezing now, the ice pellets should melt on contact with the road, so the roads should stay clear and wet. Clear and wet is not a problem!

There are flood warnings in this part of the world, over the next few days as the snow melts and the rains fall. We are high and dry, and barring anything unusual, we should be fine. There are a few dwellings on the waterfront near here, that may face some serious challenges though. One of our neighbours has just purchased a low-lying cottage, which was flooded a few years ago. One wonders if the new owner was filled in on this before the purchase, or if they are about to learn from experience. I wish them luck, whatever the case may be.

Saturday Night, November 22, 2014

We arrived at our destination just after 6:30 p.m., the roads were clear and wet the whole way down.

We let ourselves into the house, turned on the lights, the heat, the water, and the hot water tank. Then we went into the kitchen.


Droppings on the counter, the kitchen table, in the cupboards, on some of the dishes, and one food container had been compromised, one that held macaroni. Sigh.

Out came the bleach and soap, and Attila and I went to work cleaning. It took only an hour to get everything clean!

I will have my work cut out for me while I am here, I am on mouse patrol! The traps were sprung but empty, the mice are getting smarter. Oh well, I will keep trying different things until I get all of them.

Time for a little rest, and then we unpack the car!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:37 AM EST Saturday 22 November 2014
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: -0.2°C
Dewpoint: -1.5°C
Humidity: 91%
Wind: S 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -4


“Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm. When a storm approaches thee, be as fragrant as a sweet-smelling flower.”
Jean Paul Richter
1763 – 1825


  1. WendyNC

    Maggie, it seems that if it’s not one thing, it’s two. I was reading along and being glad the roads were okay and then–a big bit of work at the end of the drive and a battle ahead. If we had teleporter technology, I’d send our Jack up there to help. Some 15 pounds of mostly Maine Coon with a good record might be just the thing.

  2. Jack would be just the fellow Wendy! He is welcome anytime.

    I will be setting traps tonight, and probably buying a few more traps tomorrow. Mist her very self will be coming down in a few weeks time, and I am hoping she is still a good mouser, despite her old age. Maybe I will get rid of them before she gets here!

    I prefer mice to chipmunks anytime!

  3. Oh, no! Must be that cold weather and snow that set those mice all to scurrying indoors. The only thing that will keep them out when it comes to storage is glass, I’m sorry to say.

    It’s really a good thing that you came back when you did.

    Glad you had a safe trip!

  4. Reclamation is speedy – whether it be animals or vegetation. I remember one summer I was away from the mountain for 2 weeks, When I returned there was discarded snake skin on my front porch. Mind you, a harmless snake… but EWWWWWW.

    Am so happy with your report of a safe arrival. I’d fretted. xoxo

  5. NORA

    I was so glad you made it safely to the Little House. Then, ut oh, mice! When I was young I used to catch them and watch them for a day and then release them. One time I forgot to put the lid on the jar of seed I was baiting them with. I woke up the next day to a jar housing a mouse. The jar had been put close to something that the mouse stepped up on and then dropped down into the seed jar. After she/he ate the seed it could not get out of the jar. Now this may give you an idea for a trap.

    I like your plans for the discarded shirts. I wish I was as resourceful as you are. I just visit the Dollar Store!

    Reens, I would have been very happy to have taken that snake skin away. I had one Hubby found outside at a lumber store in the 80’s. I loved it and felt it a treasure. Last year it was so far gone I got rid of it.

    Guess you will be on mouse duty for a bit Maggie. Hope Mist is a good mouser or at least can chase them away.

  6. Bex

    Eeeek! A Mouse? or two? or more? Heavenly days Magee… does it ever stop? The Universe slapping us all upside the head? Can’t we just be left to run along smoothly for even a day or a week or a month? Just when things seem resolved, whap! It’s something new.

    I once had mice come into a kitchen drawer (in an old house/apartment) where I had stashed the Halloween candy bars, inside a tightly covered and sturdy plastic container… they ate right thru that thing and got the candy. I wonder what hard plastic does to the digestion of a mouse?

  7. DH’s brother lives just outside of Toronto. When we were visiting them the other weekend he was telling us that they’d been having mice coming into their beautiful home for the last several weeks. Some of their surrounding area is farmland and some just open undeveloped land but they’re in the middle of a very large subdivision, so I was surprised that mice would make it all the way into them.

  8. Teri, you are so right about glass containers! A few years ago I was on the hunt for gallon jars to use as canisters. I finally found them sold at a health food store, for making Kombucha. I ordered a dozen jars, filled them right up, and now I need more! Luckily I found two large glass canisters at a Restore last summer and bought them. They now hold all the pasta at the little house in the city. The other canisters I have are a set from the 1940s. When I taught Home Economics in the public school system in Ontario, I took over for a retiring teacher, who had taught Home Economics all her adult life. She left me with an old set of glass canisters, which I use to this day, and a 1940s pattern for a baby gown, which I still have.

    Yes, the fall is when they come in, pesky little critters! I wonder where they would find an entry point in a new home! Sounds like an invasion!

  9. Reenie, yes, we arrived safe and sound! It turned mild and was raining when we left, so the roads were good.

    “Reclamation” certainly describes the situation! Snake skin, I’m with you, I really do not like snakes! I wish them no hard of course, but I do not like them. Spiders are another species for which I have no fondness.

  10. Thanks for the idea for a mouse trap Nora, if my traps fail me I now have a plan B!

    I am a sucker for fabric, I see pot holders in old clothes, and quilts, and all kinds of things. The fabric that we salvaged from those shirts is beautiful, it would be crime to send it to a landfill site. My Mom sewed, and she involved her children with it at times. When she was expecting my youngest sibling, my sister, we were all very excited. She cut squares of fabric, and drew designs on them, and gave each of the five of us one to embroider. When we were done, she stitched them all together to make a baby quilt for our new baby sister.

    Wow, Nora, a snake skin would not give me delight, but you see something there that I do not! One of the things that I truly enjoy in life is discovering how different we all are, while being somewhat the same, at the same time.

  11. LOL Bex, I hope that those mice, at the very least, got indigestion from eating all that plastic! I don’t think it slows them down much though, which is interesting. Maybe we should be putting mice on rafts, floating them in the plastic vortexes on the ocean, after spraying the plastic with a little bit of peanut better flavouring. Mice, they may yet save the world, 🙂

    Things run smoothly you say, well what kind of entertainment would that provide for the gods!

  12. NORA

    How is the mouse population? I hope this invasion is brief. When we lived in an old school house upstate, NY (80’s) we had mice visiting. It was not fun. We also had hornets drop from the ceiling during the January thaw. Oh, there is a January thaw! That and our hot water running icy cold without warning in the shower. Very chilling!!!

    The January thaw also made the creek run under the house….

    There’s a creek under the house?

    We were sleeping on an elevated floor but our futon was on the floor. It was almost like sleeping on a stage but with the thaw we soon learned that the mattress was wet on the bottom. Never a dull moment with country living. I can’t recall how many times we got snowed in during our brief stay.

    We lasted the winter and then left because across the street in the heavenly fields monster trucks started to show. I can’t imagine what it must look like now. The school house was adorable too. I’m sure that is gone. I loved the huge windows that let in so much light. Oh, they were incredible. I’m rambling.

    Salvaged from shirts…do you mean yours or someone else’s? I often want to seize an item of clothing before I donate it but then feel like someone could wear it so I don’t most times. I have a few times. I like to save fabric too. I have a brand new sewing machine sis gave me for my birthday three years ago sitting in a box. It is digital. It is Greek to me. Maybe I can get her to help me when she returns in Jan. I do miss sewing.

    My mom sewed (knitted and crocheted) too. She got me involved in it as well. My first sewing machine was a little plastic number. I still remember turning the wheel. I loved it.

    I think my mother sewed about 70% of my clothing at one time which was a lot of fun for me.

    I really like how your mother included you and your siblings in a creative way for the new arrival. That is beautiful.

    I like to embroider too. I used to do a lot of it way back when. I still have so much floss. I donated a lot of my supplies when we moved last year but held on to my best. I’m in the market for a mannequin. I used to have a good one that was my mother’s. I would really like to design some clothes for summer next year. Just a few. I am surprised how much everything has gone up in price. I remember years ago going to buy a pattern and being surprised at even the cost of a pattern!

  13. Nora,
    We got a mouse last night, in the hall closet. Attila took care of the clean up, so I hope that was the last one!! 🙂 I don’t think so though. Today he went into the attic and used spray foam insulation around the concrete chimney (its doesn’t get warm), as he thinks that is where they are coming in. If he is right, then I might catch a few that are trapped in the house. It will take some time to figure out whether they are gone or not.

    Your adventures in the old school house sound like a lot of fun, oh to be young once more! A wet bed, even up on a platform, that creek under the house must really have been rip roaring! The old school houses had huge windows, I guess they needed all the natural light they could get, in the days before electricity. My Granny, my two Grand Aunties, and my Auntie, all taught in one room schools in the country. The one room school that my Mom attended is used as a Community Centre now, and we go there every year to a pie social, where I hear stories about how clever my Granny was, and meet relatives who still live in the area. I love the sound of the wood floors, and the echoes, such good memories!

    The shirts I am cutting up were destined for burning. The company logos on them are no longer up to date, and the company owners do not want anyone wearing them. Attila talked them into letting us have them, if I would repurpose them and dispose of the logos. So no one could have used the shirts anyway, they would have been destroyed, and now only the logos will be destroyed.

    Your sewing machine sounds like fun! I notice the sewing machine company near the little house in the city hosts lessons, outlining the use of the machine, while making a modest project. If I ever buy a new machine I will need to do that! As it is, my 1969/70 Elna Lotus works just fine, and will probably last me the rest of my life.

    Embroidery is fun, and like you, I have saved my best floss for possible use in the future. I also enjoy quilting, but haven’t done much of it. My Granny and Grand Aunt were avid quilters.

    Patterns! Yes, they are pricey. I have a few, but not many. Designing clothes sounds like a lot of fun too! I keep thinking someone should design clothes that look good on women of a certain age, and of a certain weight. Most of the stuff out there assumes that I want to look young, WRONG! And they are designed to fabulous on thin women. Not being thin, they look ridiculous on me. I want to make the most of what I have in the here and now, sags and wrinkles and crinkles and laugh lines, as well as all my bumps and lumps. Of course, it might help my cause if I actually went to a store to shop. But my last ventures were extremely disappointing, I didn’t find anything I liked.

    For the Christmas party this year, I am repairing the elastic waistband on a skirt purchased in 1990. It was a plain black jersey flared skirt, and I’ve not seen another one like it since. I refuse to buy a party dress to be worn once a year.

  14. Maggie, your talk of the quilt made for your little sister reminded me of the quilt my great-grandmother made for me when I was quite young. I still have it, it’s been stored in a plastic container and hasn’t been taken out since we moved to this house. The small quilt is a patchwork made up of fabrics from my mother’s, grandmother’s, and great-grandmothers dress and apron fabrics, as well as some fabrics that were apparently from clothing when I was an infant. I look at that quilt and I can actually remember my mother or grandmother wearing some of the fabrics that are in that quilt. Love that quilt, just looking at it makes me feel cozy.

    I was smiling at you and Nora talking of embroidery and flosses. I’ve given away large amounts of floss from when I designed cross stitch and I still have a full and complete set of DMC, as well as a number of hand-dyed floss from various companies and a number of metallics. If you’re curious about my designs, look at the pic I posted of our fireplace. The two framed pieces on the fireplace are two of my own designs where I stitched the originals prior to their being offered as leaflets.

  15. NORA

    Maggie, For some reason I am faceless.

    Sounds like your Granny, two Grand Aunties and Grand Auntie knew all about one room school houses. I’m glad the one got turned into a community center and not destroyed. Pie social….this made me smile. I am assuming that people bring pies to share and stories to hear. It sounds so country so warm.

    I see you got to ‘save’ those shirts and recycle them into new life. That was a good catch.

    Do you have a family quilt? I don’t remember anyone in our family quilting which is a shame.

    I had a Singer treadle machine which I loved. A few Singer regulars too. But digital is leaving me at a loss. We’ll see. Some times I feel so tech challenged. I hear people talking or writing about their new such in such and I don’t even know what it is. I still do not know all the features on my cell phone because I do not use it. I inherited it when it did not work in Arkansas last year and hubby had to buy a stronger one.

    Your idea for stylish clothing for older women a good one. I think things like your flare skirt sound comfy. I used to know an older woman when I was a lot younger who wore clothes that were very stylish and they tended to have a Greek flare about them. She always looked so nice.

    I no longer enjoy shopping for clothes because it is just too busy. I buy most of my clothes at a very nice thrift store in town. Clothes I could not afford if new. Good clothes and I am happy with them. Mostly tops and dresses. Pants I have to buy new and that is a chore. But that is not going to happen until I gain weight.

    Tops, Your quilt is nothing short of a precious treasure. Lucky you!

  16. Teri, your quilt sounds like a wonderful treasure! What a feeling of connectedness it must give you!

    I did not find the picture of your fireplace, I guess I missed that one, what is the posting date for it?

  17. I have one quilt that my Granny made, she gave it to me when my oldest daughter was born. She used a Singer treadle machine, like the one you describe.

    Clothes in a Greek style, now there is an idea, I’ll have to go poking around and see what I can find. Funny, as we get older we seem to have to deal with physical extremes of one kind or another. I used to have favourite styles that suited me, and then my body changed as I got older and they are not so flattering. I haven’t adjusted to the change, although from time to time I make feeble attempts. I do not like shopping, but for me it is mostly because I don’t like much that they are selling, and what I do like seldom fits me properly. For years I just wore overalls, but when we started travelling back and forth from the country house to the city house, overalls were a misery in the public washrooms during the trip.

  18. NORA

    Maggie, I am so glad you have that quilt! It is also a treasure. I don’t have anything like that from my Grandparents. I do have things my mother made though but that’s different.

    Clothes have become a concern for me because I am so under weight. I have to ‘disguise’ my bones. I can’t wear so many things now. Skinny is not fun. In summer I live in long rayon dresses. When I go out it is a balancing act with stretch pants (nothing else fits) and tops that hide skeleton arms (that believe it or not still have time for chicken skin!). I’m always over dressed!!

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