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


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


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

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bex Crowell

I have been meaning to make one of those hand towels for over the oven bar also but haven’t started it yet. Too many projects going at once!

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

Brave person! I’d have let DH do the original investigating of the “visitor’s” den. Hopefully this is the only intrusion you’ll ever have to deal with.

We had a near constant turnover of thunderstorms yesterday, from about 1pm and onward. We’re sure getting enough rain for our small lilacs which are blooming for the first time and for our new daylilies along the sideyard fence (half planted in the Fall and half just a week ago).

I’m hoping the lilacs are the first of many blooms in our expanding garden.