Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mousecapades, The Sequel

First I have to make a confession: we may have been wasteful from a practical standpoint. We did not reuse the trap after it was successful. Hubby drew the short straw and had to dispose of the first success so he simply threw the entire trap away with the dead mouse. The traps are cheap enough and he figured the smell of death might be on that one. It sounded good anyway, and it sounded more hygienic to me. I certainly didn't want to mess with prying the trap open, removing the body, etc. Let that quarter go! It was worth it.

Having caught the first mouse, we set another trap and went to bed. Upon getting up the next morning I went into the kitchen and peeked into the cabinet. Yes, we had another victim. I opened the cabinet door wider slowly--as if it was going to come back to life--and waited for it to scamper off. It didn't. It was awfully small and, darn it, kind of cute. Of course, it was also dead so that helped the "aw" factor, as opposed to something looking around with beady eyes and running around, leaving behind feces. That was two down, x to go. We set another trap.

That evening the scrabbling in the wall began again. The cats assumed their positions, staring at the walls with their tails twitching. A little while later, snap! Three down, whoohoo! We threw it away and put out another trap.

It has been a few months now and that fourth trap is still under the sink, waiting. There has not been any more scrabbling in the wall. The cats no longer sit and stare at the wall, waiting for a chance to catch whatever is in there. Life was good again.

And then it dawned on me why we had suddenly had mice: it had gotten colder so the snakes had gone into hibernation, leaving these mice free to wander under our house in search of warm shelter. OMG. Did somebody say, "Snake"? !!!!

And that is another story.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Mousecapades

Mice are something I've only seen in pictures or in movies like Stewart Little. Or cartoons like Tom and Jerry, now that I think about it. In the movies and cartoons they are portrayed as cute little creatures but I was less than thrilled one evening when I heard something scurrying in the wall.

On the alert, I started looking in the kitchen cabinets for signs of the scurrier. Sure enough, I found tiny little signs that it had been under the sink. There was a small gap by the plumbing that apparently allowed access. Immediately I had visions of an infestion and ran to the store the next day to buy mousetraps. I bought a lot of mousetraps. We set one that evening and within minutes we heard a "snap!" We looked at each other, trying to decide if we really wanted to look in the cabinet.

I'll interrupt the story to say that, yes, we do have three cats. They went ape when they heard the scrabbling in the wall so I considered leaving the cabinet door open to let the mouse/mice entertain the cats, but then I thought of whatever illness/disease a mouse might carry and thought about walking into the kitchen in the morning to find a bloody mess or being brought a "gift" in bed in the middle of the night and decided to stick with the mousetrap method of capture.

Hubby drew the short straw so he went and looked in the cabinet. Sure enough, there was a dead mouse caught in the trap. One down, x to go.

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Permanent Valentine

In the vein of once you open your eyes you see things you haven't noticed before, this is more than just some moss I saw on a recent walk. Can you see the heart shape in it?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Funky Fungus?

These funky little flower look-alikes were abundant in a small area. Are they a fungus?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here's the Entrance

This is the entrance to the suspected tunnel in the pasture. We don't know for sure that it is a tunnel, it could be a burrow. We can't see a wall inside to one direction and there is another entrance many feet away in that direction in the pasture, so we suspect that they are linked.

That is my shoe in the picture, to show scale. It's a size 8 woman's shoe. It isn't as far from the entrance as it looks in this picture, it's how the ground is rounded. The entrance really is almost as big as my shoe!

Here's a look inside:

All it needs is a little "Home Sweet Home" sign over it, eh?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We Take a Break from our Regularly

..scheduled topics to bring you this interesting story straight from today's headlines. Seriously. I have to post about this. Otherwise the story may get lost in the revolving door of today's news and not be noticed, but it's too good to miss.

In checking the news pages on-line this morning, I saw a headline about robbers with facemasks--but not just any old facemasks. No, this daring duo apparently had something against the tried-and-true robber mask of pantyhose over the head. Maybe they prefer cotton, maybe it's what was handy or easy to find after a long night of drinking, whatever their reasoning or lack thereof, these brainiacs wore thongs as their facemasks.

Yes, let that sink in. Thongs. On their faces. Can't quite picture it? Me either. So I had to search for a picture, because frankly I was thinking of a string of floss and, well, why bother?



Go ahead, look at it again. Think about the thought process that might have (or might not have) gone into making this decision. Undergarment selection has probably never been so life-altering.

You know what I see here? A cautionary tale and a great advertisement for the old-fashioned undergarments known affectionately as "granny panties." Take a large pair of them, cut out some eye holes in them, you're good to go. They are cotton for easier air flow--important when you have to breathe--and can cover all facial features. What's not to love?

Underwear. It's not only under your clothes anymore. But if you're going to wear it on your face, you may need to give the idea a second and even a third thought. Just a suggestion.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pasture Tunneling

Not only do we have an armadillo (or several) running amok on our property, we have now discovered a full-blown, well-formed tunnel in the pasture. The pictures didn't turn out well, but it was amazing how smooth the tunnel walls were. (And no, I didn't put my hand in there to feel them, lol, although it was tempting.) At first we didn't know if it was a burrow or a tunnel, but then we found another entrance -- about 50 feet away! --so that made it a tunnel. Hubby said he later found a third entrance even further away.

In looking around on the web for what might be doing the digging, a gopher appears to be the most likely culprit. Even the southeastern pocket gopher, despite its small size, can dig extensive tunnels.

Does anyone have any other ideas of what might be making the tunnels?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm in the Doghouse

One of the cats did not get her way so I am in the doghouse as far as she is concerned. She is totally ignoring me. It is amazing how such a small creature can make her feelings known so loudly.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Harbinger of Spring

This weekend I noticed a visitor in our new (to us) yard: a daffodil. A single daffodil had opened and there are others not far behind him, waiting to open too.

Not all daffodils open this early in the year. Some are early daffodils, like this one. Some are late, not blooming until after you've given up on them for the year.

Not all daffodils are yellow on yellow like this one. There is an amazing variety of color combinations in daffodils. I'm looking forward to planting them here, after I've seen what is already here and blooms this year.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Making Laundry Soap

In trying to cut our grocery bills, I've looked at the highest-priced goods that we purchase regularly or fairly regularly. In reading about being thrifty and cutting costs I've seen plenty of references to making your own laundry soap and goodness knows the stuff isn't cheap at the store so, being the thrifty individual I am, I thought I'd give it a try.

The recipe I used can be found at . There may be other recipes on the internet, too. I'd wanted to use Fels-Naptha soap just because I haven't seen it before but, not being able to find it easily, I ended up using Ivory and used the 3.1-oz sized bar. We try to not use antibacterial products and it can really limit your soap options at the store. Try to use something without perfumes and it limits your options even more.

Making the soap wasn't bad at all. I'd read that it enabled a person to make a mess and it be okay, but I didn't find it messy. And normally I can make a mess out of anything, it's one of my gifts. In fact, it was astonishingly easy to make this stuff. I kept thinking, "When is the hard part?" but there wasn't one, except maybe the letting it sit overnight. Waiting to see the final result was difficult for me.

The end product was more liquid than I had expected since it sat overnight to thicken but it seems to work well for its purpose. There isn't any smell to it but I tend to dislike strongly perfumed detergents anyway. However, I've realized that the light, fresh scent of newly cleaned laundry is something I miss so I am going to try adding some essential oil one of these days. But even without scent it is getting our clothes and towels and even the dogs' beds clean so I'd call it a success. Better yet, it means we can skip the stinky detergent aisle in the grocery store and not spend that extra $10. She shoots, she scores, lol.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Latest Frugal (& Food) Interest: Trying to Decide

Okay, I've learned how to make bread so that is one frugal goal accomplished. It isn't perfected yet, of course, but it's progress so I'm off and thinking about the next one.

Continuing along on the subject of food (hmmmm, interesting coincidence)... This weekend I saw a small display of young plants--lettuce, broccoli, and other assorted staples--for purchase so now I am wondering whether to try to start from seed or to go ahead and spend the $3.50 or so for a pack of young transplants of each. I'm planning on growing them (whether they are grown via seed or via purchased transplants) in containers, so either form can be protected by being placed somewhere protected from any freezes.

I like the frugality of growing from seed, but my one venture at growing ornamentals from seed was unsuccessful. Gauging the necessary level of moisture was difficult and then I lost what few were still living to damping off, I believe it's called. So I'm not terribly optimistic about the odds of success from seed, but I'm willing to try. So what do you think? Should I start with some transplants (is that the proper term?) or go with the cost-saving seed?

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Made Bread!

and it tastes good!

Okay, for the more culinarily advanced individual, this may not be a big accomplishment. For me, however--not super-skilled at cooking and certainly not cooking from scratch--this is a big deal.

Note to self: next time start making the bread in the afternoon, not at night after a late dinner. I was up more than half the night with all the punching it down and letting it rise again before baking it, but it was worth the effort in the end. It smelled wonderful and tasted even better. Better yet, I knew exactly what ingredients were in it.

I was concerned that I might not have been kneading it properly but it turned out to look fairly normal so I must have done it correctly--or at least close enough to pass muster.

Now that I've made bread from scratch, I feel like a new door has been opened to me. Whoohoo! What to make next? :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Deer and Coyotes and Squirrels, Oh My!

Hubby is thrilled--the game cam finally caught some animals in pictures.

There were a couple of pictures of deer, but I'll share the one that had two deer in the frame:

Here the animal was walking away by the time the camera took the picture, but you can still make out what it is--a coyote.

We also had some footage of squirrels foraging for acorns and nuts. That wasn't a surprise, but at least they weren't ripping bark off of limbs. (Yes, I'm going to carry a grudge over that for a while.)

Now the question is going to be if he leaves the game cam there or tries to move it. He's been hearing what he thinks are coyote pups playing in another spot. We'll see.