Friday, May 11, 2012

A Mouse in the House!

Yes, a mouse... How you ask.

The story begins last summer, when we thought we were so smart.  We installed a "cat door (see blog here)".  We thought we were so clever, because we were tired of being constantly hounded by our three cats to  "let me out".. "let me in"... etc.  Also, Tonks wouldn't go outside if she couldn't see that the door was open.

the  Cat door was a HUGE hit, to both the cats and to us.  We could sit and enjoy the evening without having to get up so often.

But in the middle of the summer, one quiet evening, I was sitting at my computer and out of the back of my mind, I could hear Paralax meowing at me, but her meow was different... it was .. prideful.. excited.... and then my MIND BURST!...   That is the "I have a gift for you".. meow.. But the really bad part was....  she was at my feet.  Sure enough...  there she was... standing tall,  presenting a nice big fat dead mouse.. in the house.. at my feet!  ugh.  Well, I got really mad at her.. and locked the cat door.  That was it, no more freedom.  Well like every parent.. she (and the other two) nagged, whined, whimpered and howled enough, that I gave in and a few days later we unlocked it and everyone was happy again.  That is, until the next "mouse event" when she arrived in the house with another one, except it wasn't all the way dead, just half dead.  Oh my God, I was over the edge on that one... and got really mad.  Locked that damn door again for a week this time, but I just couldn't stand the whining.
The rest of the summer went ok, with me giving them limited freedom... only allowing the door to be unlocked when we were near by.  We did have a bird incident later in the summer (too gross to talk about) and a couple of close calls but the rest of the summer and fall went along without any more indoor adventures.
Well,  its spring again.  They are soooo happy to be popping in and out of that cat door, that it makes me feel so happy for them.  Well, until Monday.
Monday night, terry comes home from bowling and starts messing around with the front landing.  He is banging things, moving stuff.. .and muttering under his breath.  He says... "Well, I think we have another mouse.".  But this time, its alive, its hiding under the radiator next to the front door.  Grrrr... its squeaking under there which is causing ALL kinds of excitement for the cats and ME!  Terry digs and prods with a stick, a flash light and gloves but no mouse.. although there is a lot of panicked squeaking.  Terry determines that this little scare critter is backed into a hole where the radiator pipe goes into the wall.
So.. all the cats get locked up... and we set a mouse trap with yummy, crunchy peanut butter and we place it very close to were the mouse is hiding.  End of story... almost.
When we got up the next morning, the trap is untouched... and the mouse is still in the hole.. squeaking his heart out....   We put the trap away,  because the cats are now roaming the house, and we leave for work.. figuring Mr. Mouse will meet his match.  This breaks my heart.. but there is nothing we could do.
When we arrived home after a long day... there was our little boarder... still squeaking... still in the hole.
Now what!  I got the flashlight and started poking around and I figured out that he went in the hole.. and dropped about 4 inches down between two 2 x 4s and the gyproc, trapping him in this small space. he couldn't climb up the gyproc to get out the hole.  Now my heart was really breaking... but Terry didn't really think I was right... what do I know about Mice abilities.  Well, one thing I do know, is that he was there two full days now.. with nothing to eat... and my heart was really breaking.. sooo.. late that night, when Terry wasn't looking... I dropped a nice big fat cranberry down in the hole...  poor little thing.  I really didn't want him to die in that hole... ewwww, that would be stinky.. so I needed him to keep up his strength until he found a way out.
Terry set the trap again.. but I thought it was quite a waste of time... and just like the morning before.. nothing touched in the trap (although, it could have been because he was stuffed with a cranberry belly).  Still squeaking too... (probably would like a glass of milk, now).
Off to work we went... and home again we came... he is still in the hole.. still peeping.  One thing I forgot to  mention is that the hole had a constant gate keeper... one or two of the cats sat or slept very close to the hole, most of the three days.. just in case!    For lack of a better idea, Terry decided to give the little guy one more night to try to get out of the hole.. and he locked up the cats, set the peanut butter trap.. and went to bed.  Meanwhile... I glued 3 popsicle sticks together... so they were about 10 inches long.. and popped it down the hole.. leaving it pop out... maybe this would help him  get out... and eat the peanut butter and get trapped.. a quick and painless death.
The next morning.. Terry checks the wall... and sees the stick.. (quite impressed that the mouse was able to carve those sticks out of the 2x4.. and glue them together to make them tall and extra sturdy).  With his eye rolling and snippy remarks... he said "its either gone or dead.  You would think he would go for the peanut butter after not eating for 2 days"   Oops.. I didn't mention the cranberry..  I wasn't convinced it was gone.. but I did think the stick had moved a bit.  But there was no squeaking.
After another day away at work, coming home.. and it was all quiet in the hole.. Terry figured he better try and get the carcass out of the hole... and in he goes with a saw....  actually, he had to cut a couple of holes to get right down to the spot where Mr. Mouse was.
Well, the good news was... he wasn't dead... the bad news was... he wasn't in there anymore, either.  The question is  ....where did he go.
We haven't got that question answered but we do have a new selection of mouse traps.  Ugh!

The end of the story though goes like this. Today, right after supper,  Pika.. my majestic hunter... popped into the house through the cat door.. carrying a nice big fat squirrel.  That enraged Terry and Pika was picked up (still holding the squirrel) and dragged outside where Terry shook Pika until he dropped the squirrel.. who ran across the deck, in front of Paralax and flew off the deck.
Needless to say.. the door has been permanently  altered.  Terry has engineered it so that it only opens one way.... there will be no more unlimited coming and going.

 Only "going".... 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Secretary's Day

Well, I never thought I was going to get the honour of another Secretaries Day portrait.  When Pattianne retired from teaching 3 years ago, so did her tradition of having her grade primary/One or two students sneak to the office with some lame excuse, so they could study what we looked like and then go back to class and draw a FULL SIZE portrait of us.
I have had several of these portraits and each year they vary so much, its amazing that I look like all of those portraits.  Please check here and here for my last two..... that is before the one I got today!

It all began with a cheery "Good Morning" from nicely retired Pat who bounced into the office one morning this week as she does quite often.  Even though she is retired, she subs in our school fairly often as well as tutoring.    This particular day she was in a grade 1 classroom.  It was always so nice to see her... but today, she seemed more than pleased with herself, and she hadn't even started her day yet.  
It all became very clear to me when about mid morning, 4 little people from her class arrived at the office, looking like they had a mission to accomplish.  I had seen that look before... but when I asked if I could help them... they answered very quickly.... No, its ok.   
Now, Melinda, my new co-secretary what taken aback by this "dismissal" by these 4 little ones, but I told her to quickly stand up and come over.  We both stood there while they pretended to look all around the office, but I knew they were studying my brown sweater, my brown pants, my square glasses... hazel coloured eyes.. brown/blonde/gray hair.
I talked casually to Ms Cronin, talking about her white blouse, her brown pants.. and how we both have rectangular glasses.  I talked about her dark eyes... her straight dark hair and her lovely shoes.  She thought I was NUTS.... but I was helping the kids to remember what we were wearing and what we looked like!
Two days later, when Secretaries Day was officially recognized (we were actually spoiled on all 5 days of the week!)  Ms Elliott/Irving's class all arrived with this life size portraits along with comments and signatures
 This is me.  with my square glasses, large blue eyes, pink and purple shirt or short dress, with a scoop neck, filled with gems and bobbles.  I have two chokers on, one pink and one purple, to compliment my purple pants and big purple feet.  I have many fingers, multi plus grey teeth.
 This is Melinda With her beautiful blue shirt/dress... her extra long, super thin black legs and killer high heel blue shoes.  She has brown hair, millions of yellow teeth and no neck.  She is a little uneven in the shoulder department...  and I do believe one of my past pictures, I suffered the same affliction.

Each picture is surrounded by words spoken to Pat, the teacher, which she then writes down and they sign their name below.  I had several standard ones like "She is pretty", "She makes the announcements" "she has lots of bananas"(referring to the snack basket near my desk).  Melinda's had "She rings the bell" "She plays on her computer""She gives us snow pants".
 Our #1 favourite testimonial was written on Melinda's portrait though... by Aidan.  "She is in the office, she helps Mrs Peters.  They both love each other"!  You can't ask for anything better than to love your coworker who you work with every day!
Thank you Pattianne for another great Secretaries Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring has sprung.. again.

Monster Rhubarb - Late March
Its been sort of a crazy (but nice) spring here in the Valley.  We had almost summer like conditions in late March/early April.  It sort of gave us a false sense of spring.  Gardens were raked and twigs removed and lots of little spring treasures were unburied.

The garden Early April
With the nice weather, Terry spent an afternoon turning my little garden and getting all the sneaking moss and weeds out of it.  This was March and then the weather turned really cold and miserable for April.  It was nice to look out the window and see the nice clean garden, but it was way too cold to do anything out there.

Rhubarb- Strawberry type... 
 This is the Rhubarb I planted last spring, and it barely grew during the summer... I think just the shock of replanting, and then I  totally ignored it all summer.  We shall see how it fares this spring.  I am looking forward to some rhubarb from these little plants.
My compost Daffodils... weird
These rogue daffodils popped up in the thick layer of oak leaves in my compose.  I think its a little gift from Wendy's dad... and you see, the flowers are facing her house...
Same Monster Rhubarb -mid April
Monster Rhubarb - early May
 Just two weeks later, the big monster rhubarb that I keep trying to give to my sister is again too big to transplant to New Brunswick.  I am going to have to dig it up this fall... geeeeesh.  Another year of monster rhubarb harvesting.
Strawberry Rhubarb - mid April
Strawberry Rhubarb - Early May
 I think my little strawberry rhubarb will be successful this year.  I am looking forward to small bright red stalks instead of the giant, green stalks from my monster plants.  Should be interesting if my muffins I make will taste any different with the small red chunks... 
We filled a big yard garbage bag today with these pesky little yellow dandelions.  Man, some of them grew bigger than my rhubarb.  What is their secret!
White Bleeding Heart Mid April
Bleeding Heart early May

Mystery Daffodils getting even bigger in my compost

Nut Hatch
This narrow tree trunk is in our side garden.  The tree broke off two years ago.  This hole appeared last fall and  today we saw little nuthatches birds going in and out of this with nest building materials.  I brought them two beetles and a grub I found while digging.. I hope they like them.
Ah, my babbling brook.