It’s Just the Way It Goes

We are being overrun by mice. Poop is everywhere!

They began their assault by entering through plumbing holes beneath the kitchen sink. We plugged the holes with steel wool, which they then pushed out of the way to continue peeing all over the dish rack. So we hot glued the steel wool in place and stopped their invasion. Then the assault came from behind the stove. We moved the stove and the refrigerator and glued steel wool into any opening big enough for a ball bearing to fit through. Following that, the mice started pouring from the furnace closet. We can’t remove the furnace to reseal the room so we blocked access to the bottom of the door by installing a threshold.

Finally, the onslaught of mice abated…for about three hours.

Mice started showing up beside the refrigerator again. We could hear them clanking around in the oven. They’d shoot across the floor to a dog bowl and back into their safe haven. Occasionally they’d make their way into the living room and hide behind the couch as Levee, our heeler/shepherd/mystery mix stalked the area, waiting for them to emerge. Our bedroom is off the living room and yesterday I watched as a shadow flew across the floor and disappeared around the corner. “Mouse!” is Levee’s new favorite command and when I saw it bolt into our room I shouted “Mouse! Mouse! Mouse!” and pointed to where it went. I followed her in and checked the only place I felt they would have the nerve to hide: the closet.

Poop. Was. Everywhere.

We use a large metal shelf in our closet to hold all the sheets, towels, blankets, and a couple baskets of socks. Everything was covered in little black pellets. I found two holes, no larger than marbles, against one of the walls.

ARGH!

We pulled everything out again in the kitchen and the bedroom closet, found they had made a sizable entrance next to the gas pipe, resealed everything with steel wool, glued in place of course. This time we also nailed or screwed 1×2″ strips of wood above the steel wool.

Next we need to check every other closet and seal the bathroom as well, where they’ve started coming in behind the toilet. If they get through these barriers, our last attempt at finding a way to stop them without murdering them, will be to staple screen or flashing over the steel wool and wood. If they still persist, they’ll leave us with no choice.

We’ll have to move.

Title From:
What It Is
by Kodaline

Catch as Catch Can

One of the cows from the neighboring ranch got into our pasture this afternoon. Unfortunately, our fencing isn’t very solid. We had intended to repair it in the spring so we could put a couple horses of our own out there, but it’s not spring yet, so it’s still unsuitable for animals.

I didn’t want to risk her getting out of our pasture as well, so I had to run out in the wind, alone, to mend the one large opening that would allow her complete freedom. Most of the fencing is, unfortunately, barbed wire, but the opening is a gate of sorts, made with livestock fence that had blown down recently. I don’t know how much experience you’ve had with this heavy gauge fencing but it’s very similar to chain-link in its unwieldy nature. If you have someone to help you or, you know, do it for you, it’s a lot easier.

After much contorting and grumbling, I got the opening sealed, and now she’s safe until the neighbor corrals her back onto their land. I am way more proud of this than I probably should be…

Title From:
Always
by Blind Pilot

What Will Be, Will Be

We didn’t get as much done over the weekend as we had hoped.

We have some of the lights up but there are multiple strands still laying in the yard. We have to go through a few and find whichever bulbs are causing the outages. I guess the title from my last post was foretelling. Christmas lights frustrate me, as does pie crust, wrapping oddly shaped presents, and doors that do not clearly mark if they swing from the left or from the right.

On the mouse front… We plugged every hole we could find that may be allowing the mice access to the kitchen. Now they’re coming from the furnace closet. I can’t kill them. It isn’t a part of who I am to snuff out a life simply because it’s annoying me. So, we will continue to block them as much as we can until they find things too difficult here and move on. I want to believe that’s a possibility. This is a battle I refuse to lose!

We didn’t get around to painting any decorations or ordering any ornaments. Someone, possibly a plow, destroyed our mailbox, so we had to spend some time putting a new one up. I don’t mean “we” really. I did participate by putting the new numbers on the box, so there’s that. The mailbox is now back in place and ready for packages. It’s pointing a little cockeyed in regards to lining up with the road but quirkiness is a quality attribute. I hope our mailman agrees.

Oh well, there’s always next weekend!

Title From:
Que Sera, Sera
by Doris Day

One Light Goes Out, They All Go Out!

This weekend we have so much to accomplish!

We have to hang our lights, which is going to be a feat itself with the amount we usually put up. On top of what we already have, we’ve been talking about buying more boxes. Then there’s the issue of measuring to make sure things are balanced so I don’t feel fidgety and uncomfortable every time I catch a glimpse of an extra three feet of lights hanging off the edge of something. I can tolerate there being an extra amount of lighting but it really has to be balanced or it’ll drive me nuts.

Then, we have to order our snowman ornament and our year’s representation ornament. Every year since we moved in together we’ve purchased a snowman ornament and one additional ornament to represent our latest year. It’s our way of phasing out the usual ball ornaments and personalizing our tree with tradition and things that mean something special to us. We didn’t get to order any last year because our cabin didn’t have an address for mail/deliveries, so we’re going to have to pick out four this year, which doesn’t seem like a very big deal, but if you were the one picking them out with me, you’d know better.

A couple years ago we also started the tradition of each painting a decoration. It’s cheaper than buying pre-made decorations and we can have fun personalizing them. The first year we did tiny cabins that the wild mice in our farmhouse used for scavenged food storage. So, we have this year’s pieces to pick out and fancy up before the weekend is over.

We also have to pull out all the appliances and drawers to find where the mice are getting in here. We’ve already blocked a few access points but after seeing one (quite large) mouse running back and forth to one of the dog’s bowls yesterday afternoon, it’s clear we’ve obviously missed a sizable entry hole.

Our Christmas tree is going to have to wait until next weekend, I’m afraid, since I haven’t located a Christmas tree farm around here yet and with everything we have to do it would just sit unadorned for another week anyway.

Title From:
The 12 Pains of Christmas
by Bob Rivers

How ‘Bout We Sing Some Holiday Songs?

I love the holiday season. I start listening to Christmas music weeks before Thanksgiving. The first snowfall (when it’s not in September) brings with it the excitement over picking and chopping our tree, hanging lights, wrapping presents, baking cookies, and getting snockered on eggnog.

I have so many heartwarming Christmas memories but, by far, my favorite memories revolve around my sister. Even when we didn’t share a room, we would sleep in the same bed for days before Christmas, counting down in eves (Tonight is Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve!) and whispering about the presents we knew the other was getting. Finally, on Christmas Eve, we would wake up all through the night to check if Santa had been to the house. Then we would wait anxiously for the clock to read 4:30am, a perfectly acceptable time to begin the day when you’re 10 and it’s Christmas, and wake our parents.

It’s been many years since we shared a bed at Christmas, but I still catch myself counting down in eves.

Title From:
Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday
by Brad Paisley