Unwanted company

Here we were, minding our own business, celebrating my oldest sister’s birthday with the added celebration of it being mother’s day. To cap off the celebration, M and I planned a soak in the hot tub. To that end, I hadn’t minded missing my periodic soaks throughout the week (due to all the rain) leading up to the celebration, knowing that there was a luxurious treat awaiting.

The day was sunny and chilly – perfect for a water temp of 101-102 degrees F. Armed with fluffy towels and too early for wine and cheese, we lifted the tub cover.

Out popped a mouse! And it had a lovely little floating island of dried moss and leaf bits drifting around trailing debris through the depths of the tub.

I readily admit to having my mom’s mice genes in that I “EEK” every time I see a mouse. I have NOT ever climbed on a chair, though. and living in the country surrounded by woods, it has been impossible to keep them out of the garage, shed and ceiling/walls of the house.

They have invaded my basketry area in the past and I have liberally used traps (both humane and non) and D-Con. They eat the traps (as well as the bait) without getting caught and store all the D-Con pellets in special little caches throughout my stuff. Over time, I’ve at least been able to keep their evidence out of sight in my space.

But the HOT TUB! This space is PERSONAL!

Yesterday’s guest was promptly removed (tossed overboard and scampered away) and the island mess cleaned up fairly well. M assured me this was no worse than all her lifeguard days of cleaning out pools, so we did actually soak a bit. And then, this morning, just to check…..

THREE MICE! A momma and two younguns enjoying another floating island of moss bits. Plus they had chewed a hole through the vinyl skirting.

This means war, now!

Nothing on-line references mice in the actual tub of a hot tub. Mostly mice have gotten into the cabinet and/or motor area. My hot tub guy was astounded about the mice being in the water. He’s gonna check with his service guys, but thinks maybe a high level of chlorine might do the trick. He also likes D-Con, but I certainly don’t want those pellets ending up in the tub, too.

I don’t want to bait traps because that will also attract other varmits to the deck. And I feel bad about going after a critter outside (after all, that IS their space) but they have invaded MY space! A cat might work, but that means trying to keep one around the house, on the outside, without it eating other things and then not being hungry enough to chase the mice. Dilemmas!

But I WILL get my hot tub back.

And the mice WILL stay out!



Home but foggy

Made it home to the US late Sunday night – I figure about 31 hours of being in motion of some sort while wending my way to the US – and am finding it a bit harder to acclimate to the time/day changes now, having traveled eastward, than it was when I went west. More tired today than I was yesterday.  Oh, well – all part of the process.

Yesterday I went through accumulated snail mail and email (had been offline for about 4 weeks). Today I picked up some artwork across town that is needed tomorrow for an exhibit I was accepted in while out of town. Laundry is just about finished. The bags are unpacked, but all items are not necessarily put away.

The trip was stupendous! The people were gracious and lovely! The food was nutritious and filling and mostly delicious – and I didn’t have to make it or clean up after it!

I’ll pull out my notes and do some updating since last I wrote. And download all my pictures, too. But first – a major nap is in order!

A day of gooseberries and mud…

Two weeks ago our town started a summer Farmers’ Market. A small initial gathering of farmers and crafters showed up with plants, eggs, home made breads and candies, jellies/jams. This week a few more stands were set up and included actual garden produce. I intend to support the market every week that I can (only on Thursdays); last week a dozen fresh eggs (browns and greens) came home with me. Today I scored a quart of gooseberries (that have already been cooked in a ‘crunch’ style dessert), a Thai sweet basil plant (now happily living with our other basil plant on the deck) and 2 small cukes that are really tasty – only one left! It should keep the summer interesting.

What was also interesting today was teaching 22 kids (ages 5? thru 8?) about mudcloth at a day care center. I had one energetic boy who insisted that he would be the hunter as I told the story of how the technique started. No speaking parts; I think he just wanted to stand while everyone else was sitting. The kids did really well in spite of two spills, one tearful rejection of a misplaced drop of mud and boundless energy that youngsters seem to display as it gets close to lunch time!

new website look

I am probably the pokiest website person around!

I wanted to give my website a fresh look. The biggest problem, or rather the biggest challenge, is to do the behind the scenes programming for it. I work with html and don’t use a WYSIWYG program thingee, so I lumber along sort of relearning each time I do this. Thing is, I usually want to do something a bit fancier each time, so I push myself to learn more. Not a whole lot more. Just enough to do what I want to do. And enough to get me in trouble!

Anyway, after what has seemed like forever – but actually about three weeks – I’ve got it where I like it at the moment minus some work with images. Gathering all the images I want to use is my stumbling block now, but I didn’t want that to keep the overall site from looking fresh. So, the pages look different and I’m still working on displaying pictures.

I have a feeling it will be awhile before I am completely finished with adding new pictures.  And by then, I’ll probably want to revamp again!

Any feedback you might wish to give is always welcome!

No good, very bad, ….

It was one of those days today.

Started out wonderfully with a cool morning and the promise of high temps and clear skies. I had three things I wanted to do today: oil the teak chairs on the deck, run the cooked asparagus through the Hollander beater (and maybe pull a few sheets) and do some laundry.

I started by rinsing the cooked asparagus (it had sat overnight in the pot cooling down) and putting it aside, figuring I’d get to it shortly.

The chairs were next, although I could’ve put the load of laundry in at this point, but I forgot. Now, teak is a heavy, solid wood. We have this table and chair set which was on sale at the end of the season a couple years ago and it is just great. But it gets weathered. So the teak oil came out. Directions say to ‘flood’ the wood so that it can soak up what it needs. I thought I was being liberal, slathering it on pretty thickly especially on the seats and arms where it gets the most sun and rain action.

My love had mentioned putting each chair up on the table to oil it so I wouldn’t have to bend down. All fine and good if you are a strong man. As it turned out, I didn’t have too much trouble and even my abdomen muscles didn’t protest  – good sign of being healed!

I had the last chair on the table and was down to the last bits of oil when I carelessly sloshed the brush, flipping the bristles thick with oil which it flung out and deposited on my right eye. My glasses were too far down my nose to afford any protection.

Immediately I went to the kitchen sink to rinse out the eye, using the sprayer for dishes. After a couple minutes of gentle spraying, I called the Poison Control Center (thank God for emergency numbers in the front of the telephone book!), spoke with a very take-charge Debbie who talked me through the best way to irrigate an eye, assured me the stuff wasn’t caustic and said she would call back later to check on me.

Ten minutes of serious flushing and the eye was feeling tight – and like there was an eyelash stuck. The bottom part of the eye was looking all red and angry. Debbie, when she called back, suggested I contact my eye doctor as that eyelash feeling was a sign of a possible scratch on the eye. Soooooo, the call to the eye doc resulted in a trip to the office to have the eye checked.

Leaving my driveway, I chose to go the southern direction hoping to avoid the men and machines who are installing a new water main down the middle of our road and I knew they were working on the northern end. What I didn’t know until too late was that they were also digging up the southern end today. My trip was a bit longer than expected.

Oh, and the water had been disrupted yesterday so we were under a water advisory meaning that we should boil all drinking water. I didn’t stop for that when I was flushing, so have no idea what bacteria were finding homes on my eye.

Fortunately, they took me right away when I got to the eye doc’s office. And sure enough, the white part of the eye has lost a couple layers – the cornea is fine, though!  So, with the eye numbed and drops and a prescription for an antibiotic ointment, I was on my way, cowering under the brightness of the sun.

After the obligatory wait at the pharmacy, I came home by the northern end of our road to avoid all the mess at the southern end. Of course, they were in the middle of a major dig at that end and had both lanes blocked for some time. I thought about parking the car and walking, but….

Finally, I was home and squeezing the ointment on my eye – instant fuzzy! That settled down a bit so I went out to collect the asparagus – I didn’t feel up to running the Hollander anymore today and needed to put the cooked fiber in the freezer. When I went to rinse off the netting I had strained the fiber in, I discovered the water was off. Obviously not going to do laundry, either!

When I finally got around to wiping off the excess oil from the chairs, I realized there were a number of places missed (especially the tops of the chair backs as they were higher than eye level). And I had used every bit of the teak oil in the can so I couldn’t go over anything to finish it properly.

On top of it all, I had completely forgotten about lunch.

An easy dinner and a glass of wine has turned the day a bit better. The eye will take more than that, though, to recover – and it will.