Tag Archives: mice

Uriah killed That Rat!~ One down…

Hello, everyone!  This has been a very long, tiring month. With Michael unable to drive, I have been doing all the driving. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue, but I have a back injury that makes it hard for me to sit, stand, and walk for even short periods of time.  Before, we were taking turns driving, now it’s all me. With multiple doctor appointments for all of us, including our teenager who will start ninth grade August 16th, I am having trouble even checking my emails. 

Now on to other happenings..

Yesterday Uriah killed, ‘That Rat’!

Where’d he go!

We were standing next to the garden. I was complaining about all the tomatoes that have been eaten in the past week. Thirteen! Thirteen big beautiful tomatoes!

I can’t say for sure it was a rat that ate the tomatoes, it could have been the skunk, a family lives near the barn. Or the opossum, one tried to take up residence in the dog house. Maybe raccoons!  There are plenty of those around. Even coyotes love tomatoes. Do foxes eat tomatoes?

What they looked like, then they were gone!

Anyway, Uriah turned away from me and started nosing around a square drainage tube that was lying at the top end of the garden. Ground squirrels like to hide there. I raised the tube to slide out the animal, and it held on inside tight. I rolled it over, and over until it was pointed at the Bog Willows and the rodent slid out.  A very fat, cute reddish rat ran a zigzagged pattern towards the trees.

Uriah looked up at me, surprised.

“Hey, you go catch that rat!” Ooops! I used the wrong word. Rat sounds like cat, Uriah isn’t supposed to chase a cat, and so he sat and watched it run. I pointed at the rat and yelled.  “Mouse! Get that mouse!”

 Uriah hesitated, then started chasing it through the grass. 

Yes, it squeaked, so do Ground Squirrels and Chipmunks. I almost called Uriah off. Almost..

The chase lasted only a minute or two, with Uriah tossing it into the air, then turning in circles and a giant leap, then silence.  Uriah waited. I praised him and gave him a pork rawhide bone. He happily trotted off, while I moved the body to the burn pile, fully intending to burn the tree branches and that rat, tomorrow. 

We were due at the doctors in an hour and I won’t light a fire if I’m not around. So that was the plan, tomorrow light the fire…

It rained all night. The trees are flooded.  The water line is inching towards the house and overflowing the burn pile. I need another plan…

 Link on Chipmunks and Ground Squirrels:

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/directory_show.cfm?species=groundsquirrel

My Rat Is A Cross Dressing Opossum~ Or, Can I Get A Gun To Match My Shoes!~

This weekend was beautiful one of those perfect, mid-western spring days. The skies were baby blue with nary a cloud to be seen. The birds were singing. The winds were just a gentle breeze, and the trees were all budding lime green with a sprinkling of leaves waving as I passed by. The air held a slight chill so I had to wear my orange coat unzipped, I never broke a sweat.

Uriah ran up to me panting. He had his worried face on. His eyes bulging out as he tried to walk as close to me as possible, without actually jumping into my arms.

“Come on Uriah!  What’s wrong with you?” I patted him on his head and he paced then leaned into me.

I stood up and looked around not yet getting what the problem was. Then I heard it. The call of the, Warm-Weathered-Mid-Western-Gun-Owner and  my main reason for wearing a bright orange stylish coat all-year-round.  Avoidance of bullets! Add in the fact that I could be seen from miles off. Unless they think that deer, coyote and raccoons shop at Fleet and Farm, I should be safe.

The sound of a gun being fired caught my attention, along with the immediate high pitch ‘Peeeyuuu!” sound traveling behind it.  The bullet must have ricocheted off something then headed in my direction.

Sort of ruined that safe feeling of wearing my orange coat!

I continued on with Uriah around the back path, enjoying the warmer spring air, just a little more leery.

Yesterday when we took the same walk I saw one of my neighbors, standing in the farmer’s air field, at the back of the path. He and his two young boys were digging a hole. When I came close we exchanged pleasantries. Then he explained the farmer gave him permission to shoot the chipmunks. He then told me that the coyotes hunt the chipmunks and dig holes making it unsafe for the farmer to land his planes. Okay..

 Then he added. “You shouldn’t be walking around without a gun!” He nodded looking around.   “There are Cougars in Illinois that sleep in the trees! Just like in California and they will jump out at you. Or grab little kids, like my boys here,” He pointed to his sons and mimicked biting at the kids, “and then they’ll drag ‘em off” He hesitated for effect then added. “And there are Wolves here now. I know a hunter who saw their tracks just on the other side of town.” Hand on hips, he gave me a few seconds for that to sink in then he continued.  “And a Wolf pack will hunt you down if you’re walking alone!”  He pointed to the gun slung over his boys shoulder. “That’s why you should never walk around here without a gun.”

 I responded back.  “Wolves eat rodents! Rats, mice, rabbits, chipmunks… not people!’

“They will if they get hungry enough!”

There are certain points during conversations where I think of Lucy and Charlie Brown, the Peanuts Cartoon characters. This was one of those times.

 

Lucy had told Charlie Brown, the reason a Palm tree is called a Palm tree is because you can get your entire palm around it. Charlie Brown reacts by clutching his stomach in pain.

 

I know how he felt…

To be truthful he had me a little nervous. I remembered how Uriah was frightened a couple of times at night, and I mentioned that. (see  link #3 below)

“Yeah!  Probably a Cougar!”  This guy is good. He will nod yes, when he wants you to say yes. And shake his head adamantly when he wants the negative reaction. Right now he was nodding and looping his thumbs in his belt loops. ”Yeah! Cougars!”

Okay I have to stop here. I tried to call the county to ask them about this. But no one called me back.  Gee! I wonder why…

A couple of Cougars were sited a year or two ago and they were shot. Illinois doesn’t have cougars on the endangered species list because they are so few. Cougars were exterminated in Illinois before 1870.

As for Wolves, according to ‘Defenders of Wildlife’ site (see link #1 below) Wolves; “were killed in most areas of the United States by the mid 1930s”

The difference being, Wolves are on the endangered species list.  (See the link #2, below)

Back to my walk: Uriah was bored he wanted to keep walking he didn’t want to stand around and talk. He kept glancing at the guns, then looking away.

I had to ask this question.” How do you know that a coyote was digging those holes? Could’ve have been anything!”

He answered with a wave of his hand. “Well there are coyote tracks all over the dirt. They are really good diggers.”

“I was just wondering, because we have a lot of holes made by Muskrats.” I pointed behind me, about fifty feet away there was a visible mound of rocks.

“Muskrats? Huh!”  

After that answer I was wondering if he knew what a Muskrat was.

“We also have a couple of irritating rats near the outside kennel that dig a lot!”

“Rats! You sure it’s not a opossum?” He gave me that I don’t believe you look.

“No! It’s a rat. A nice fat county Rat!” I held my hands about half a foot apart.

“Could be a raccoon.” He mumbled.

“Coon! No it’s a rat!”

 He kept shaking his head, as if I would change my mind and agree it was something else.

“It’s a rat! I have a picture of it. Unless it was a opossum, and it dressed up like a rat!”

Luckily his phone rang and his wife summoned him to dinner.  Or he was bringing it with him. I don’t know!  I didn’t look at what happened to the chipmunks they had shot.

When I got back in the house, I told Michael we needed a gun to fend off Cougars and Wolves. He wanted to know what I was drinking on my walk…

#1: Information on grey wolf:

http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/wolf,_gray.php

#2: Endangered species list:

http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=A00D

http://ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/pub/stateListingAndOccurrenceIndividual.jsp?state=IL

#3:

http://gerardinebaugh.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/something-was-in-the-fogor-take-bets-on-who-pees-first/

Sanosuke Mighty Hunter~ Or, Run! Dead Mouse On The Loose!~

Sanosuke caught a second mouse. I grabbed the camera, but the lighting is very dark. Sorry! 

What you didn’t see, was when I tried to take it from him. When I finally got the courage to try and take it away, Sano flipped the mouse right at me.

The mouse theme has ended, for a while at least! Unless I find one waiting for me in my bed..

I Refuse To Sleep With A Small Furry Rodent!~

One mouse in the house
Two mice in the garage
Three mice in the barn

 

It was two AM on Tuesday. I woke up to the cats boisterously running through the hallway and sliding into the bedroom.  They bumped into the bed, the walls, and the vertical blinds. I rolled over and drifted back to sleep.

Michael sat up and started talking, “I wonder what’s going on?”

Without looking I muttered, “They’re just playing behind the vertical blinds”

Michael crawled out of bed and carefully stepped in front of the bed, searching the shadows.  “No! Something’s up.”

He came around my side of the bed and flipped on the light. “Look at Sano?”

I sat up and Sano was sitting all pretty and proud with a mouse dangling from his mouth.

“It’s fake!” I muttered and tried to lie back down.

“No, that is real” Michael laughed and Sano nodded his head so the mouse, who was being held by his tail, swung upward  then came down and was hit against the rug.

 Sano’s eyes narrowed; when Tomoe walked up to him and sniffed the mouse, which I need to point out was very much alive. Then Sano growled.

Tomoe glared at Sano as if she wanted to smack him. Michael immediately told me to do something about that growl.

Sorry, I have had one too many mice dropped on my chest while I slept. I am not fond of the critters.  To show how much of a chicken I am, I pulled the covers over my head and told Sano to stop growling and take the mouse to his brothers, downstairs.

Instead Sano dropped the mouse. The mouse ran in a circle. Tomoe hates getting bitten so she stood a healthy distance away and just watched.

Sano played with the very fat grey and white mouse like he was playing a pinball game. He wouldn’t allow the mouse to run under the dressers, but he did let him disappear under the bed.  The one I was cowering on.

I jumped out of bed and ran in a circle flapping my arms yelling at Michael, “Get that mouse out of the bedroom!” Then I headed out into the hall and called Kenshin and PJ.  They recognized my frantic, Oh my!  A mouse is in the house!  Hysterical call and ran up the stairs to see what they were missing.

With the two older males now trying to find the mouse, I crawled back under the covers. Tomoe crouched on the edge of the bed, hanging over the side and stared at the floor and at Sano, who was carefully scooting out backwards from under the bed.

Michael muttered something I couldn’t understand. So I peeked out from beneath the blanket.  He held Sano up for me to see. Sano had that mouse clenched in-between his teeth and once more swinging by its tail.  Michael held Sano over the waste basket, and asked Sano to “drop it” -the mouse- into the wastebasket. Michael had to repeat his request three times before Sano opened his jaws and the fat mouse plopped into the plastic bag.

Sano was confused as to where his mouse went to and searched franticly with Kenshin and PJ’s help under and around the bed. Tomoe kept an eye on Michael and followed him out if the bedroom.

At this point, that mouse was out of my sight and I hoped Michael had given him a first class ticket to the moon…

Or, maybe toss him out the door.

The last mouse that was tossed out the door had been caught in a sticky mouse trap.  Michael was afraid the cats would get into the garbage and get stuck in the glue. So he had chucked that sticky mess out the door.  He figured on scraping it off the grass in the morning.  Instead it landed right in the path of a coyote.  Yapping loudly, that coyote raced across the fields with a rectangular piece of plastic and a struggling mouse stuck to his nose…

Picture from word clip art..

Poem…I Was A Perfect Stuffed Monkey~

I was a perfect stuffed monkey

Reddish fur with a beige tummy

face and feet

Until an animal got to me

Now, I lie here without arms, legs or ears

Even my tail was chewed off…

Maybe it was coyote

A raccoon

A fox

or possibly… a skunk  

Could have been that rat

                                    That rat

That steals Uriah’s food and rawhide bones

                                    That rat

that digs the holes around the kennel

under the garden, and

tunnels alongside the horseradish plant

One day the hawk will come by, and sit

Quietly on the railing

waiting for that rat to make a mistake

when he is dancing

on the top of the kennel

Just under the floor boards of the deck

He will scramble up

to look in the kitchen window

at that point, the hawk will strike…

And that rat will be no more

To late for me, I lie here without arms,

or legs, and ears… even my tail is gone

I have all the time in the world

To wonder

Now what..?

Check out everyone at Jingles Thursday poets rally-

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/thursday-poets-rally-week-11-march-24-30-2010/

Coyotes And Crystals; Or Walk With Me And Freeze Your Toes~

Yesterday morning when I looked out the window I saw grays and whites, clouds and snow.  A small section of the sky had a rolling cloud; it was unraveling in grayish-yellow sections in a futile attempt to filter down a ray of sunshine.  

Without thinking I slipped on my gym shoes instead of my boots.  I had packed the snow down on my walks, so the path we took no longer had me wading through deep drifts. Still it was a mistake to forget my boots. I figured that out when I was standing in the snow next to the apple trees up to my ankles.

I kept moving towards the path. I told myself that my feet wouldn’t get any warmer until I pulled on some heavier socks.  That won’t happen until I have my morning coffee, and that isn’t even in my universe until Uriah was walked.  

So I continued on…

I stopped on the path when I saw something clear and shining under the snow.  Uriah hesitated, and watched me dust the snow off the ground.  The ice was solid and window pane clear. Around it the ice swirled with white; it resembled a vase I had seen once.   When I started to walk away, Uriah turned and disappeared between the trees.

I noticed that an animal had been digging little holes underneath the trees and around specific plants. I couldn’t figure out why, or what he would be after. I thought, maybe he smelled the rodents that burrowed tunnels under the snow. Except the holes only reached the frozen grass, and then he moved on to the next. The area was, too, trampled down for me to make out chipmunk tunnels under the snow.

I stopped along the southern fence line, every tree and bush was covered in a white haze.

 Frost crystals!

Usually the crystals would melt if I breathed on them.  This time, I exhaled like I was blowing out candles. When they didn’t melt, I began to wonder if my breath was warm enough.  

I held onto one branch and looked very closely at the ice crystals; I wiped off a section from one small twig.   As I watched, and this only took a few seconds, the ice crystals grew back.

I tried again to melt the crystals by exhaling on them. I watched the crystals melt. Then I watched them reform, not as pretty as the original ones, but still they grew in an upward fernlike  spikes,  called stellar dendrite.

I wished I had a magnifying glass to watch as the crystals grew.  I never saw anything happen so fast!

The air was very damp and cold, a bitter cold. I wondered if that dampness was the cause the crystals grew so quickly.

I heard Uriah huffing angrily!   He raced at me across the field!  His hackles were up as he sniffed at my leg, checking me out. He walked around me once more making sure I was alright. He didn’t even ask for a biscuit. He stopped, sniffed the air and scrapped his back legs hard, the snow shot out behind him. Then, using his hound dog impression, Uriah looked up to the sky and barked.  He set his nose to the ground and ran ahead of me, snorting angrily!   He stopped and sniffed each of those little holes, with disgust!

 I watched his dominance dance few seconds, and then I look out over the farmer’s field, towards the east, something moved, a coyote!

 I whistled and the coyote stopped and laid down.

Coyotes, have responded to my whistle and my voice before, so this wasn’t a surprise. But, my feet were freezing and my legs burned from the cold air and I was ready to head home. Not chase Uriah over an open field…

I called for Uriah and the coyote sat up and listened…

He was waiting for us to leave. 

I wanted my coffee so he wins…

*

*

*Picture from Word Clip Art

Hickory Dickory Dock~

First day of a new year!

 I stared out the window at the icicles that clung to the screen, trailed down the deck’s railings and lengthened underneath the grill.  The winds had smoothed out the snow. And I could see little birds jumping in-between the branches of the Blue Spruce on the south side of the deck.

 Uriah was outside. I watched as he slowly trudged through the snow and picked a spot, out in the open in the sunshine, to sit down.  He looked out over the yard, and then looked over his shoulder at me. He was happy to be outside.  The sky above him was a beautiful deep blue with puffy white clouds. The ice shimmered like clear diamonds, enhanced from the blinding white sunlight, as it reflected off the snow. 

I finished my coffee and headed for my coat and boots.

Once outside I pulled my scarf up around my face. There wasn’t a wind, but frostbite was a reality in these low temperatures. Uriah danced around my legs until I handed him his morning biscuit. I waited as he crunched it to pieces. Then he nosed around in the snow until he found every last morsel.

Being Uriah he tried for two biscuits. I shook my head at him.  He didn’t seem disappointed; instead he turned and waded through the snow towards the back path.

The snow was powdery and painfully white.

Uriah stopped, and looked back at me; he was hesitant to step near the path. He must have remembered the cold water running under the ice.

 I moved cautiously forward and pushed my ski pole down into the snow. It hit frozen ground. Confident I wouldn’t end up with wet feet, I moved on.

 Ice crystals were growing upwards along every piece of dried grass and twig sticking up from the snow.

As I got closer, I could see unfrozen dark water. Little puffs of snow perched on top stray blades of grass, which sat above and over the water. The sight was spectacular! The area was covered with multiple bouquets of white snow flowers. The highest stood only two inches tall.

 Uriah took a couple of tentative steps forward, and found his own way around the freezing water. Instead of walking straight ahead, he had turned and walked into the trees and scramble over branches.  

By walking on piles of dried grass, I was able to make my way to the southern fence line. From there I picked my way around the water, hoping to avoid getting my shoes wet.  

I noticed that I was not the only one who walked this way.  I spotted the tracks of a coyote, rabbit, and squirrel. 

 I stopped and laughed! Pheasant tracks!  They were heading to the east. The same direction I was going!  As the ground slopped upward, I followed them up and away from the water.  As the path moved slightly south, I found the tracks under the trees.

That bird had followed the fence line.  He walked halfway down the path, and then his tracks turned to the south. Where he moved into the open field and headed towards the denser tree line.

I kept walking. I waded through the powdery snow.  I passed up some smaller tracks.  They looked like the rat tracks that were near Uriah’s kennel.

There were some prints I couldn’t identity.  The snow was soft and the footprints had caved in.  This animal walked with his feet apart. He left a trail, similar to train tracks.

Once I reached the end of the path I rounded the back and passed by the farmer’s air field. Headed north and took a left turn and then faced west. There the Bog Willows stayed to my right. This took me in the direction that headed back home.

 I walked under a bush, and noticed smaller tracks, possibly rat tracks. Or, maybe not! This guy had circled around and around underneath the bushes. More than likely it was gathering its breakfast. A few feet on the other side of the bush I came across a coyote’s tracks.  He was circling the bush from the outside. I assumed, he too, was gathering his breakfast.

Uriah appeared from the tree line and looked at me. I waved at him.  He turned and went back to his games.

 At that point I noticed some small, nearly dotty tracks on top of the snow.  I stepped forward and stepped into a snowdrift. This animal had to be very tiny, or he would have sunk in the snow. I stood still and picked out its trail. Then I stepped back where I could follow its path without standing in deep snow.

This animal had circled every piece of grass and wildflower it passed, and it left behind a tiny dusty trail underneath each plant.  Its tracks moved perpendicular along the path I was on.  I thought this was great!  I was heading home.  I could follow it without wasting time. I would even walk a little slower and keep an eye on its tracks.

Then the little tracks disappeared under a Bog Willow…

That was when I made a mistake!

 I walked forward to see where the animal tracks had gone to.  When I did that, I brushed against the top of a sagging Bog Willow.  It was capped with heavy snow, as was everything else in sight.

As the snow showered down on my head I heard a squeak! I saw a mouse stick his head out of its nest of milkweed seeds. That nest was built in the center of the tangled branches, on the top of that Bog Willow, which was about five feet off the ground.

I should stop here and tell you. I don’t like mice! I am the idiot that will dance on the couch, bed or table when one of the little buggers appears. On with the story…

Now, all this was happening at face level!

Uriah caught a whiff of fear and came running! He danced around my feet when he saw the mouse!  

The mouse saw the dog! Then looked at me… Its mini brain worked overtime during those seconds when it tried to figure out, who it feared the least… That was the one it would leap at!  

The Bog Willow branch snapped upward!

I squealed!

Uriah barked! 

And the mouse squeaked and landed on my arm!

I was in a Disney movie….!

My fear was that mouse would crawl down my coat!

I stopped hopping and held my hand out to Uriah to sit. I kept thinking, “Stay calm and relaxed.”   

Riight!

I reached out and put my hand on the Bog Willow.  I made a very shaky bridge, which I hoped that the mouse would use.

He did!

Once he was off my arm, I was out of there!

 Uriah continued to hop up and down. Run in circles and sniff at the snow under the Bog Willow.

I headed over the flooded path, and broke though the ice. A wet left foot wasn’t going to slow me down!

Uriah, finally decided to follow, but refused to come inside the house.  I left him outside to guard against an invasion of mice…

*

*

*

*

This image comes from the Project Gutenberg archives. This is an image that has come from a book or document for which the American copyright has expired and this image is in the public domain in the United States and possibly other countries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hickety_Dickety_Dock_1_-_WW_Denslow_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_18546.jpg

File:Hickety Dickety Dock 1 – WW Denslow – Project Gutenberg etext 18546.jpg

I Need To Knit a Blanket For My Tractor~

The barn has a black shingled roof, with white and beige metal walls.  The frame is made of heavy wooden beams.

 It still surprises me, at how cold the inside of the barn can get. I guess it’s due to all those metal walls.   

Every fall my red, Case Hydro 234, tractor is set in a dry place in the barn where she waits for spring.

Last year was the first year I forgot to check the tractors’ radiator fluid…

Last year, the radiator fluid, in my tractor froze, and ruptured the coolant drain plug.

Now here we are in the middle of winter, and I forgot to drain the antifreeze, again…

Earlier in fall I should have drained the radiator of water and antifreeze, and then replaced it with full strength antifreeze. That would prevent the water from freezing and damaging the tractor. The water pump, radiator, crankcase, and engine block.

Last winter, I lucked out; the coolant drain plug broke before the engine block cracked.

This morning I stood outside the barn in over a foot of snow and knocked on the over head door. That was my professional attempt to ‘un-stick’ the bottom of the door from the ice.   With a tug, I was able to slide the door up.  I stepped inside the barn. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be.  Last winter the temperatures dropped so low, the inside door was covered in frost.   

“Hey old girl” I always greet my tractor and my computer in the same way. No worries, the computer never comes out to the barn.

I opened the hood and checked the radiator.  The fluid was low. I grabbed a bucket, with the intent on draining off some of the antifreeze.  I planned on adding new fluid at full strength, once it was drained.  That was the plan.  Except, I couldn’t open the drainage plug!  I gave up, and made sure the radiator was topped off.   I was very careful not to touch the antifreeze liquid, or spill any. It is very poisonous. I didn’t want Uriah lapping it up. 

In a feeble attempt to keep the tractor warm, I grabbed some bubble wrap, and placed it around the engine.  Then I closed the hood. 

I walked back to the garage and grabbed all the newspapers I could find.  On the way out of the garage I added in a piece of tarp to the pile of newspapers.  

Back in the barn, I covered the hood of the tractor with the newspapers.   Then I set the tarp over the newspapers. I stepped back and sighed. What I really needed, was a blanket. The only one I could think of was Uriah’s.  

I looked over at Uriah. He was nosing around in the corner; he had found some dried grass and was pushing it around.

“Hey Uriah! Are you willing to give up your blanket, so I can cover the tractor?”

Uriah took a couple of steps towards me. He watched my hands anticipating a treat. When he didn’t see any appearing, he shook his head so his ears flapped.

“Oh! Come on! You don’t believe I would take your blankey? ”  

His eyes went from my face to my hands. Twice!  I reached in my pocket and pulled out a milk bone and tossed it to him.  

 I just hope this winter the tractor doesn’t freeze.

This past spring I had to send the tractor out to be fixed. After it was brought back I had trouble with the electrical wiring.  When I turned off the engine, the headlights came on and wouldn’t shut off. I disconnected the lights. Problems solved sort of…

Add to list, check electrical wiring!

I need to head to the truck stop; they may have an engine blanket, if there is such a thing…

I tried to use the tractor, only once, to plow snow.  That was the winter of 1999. Diesel tractors hate cold! So, I bought a heater to warm her up. Even with the heater, I could barely start the engine.

For some reason, I forgot that those big tires slip easily on wet grass and mud.  In a deep snow during a blizzard it was terrifying!  I tromped off to the store and priced out chains for the tractor’s tires.   After I learned how to install them, I decided to get a snow blower from Sears instead…

Where do the insects go in the winter?

800px-IC_Pyrrharctia_isabella_caterpillarSun is shining! I put on my bright orange, stylish coat and went out for a walk,… and to get the mail.

    I was surprised that there were still a few crickets, and frogs chirping away in the trees and dried grass. I nearly stepped on a few stray grasshoppers. With the weather in the upper twenties last night, they should all have hibernated for the winter, or laid their eggs, larvae, nymphs or pupae.

     The bees and wasps have died off. Well, at least the males and the workers. The females crawl into someplace safe, at least they hope so, until spring.

     All my beautiful Monarchs have flown off to far away places to return again in spring.

     I have been trying to vacuum up and squish all the Japanese beetles and box elders that have been invading my house for the past month. I know that no matter how vigilant I am at removing them, some will have crawled in-between the siding, or find places under the tiles. Others have gotten inside the house hoping to hold out for spring.

     In the middle of winter when the sun beats down on the roof, I will find a fly or a beetle that has a death wish by drowning my morning coffee.

    Some caterpillars hibernate, like the woolly bear caterpillar.  That little bugger is not fun to pick up; I try to avoid it altogether. But, every year I make a mistake and touch it, either with my toes, or while grabbing a hand full of weeds. The sharp, stinging sensation is not a pleasant experience, and they seem to be everywhere in the late summer, early fall.

     I try not to disturbed any insects as they settle in for the winter; except for the ones in my house. The others, the ones in rotting logs and in the wooded area hidden under leaves, I leave them be. In spring I want to see them flying and diving around flowers. I want the bees to pollinate my flowers. I want to hear the summer songs of the crickets and cicadas and katydids.

    For now, as I clean up around the outside of the house. Putting away my rakes, and watering hoses. I hope that all of nature can survive the snows and freezing temperatures.

    That reminds me I need a pair of winter gloves.

Mice are perfect cat food

mouseIt’s nearly five in the morning. The heat is running and Uriah is asleep.  My cats are up and energetic, and the outside nocturnal animals aren’t bumping against the house.

This is that very quiet point of the day. I’m usually in bed, but Kenshin, my male half Siamese heard me tossing and turning and said ‘hello.’

I’m not about to step outside, its  freezing- 34 degrees. I am staying inside.

The walls are quiet; come to think of it I didn’t hear any scratching at all last night. Hopefully all the mice have been caught or chased out by the cats.

This has been a great summer for mice; they tried to have the run of the house. My cats were catching them at a rate of one mouse per week. Normally, the mice only try to come inside  in the fall after the farmers harvested their crops.

I still have a chance at more mice soon.  The farmer still has feeder corn standing tall in his south side field. The cats will be happy…

Country mice and rats are slightly different than their city cousins. They are cleaner, and healthier looking. This is my opinion, from what I observed of the little rodents, from my perch on a chair, the couch or in the bathtub.

Just recently a rat took up residence near the outside dog kennel, which happens to be right outside my office window.

When Uriah wants to stay outside all day, I put a cup full of dry dog food outside with him. The rat will come running as if I were feeding him. Sitting upright, next to the dog bowl, looking eerily like a cartoon rat. If it starts talking I’m in trouble.

That rat’s days are numbered.  The hawk has been circling the deck and I have seen the owl during the day a lot this summer.

Just to clarify I don’t like mice or rats running around where I live! The comical run though the house with me heading for high ground is not fun. 

A couple of weeks ago, Kenshin came running out of the kitchen, inches behind a large mouse. I happened to be walking into the kitchen at the same time. I had a mouse and a cat running in circles around me, literally! 

Cats are great mousers. I am not!

Cats love to give me mice. I have learned how to be thankful when they drop them at my feet or on my chest when I’m sleeping…

Keeping with the Green theme, I don’t use poisons. Poison is very bad for other animals that feed on mice.

Besides, a mouse is the perfect cat food, And a cat is a pefect mouser.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:House_mouse.jpg