Saturday, December 5, 2015

Daily Doin's, First Week Of December, 2015

I start this on Tuesday, December 1. 
Continuing on with The Rat Patrol.  This morning I had one in the trap.  I couldn't reset the trap as the temperature was below 32º.  The grass that I walked on was white with frost and crunchy under my feet and the surface of the water in the "drown tank" was covered in a sheet of ice that I had to break in order to drown my furry, beady-eyed little victim.  But the other trap had not been disturbed and since the dew hadn't fallen yet, the trap was still dry and therefore not frozen open.  I moved it to behind the compost bins and shortly thereafter caught another rat. 

I had Hubs buy another package of spring-type mousetraps when he went to Lowe's to get a new gasket for the bottom of our garage doors.  He drilled a hole in each one and I fastened a thin plastic cord into the hole with a larkshead loop and knotted the two ends of the string together so I could easily loop the cord over and under a brick.  Drag THAT away, you little creepy critters.....   I still have not found the little spring trap I set last week.  No "dead rat" odor, either, so, somewhere, there may be a rat wearing a rather large piece of wooden jewelry.

I got two mice yesterday and have had two today.  The nice thing about these spring traps is that it kills the mouse by breaking it's neck (I guess) and so there's no drowning to do.  The bad thing about it is that I have to get a lot closer to a dead critter than I want to.  I've still had a couple instances of something eating the peanut butter off the trap without tripping it.  Since I have two set up, there's usually a victim in the one trap when the other trap has lost it's bait.  Not sure if that's the same rodent, having gotten confident and therefore careless, or if there is still one that got away.

We stopped at Bob and Gwen's on the way home from workout yesterday and had a nice visit.  We hadn't seen them since before The Fire.  They are further away from the path that the fire took but said they are inundated with rats, too, and have spent over $100 so far just on D-Con.  I gave them information on the trap we bought and showed them how to attach a cord to a spring trap so it can't be dragged off.  Spring traps for rats are 7" x 3.75".  I'm calling it a spring trap because they have a really tight spring that clips to the metal piece that holds the bait.  When the rats put pressure on the baited metal, it triggers the springs and the wire clamps down on the critter's neck, but I guess what it's really called is a "pedal trap".  The little ones (about 2" x 4") are the same kind of mousetrap that people have been buying and using for years.  The house we lived in when I was a kid was old and not very well made, so every winter we'd get at least one mouse in the house.  My mother would bait her traps with a little piece of bread, tied on with a piece of thread, and then smear butter on top of it.  You would sure want to keep these out of the reach of anything else.  Verrrrry dangerous with curious cats around.

Today I got my hair cut at the local Tech school.  The student is closely supervised when cutting the hair of real people.  Only once have I had a cut I didn't like from there.  I thought today's haircut was very well done and I'm happy with it.  Gosh, now that I look at this picture, it looks longer on one side than the other.  It's not, but I have a "cowlick" back there that's probably gone into play.

Glad to have that extra length off my neck.  I always shampoo my hair before I go in, it costs more if they have to do it.  I don't like how the person who washes hair always has such long fingernails.  I don't let them blow-dry or style it, either.  With the "Senior Citizen Discount", a cut used to only cost $4.50 that way.  This time it had gone up to $7.50.  There's a shop that advertises $12.00 haircuts and they'll cut men's hair for $7, they say, but so far the Tech school still has the best price.  I always cut Hubs' hair, and so he gets the best price EVER!  Or maybe not.  But really, I think I probably earn my keep.  Can you imagine all the money we've saved, over the years, by my being able to cut hair?  I always cut my kids' hair and then that of my grandsons.  JR always griped that he'd rather have a barbershop cut, because all his friends went to the barbershop, and so when he went back to live with his mom, she let him do that.  He has naturally curly hair and when he lets it grow, it just keeps getting bigger and rounder by the day.  I would often give him a hard time about that because with that big round head of hair and those big wide skateboard shoes and with his pants hanging about 8" lower than they were supposed to, he looked really awful.  But now, he's gone back to wearing his hair short like I always used to cut it.  And he wears pants that fit better because he works in a bank.  Praise God.  The first time I saw him at the bank satellite where he works, I told him, "Oh, you look so handsome..."  I see a lot of my dad's looks in JR, and I have a picture of Hubs when he was young that JR looks a lot like, too.  His brother JC looks like their dad.

I still have my Flowbee, and it's good for if I want an all-over layered cut, but the hair at the nape is always a problem.  What I need is a "buddy" living nearby, we could do each other's hair in the back.  I wouldn't trust Hubs to cut my hair any further than I could throw him.  Short hair is a problem for me.  The wind out here blows it around and I come inside looking like someone gave me a "Swirlie".  Wearing a scarf gets hot in the summer and the scarf slides down while I work, anyway.  It just works better for me to have it long enough that I can pull it back into a ponytail when I need to work outside.  Probably it would be perfect if I just shaved my head but then I guess I'd sunburn my scalp, wouldn't I?  LOL  I only seem to need to have someone cut my hair about once a year, so it's not a big deal.  I wonder what it costs to go to a Cosmetology class.  I just got a course schedule in the mail but it's "Community Education" and Cosmetology is not on it.  Sometimes I learn something I didn't already know just by watching what they do, and listening when the teacher explains to the student what to do.  If there's someone working the chair within eyesight, I watch what they do, too. 

I realize my Google photo needs to be replaced with a more current one.  The one that's there now was what I set up when I first started blogging, nearly 8 years ago.  I've really aged during that time.  Carole's been encouraging me to color my hair.  I think a nice Honey Blonde would be enough.  I don't want to go dark because it would look too stark.  I hardly have any eyebrows or eyelashes anymore.  Maybe I'll do it.  Maybe not. 

This is now Thursday, December 3.
Yesterday we went to the workout center.  I did two miles on the recumbent bike and walked half a mile around the track.  Used a few of the weight machines.  We stopped at Walgreen's on the way home and bought a gallon jug of milk, and then went to Atwood's and bought some of those 5" x 7" spring rat traps.  They were half the price of what I saw on Amazon.  You've gotta watch Amazon, sometimes they have better deals and sometimes they make up for when they gave you a better deal, if you know what I mean. 

I won't be able to drown rats much longer as the weather's getting colder and soon I'll have to empty my drown tub. 

If the water in the tub freezes all the way to the bottom, it can bust open the seam where the bottom attaches to the sides and then the tub will leak and not be good for anything except filling with soil and growing something in it. 

We stopped at Bob and Gwen's so I could ask Bob some questions.  Bob was an auto mechanic before he retired and he said the best way to keep rats from building nests in the engine of your vehicle is to scatter cayenne pepper around under the hood.  I wanted to see exactly how he did that, how much he used, and ask him if that would damage the vehicle in any way.  He lifted his hood and I could see the red pepper in small amounts in various places.  He said he had it in a shaker and he just sprinkled the pepper over the whole area.  Bob had bagged a deer and he kept the head because the deer had such strange antlers.  Short and going every which way, like a "Bedhead" hairdo, almost.  I kind of shivered at the thought of looking at the severed head of a deer and said, "Yuk", before we even got into the building where it was, and Bob turned and looked at me and said, "THIS shouldn't bother you, you're over there at your house killing rats every day...."  Those people you went to grade school with, they cut you NO slack.  Heh.

It was chilly but otherwise sunny and kind of a decent day, so I decided to move the compost to a spot out on the land where it would be easier for the birds of prey to pick off any rats that take refuge in it.  Plus it'll be out of the 30-yard distance that they're supposed to travel from their nests when foraging for food.  I don't know that I believe that, but oh, well.  I had a lot of trouble taking apart those weak tomato cages and fastening several together, so I had to get Hubs to do that.  I lugged out four cinder blocks in the wagon and we put them inside the wire circle, so they wouldn't be in the way when he had to mow, and he attached them with the pieces of wire we had been using to keep the fronts on the old wooden pallet compost bins.  That should keep the enclosure full of compost from rolling off our land and into Dane's driveway during the next high wind.  I hope.  We came in to rest and eat lunch, then I went back out and started wheel-barrowing the compost material from the old bins to the new one.  This is it about center of the picture, outside the garden fence.

The old bin structure has served us well.  But it harbors the rats, and therefore is too close to the house for comfort.  The insides are beginning to show rot and they've been chewed on by the rats, apparently.  For now, till we get them taken apart, they will serve to corral stacks of tomato cages that keep falling over, out into the walkway, and things still needing to be put away.  We left the fence posts in place where the fence had been between the garden and the house, as I was intending to put birdhouses on them, but I think the stacks of tomato cages could be dropped down over one and that would keep them upright. 

One bin was easily done and in pretty short order because the material in it hadn't started to break down yet.  But the material in the other bin was a little further along and harder to move.  I had to come in and rest several times.  The spirit is willing but the body is weak.  In the process, I ousted three little rats out of that last bin.  Sam took no notice of the first one, then saw the last two and chased them, but she's not much of a hunter anymore.  With so many people out here using various methods to kill rats, I'd rather she didn't, anyway.  Hubs thinks it's sweet that she wants to be wherever I am, but I just HATE how he will let her out when I'm trying to work outside.  That means I have to make sure I close the gate every time I go in or out, or she'll go out the gate and she KNOWS I won't leave her out there.  If I'm just out there for some casual reason, she's good about following me back inside the fence, but seems like she can tell the difference between that and the times that I'm actually trying to WORK, so THEN she ignores me when I call her and makes me CHASE her so I can pick her up and put her back in the yard.  SHEESH!!

At least I didn't have to come in and cook supper.  I'd made a Beer Pot Roast in the pressure cooker the day before and we had leftovers.  (simple recipe: one 12-oz can of beer, one pot roast, pressured for an hour.  If it's a tall roast, I usually will cut it into several pieces so the beer will cover it -- or almost -- and the meat will be very tender.  Add vegetables -- or not -- after the pressure's gone down and you can take off the lid, put them in the liquid and lift the roast so it sits on top, then put the lid back on and simmer till the veggies are done.)  What's left now is a small bowl of just potatoes, carrots, celery, onions and bits of beef in broth that I'll have for lunch today, and three chunks of meat that I think I'll shred with two forks and stir in some barbeque sauce for lunch-time sandwiches.  I'll probably freeze it in patties and then they will heat up in the microwave for a quick hot sandwich whenever we want one.  Hubs doesn't like to be "locked into" eating leftovers.   

Today was a nice sunny day.  I went to the garden and pulled up dead plants and vines.  The plants with vines or stems that were not very woody went out to the compost, and the woody stems, like zinnias, and stems of things that are in the nightshade family, which I think kind of poison the ground, went into the burn barrel.  I burned trash and the last of the brush this morning and there were still embers in the bottom of the barrel, so the garden stuff was burned up in pretty short order.  One of our people that saves their bagged leaves for us called and so Hubs went to pick them up while I did that. 

This morning I walked up to the trap that was behind the old compost bin and scared a rat off.  Dang it!  He went towards the three sheds in the back yard.  I noticed rat droppings all over the floor of the shed where I store my garden supplies, so I baited one of the big spring traps and set it up inside the shed.  With doors closed, birds and cats aren't going to get in there.  And Hubs knows where it is.  I've already caught one in there.  This morning I actually caught a small rat in one of the small spring mousetraps that's on the patio, but he was almost too big for it.  I looked in the other shed and what served as a chicken house when we had chickens, and there's been considerable chewing up of some stuff in the chicken house and some droppings in the shed where Hubs keeps gas and the push-mower.  So I baited and set two more of the bigger spring traps, and fastened their string around the wheels of something heavy.  I also saw movement out in the deer garden so I moved the newer Have-A-Heart cage-style trap out there.  There simply has GOT to be an end to this, at some point

This is now Saturday and I will try to publish today. 
Yesterday we went to the workout center and then stopped at Big Lots and bought a shaker of cayenne pepper for about a dollar.  I don't buy much at Big Lots, they are supposed to be liquidators of discontinued items, or things that are surplus, I'm not really sure how all that works.  That's supposed to make their stuff really cheap but that's not always the case.  When Aldi's took so long to get oatmeal back on their shelves, we bought a box at Big Lots and it cost more by quite a bit. 

Once back home, I did a couple of loads of laundry and then went out to help Hubs in the garden.  I had asked him to close up the "keyholes" I'd built into the raised bed on the far east side of the garden.  It's bordered with cinder blocks and lifting those heavy blocks really hurts my wrists.  We are going to have to start tilling the garden again.  That is the only effective way to knock back the Bermuda grass and the Bindweed enough to be able to grow anything.  Keyholes might be a good idea for some people, but they make it almost impossible to run the tiller through the bed and so not for those of us who cope with Bermuda and Bindweed on a daily basis.  I would rather do "no-till" gardening.  I don't like killing the earthworms in the tilling process.  But maybe by this time of year they have all gone deeper into the ground than the tiller reaches.

Hubs and I hit a few garage / estate sales this morning.  You would've been SOOOOOO proud of me.  This is all I bought:

The sweatshirt and matching sweatpants are different brands but the shade of navy blue is the same on both so I can wear them together if I want.  I do love the thought of angels hovering over our houses, don't you?  The other pair of sweatpants is charcoal gray.  I really needed these, and I said out loud that I was going to look for some as we started out.  You know how that works, right?  They were $1 each.  Hubs got a nice red plastic gas can and a Pouland gas-powered blower and a pair of pliers for $16.50 total.

We got back home in time to watch Martha Stewart making Mango Upside-Down Cake and then to catch Cook's Country, showing how to make Delta Tamales.  And seriously, they looked pretty easy.  I didn't write down anything because I thought I could go to the Cook's Country website and get it there.  Turns out I had to register for some kind of "trial membership" and what's THAT all about?  Now, here's the thing:  I really love tamales and this recipe looked like something I could do because 1) they used ground beef as the meat.  2) they used regular yellow cornmeal instead of masa, into which they mixed baking soda, dissolved in water, and a small amount of the cornmeal mixture, to keep it from cooking up crumbley inside the cornmeal jacket.  3) They put some of the spice mixture, that had been used to season the meat (which also turns out to be a pretty good recipe for making your own Mexican spice blend if you buy your spices in bulk, like I do, from Penzey's), into the water that they used to simmer the tamales in once they'd been tied into their little cornhusk bundles, and then they just thickened that same water (which by the time the simmering is done has also been flavored by the meat inside the tamales) with some cornstarch, and that made the "red sauce" that is always so good drizzled over a plate of tamales.  And so many other little tips and tricks.  If you love tamales and would like to make them yourself, I'd recommend you register on this site just to get these instructions.  After I registered they asked if I want a trial of their cooking school, and I declined that, but it still let me in to get the recipes.  You can bet I'm going to be printing off several recipes during my 15-day trial period.  I also signed up for their newsletter, I don't know what that'll have in it.  Try THIS link, see if you can watch their show without having to register.

Before I leave you for this time, I'd like to share with you some You-Tube videos under the title Adam Ruins Everything.  I saw an interview with Adam Conover on TV this morning.  He says all their research is documented and that it all started with engagement rings, the greatest marketing innovation of all.  LOL, you might watch that one that tells the real reason why so many male babies are circumcised.  Yikes, sure glad we females managed to dodge the bullet Mr. Kellogg had for us!

Well, my dears, it's time for me to check my traps.  The rat count is 107.  Mice: 9. 

Hugs xoxoxoxo


  1. The rat story you think it will ever end. I can't figure why so many rats in the area?

    You are getting more done than me. I do plan to clean up my zinnia and cosmos bed today. I never managed to save any seeds of of the zinnias. My condition seems to hit in the fall when the cleanup needs to begin. When that happens I am not much good for anything.

    I did the Cooks thing once and they drove me crazy so I vowed never again! I love how they say on the TV show that you can go to their website and get everything free.....they don't mention the 'registering' trial thing.

    Sound like the knee is doing much better.

  2. Happy new haircut Ilene - it looks good :-D I had mine cut last week but not as short as usual. It might be as long as yours is in a few weeks. Great idea on the colour but remember, if you colour your hair, it needs to be re-done as it grows - mine is currently red (not auburn, crimson!) but needs a salon re-do every 3 months and I just top up the fading at home in between visits. As you get older, your skin tone changes and I remember my MIL telling me that her hair was once dark - I have always known her as a blonde. She said it was a benefit of the aging process ;-) You might be able to stop your water tub freezing solid by floating a ball in it - that's what people with fishponds do, I believe. Do you think your rat problem will disappear once all the vegetation that was burned returns? I hope so. Pleased to hear that your knee is allowing you to do so much more now than in recent weeks and months.

    1. PS: Adrian says that Adam is spot-on with engagement rings being "invented" by DeBeers but disagreed on the "intrinsically worthless" points ;-) I didn't know that the Oppenheimer family had made up the idea but I'm rather pleased that they did...

    2. P.S. I forgot to compliment your haircut! Looks great. I keep mine much shorter. I considered coloring a few years back but she told me it was something requiring considerable care, I decided against it! I don't like going to the beauty shop even though I have been going to this one lady for years now.

  3. Good grief! You've had enough RATS to get rid of. Sheesh!

    It's nice to see an updated photo of you. I'll add it to my Ilene folder. I have a cowlick in my bangs. :-) I used to color my hair, but quit because I didn't like the feel of the chemicals cooking on my head, and I got tired of having to do it at least once a month.

    Glad your knee is doing much better.

    Happy Christmas holidays ~ FlowerLady


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