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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Battle Wages On

Damn mice. The good thing is, we believe we found where the little boogers are coming into the house from, and we've stymied the flow, but the garage... The Garage! The other day I came home in the dark and upon opening the door I saw a couple scamper away. So, I bought some more traps and laid them out Saturday night. That morning, both traps were full. So, I baited and reset them yesterday and as expected, the daylight hours left them empty. So, I made the plan to check in on them before bed.

About 9, I went out and found them both tripped with little furry corpses caught in them. I rest and went back into keep knitting on my socks before checking one more time an hour later before bed. You guessed it, full again. So I emptied, reset and went to bed and before falling asleep I though I heard the death knell for another mouse. Early this morning after the boys were fed and since I was awake, I wondered back out and found them both full. Since it was a couple hours until dawn, I reset them and tried to get some more sleep. Sleep eluded me, but two more mice did not. That's right. 8 mice, in less than 24 hours. So, the traps are set and ready to go for another night, I plan on getting a few more traps and catch them in the garage before they make their way into the house. The Guy found a spot in the garage that has some sunflower seeds stashed which concerns me that we have a bigger resident than a mouse so I'm going to pick up a bit larger trap in case we have a squirrel or chipmunk also nesting in there.

In case you are in need, the Victor Power Kill traps seem to be a great choice. All but one of their catches thus far seem to be instant. That's a must for me. I don't mind killing mice, but having them starve or panic and suffer heart failure on a glue trap just doesn't sit well with me. And poison, though not as bad as a glue traps seems nasty, and there's that issue of having other animals possibly accidentally poisoned that worries me.

Enough of that. Lets talk pictures. I finally figured out one of the reasons I seem to be having a hard time blogging, besides being busy with the house and other projects. The lack of a camera. The only pictures I have had lately have been off my phone and I don't take as many with it as with a camera due to it just not being the best photo option, though it's better than the crap little camera I bought. However; this last week, I have snapped a few. A few so much that I had to decide which ones I would include. And that was a trial because with the fall colors here, it's hard to take a bad one! Just look at that tree in our back yard! It was so beautiful that it even lit up our bathroom onothe second floor with its reflected glory.

But, as it's fall, we've had our autumn work cut out for us. Last weekend I cropped the garden and ran the burn pit as the floor installers worked. I held onto my flannel I was wearing as I burned just for the smell. One of the best parts of camping is the infusion of wood smoke to the wardrobe. At least I always felt so.

While I was working on the garden I found many a multi-legged friends. And some with no legs at all. Mostly slugs and snails on that count, but did startle up the rat snake who quickly retreat across the grass to the edge of the yard.

This was one of the biggest grasshoppers I have seen. Since it was a cool day, like the snake it was a bit sluggish.

We also have more and more of the fuzzy caterpillars. And not just the monarchs.

This one was my favorite. Makes me think of the tufted rock hopper penguins. And do you see the other little visitors in that picture? The red ones with black spots that everyone swears when I speak of them, are the invasive Japanese Beetles? Which, by the way, they are not. To see what a Japanese beetle is, see here. These are another species that we brought over from the far east, as they are an Asian Lady Beetle. They just like our native lady beetles, they consume aphids and other garden and plant pests so can be beneficial. As long as they aren't congregating in huge numbers trying to find places to winter over they aren't that different in appearance. Congregating you ask? Oh yes...

Sorry, its a bit of a crap video from the phone, but you get the idea. All the things you see go by in the  air are them too. Thousands, and all sides of the house. The little beasts get under the window screens and around doors to boot. They stalin the walls and floors and as they die in the cold evenings in huge numbers, there's a smell to them. I'm looking forward to a really good freeze so they dissipate a bit as I'm tired of no less than five of them coming in with us or the dogs every time a door opens.

It's just a reminder that all seasons have their time and reason.

The boys have been enjoying the park we've found nearby. The trails are light on traffic and they get to run and blow off some steam as you see here as they run up and down the trail just because they can.

It's nice to have another spot to walk them that isn't over run with rabbits as they caught one in the yard the other day and now have rabbit fever as bad as squirrel fever. Little buggers. We never saw or heard it happen, The Guy happened to find it as he was investigating what had their attention. Looks like it tried to go back out around the gate it got into the back yard through, but wasn't fast enough.

Every once in awhile, dogs have to remind us that they are domestic descendants of one of the most successful predator species on the planet.

The other benefit of the park is a great place to just enjoy the woods and the color of the season. I couldn't resist snapping this one as the afternoon light illuminated some of the leaves. And these next ones are just for you Betsy.

I found many these tiny delicate mushrooms in the garden.

And these heftier ones at the park.

And then there's these.

That's right, all that white and tan is a collection shelves and shingles of a fungi colony that I knew you would appreciate a closer peek of Betsy. For those who don't flow Betsy's blog, she's a mushroom fan. Take a peek, she's good with a camera.

For all those who have sent me messages and what not regarding Wyoming's decision to legalize a more equal opportunity to marriage (why call it gay marriage? If it's equal in rights shouldn't it just all be called marriage?), of course I'm happy for it. It's a wonderful step forward for a fairly conservative republican state. However, as many of you know, I tend to stay away from politics and religion here on my blog. This is a choice I as the writer of this blog because this is a spot to just keep people up to date on my life, not my political views. I am not someone who considers themselves politically active. I'm interested in it, I try to make informed voting decisions, but we live in a nation where it's a private ballot. I agree with the fact that it should be a private ballot and don't think that everyone who knows me should know what decisions I make on said ballot. Therefore I make the choice to not discuss that here. I leave the political shouting, rejoicing, and heckling to those who feel that they are somehow an expert on the facts and that their voice should be out there because somehow their decisions and thoughts weigh more than the rest of ours and we should weigh them with our own at the ballot.

Look at that Bobotie. How's that for a subject change? Just roll with it. What's Bobotie? It's a delicious south african curry dish.

Chop a large onion and garlic to taste and cook in a large casserole dish until translucent. Add 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder and a teaspoon turmeric admix in. Cook just long enough that the fragrance blooms. Remove from heat, mix in 2 pounds ground meat (I used a half and half of lamb and ground sirloin, but you can use whatever. The robust spicing of the curry compliments the fast of lamb or wild meats. I've used elk in this dish before to great success) Add in a quarter cup chopped almonds, half cup bread crumbs, the grated rind and juice of one lemon, 1/3 cup chopped apricots, 1/4 cup golden raisins, one large green apple peeled, cored and chopped, 4 bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. and optional crushed red pepper for a bit of spice. With it all mixed well press down evenly in the dish, cover and bake at 350 degrees for an hour and 15 to an hour and 30 minutes to assure the meat is cooked though well.

Take out of the oven and drain off any excess grease. Increase oven heat to 400 degrees. Beat 4 eggs with a cup of milk and a dash of chili powder and top off the dish with the mixture. Return to the oven uncovered. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the egg topping is baked firm and browning. You can throw some cheese one it if you want, but it's not necessary.

Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy! Tucker says to have a good day too... He's like that, always needs the last word. I better go and sweep up all those dead beetles, again.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Putting it all back together

Since we didn't move to Honolulu (I think I recall there being a Hawaii position open when The Guy was given the list), and we weren't in the path of Hurricane Ana, what are we putting it back together from?

Remember these floors?

Pretty huh?

Though not attractive to look at or even walk on barefoot, the subfloors smelled so much better than the dog urine soaked carpets that were in the house when we moved in. As the summer heated up, the stench got worse until we had to yank them. It may have been our imaginations, but it seemed the upstairs hallways sub floor was even still damp beneath the carpets.

So, we sprayed them down with Lysol to kill germs, and Natures Miracle to help kill the odor and let them be. Until this last week...

Now, isn't that a bit prettier? Ignore the trim in our bedroom, it still needs painted.

I have to say, it was worth waiting, and stressing out the dogs as we shuffled things from upstairs to other places and made them wonder if we were moving again. Sullivan has his bed back!

And someday I may even get to use the loom in the loom room. Someday...

And there's new doors too! We're slowly classing up this joint I tell ya...

Okay, I need to go scrub the tile floors before going to work for a bit. Have a good day everyone.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

More things to love about fall.


I actually know nothing really about chestnuts just that they look neat and are such a deep beautiful brown... yeah I know, that's what one calls a shade of chestnut. But it's pretty dang it.

I saw this tree the other day on my way home from work and wanted to snap a shot of it today. It was with my camera so it's not the best of shots, but still, you get the idea. Defintely corn harvesting time. I am glad I snapped that shot of the maple last week because I noticed today that it's vibrancy is definitely on the fade now.

And for some, fall might mean the return of football and drinking buddies! These guys have actually hit the road but I recalled that I had some pictures off The Guys camera I wanted to share that i snapped a few weeks ago.

Today was the first day of inventory and I'm beat... My legs are tired of the up and down, we'll see how this task continues. The great news is that this next week we have new floors going in upstairs. Yay! No more walking around on grubby subfloor. Pictures soon, I promise.

I loved seeing that I somehow caught these guys having a little jousting match and didn't even know it. These buggers are just so fast!

Last one of the hummers before the monarchs.

Still seeing a couple of these now and then pass through. Probably done now since we had a good frost now the last two nights. I'm appreciating the cooler weather and having to grab a flannel or sweatshirt for the evening walks with the kids.

We found another little park like the Provin trails down this way that I need to snag some photos of. This is a more natural forest with some thinning that has been done, but not planted in rows like the Provin trail park was.

I tried to capture a couple flying, but was not so successful.

Well, off to goof off with the kids and relax for a bit before bed. One of these days I'm going to have a whole day off! Oh wait, we'll be installing floor on those days... Dang it!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

She's here...

Who's here you ask? Autumn. She's the fun frolicky cousin to that cold bitch Winter.

In case I couldn't tell by this stuff I keep finding more and more of on our walks, this is a reminder every day I drive to Ada.

Bam! Can't miss a clue like that, and I love driving by it almost daily just to see the changes from day to day. How can you not appreciate a tree like that? the other morning on my way to work I pulled over and snapped this photo because the early morning light with it's long rays from the horizon just made it so vibrant.

In fact, everything was made beautiful by the light. You know mornings like that. The ones that with the crisp air, and golden light, just make you glad to be awake and alive. Even when you're half asleep like I was feeling.

If you can't tell by my absence, I've been a bit busy as of late. I picked up a second job, and between running to and from work, getting home and cooking for us, or feeding and walking the dog, it feels I have very little down time. Tonight though, I stepped away from the spinning wheel to write a blog post.

I decided, I had some back log of two weeks at least of photos that I needed to get up here. And to just let everyone know things are good, just hectic. they'll calm down next month I hope. There's always hope, no?

We've had little warning signs that fall was quickly approaching. Like this big Katydid we found on the back porch. It would have covered most of the palm of my hand. These guys are late summer layers, and a harbinger to end of the heat as they mate and lay eggs.

And then there's the green frogs. Big guys, almost as big as Bull frogs. I saw hime sitting on this drainage grate singing while walking the boys on one of our last warmer days. I still see the wood frogs in the backyard now but even the frogs are quieting down for the winter as the nights get cooler.

And boy do we have the wooly caterpillars. I don't know what the white ones are but we have the black and red monarch caterpillars around quite a bit. In fact I have some pictures of the monarchs from a couple weeks ago that I need to get off The Guys new camera. I was out back and kept seeing more and more butterflies pass through near sundown so I finally went and got the camera and tried to snap a few. I think I got a few photos. I'll check it out and get back to you. Maybe if I say such things it will make me get back on here sooner. I've been so bad I've barely even logged on to my desktop computer. Sheeesh.

On one of our rainy days I took the boys back to Roselle pork that we haven't been to much throughout the summer since moving south of it, and spotted many a snail and worm, as well as a few late leopard frogs.

I think one of the things I love most about cooler autumnal weather, is that the house is cool enough to do more cooking. I've been cooking up soups, baking up zucchini muffins, and pumpkin bread after processing fresh ingredients. Delicious! Of course, that might be where some of my other time has gone. As for why there is binoculars in the kitchen is so that The guy can watch his bird feeders out the back window. We've noticed the grosbeaks absence and fewer and fewer finch's, but more nuthatches and woodpeckers coming to the yard as well as a blue jay or two. The ever present cardinals and the chickadees have started to show up as well. We even went so far as to put up suet the other day though it doesn't appear that it has been touched yet.

The hummingbird feeders have been cleaned and put away for the season, which is always a little sad, but fresh roasted pumpkin seeds make me feel better about it...

Despite it being fall, this little Lilly of some kind or another bloomed in our garden this last week. They are tiny little buds, and to be honest, we had forgotten about them kind of since they hadn't bloomed thus far. But we have delicate little blossoms in our garden for the fall, and I've noticed a great many other flowers, mostly of wild daisy varieties also starting their blooming as the trees begin to drop their foliage. I'm finding new things to love about this area every day. Speaking of, who saw that lunar eclipse Tuesday morning? It was gorgeous! I had to have something to make up for having the dogs out before the sun came up. If not there's a neat video of a lunar eclipse here, or a picture of Tuesday's here.

As for spinning or playing with fiber, I'm creeping through a couple projectors at a snails pace. The best one is that tiny little stuff I'm spinning. I have 5 of 6 bobbins done. Maybe I'll get a chance to finish it up before Halloween.

I hope you all have a wonderful night.