PEST PEEVES: ABOUT THOSE MOUSES … Marilyn Armstrong

PEST PEEVES? WE HAVE PLENTY!

We started out humanely. Traps to take them out to the woods without hurting them.

They strolled back inside as soon as they were let go. It was obvious our kindness was not reciprocated.

We gave up nice and put out real traps. We knocked off a few dozen mice, but enough survived (they only need to have two) to proliferate. They set up housekeeping in the walls and under floors. By the time we were inspected this year, there were hundreds of them hiding. Everywhere.

So much for Mr. and Mrs. Nice Guy. It was time for open warfare.

Unfortunately, Bonnie and Gibbs lack Divot’s devotion to vermin killing.

We declared war. We eliminated them in the attic and on the floor where we live, but they still have found hiding places in the basement. We may never be entirely free of them, but at least we can keep the numbers down. They make an awful mess of the house if you let them.

2005 – Divot

We have not won the war, but we never stop fighting. The weapons are out, the battle-lines drawn. They have us on sheer number, but we have better weaponry. They are losing, but they will never entirely lose because a mouse can sneak in through an amazingly small space.

Back when we had Divot, our first Norwich Terrier, she used to kill the mice by the dozens and pile them up by the foot of my desk. She thoroughly enjoyed the hunt and the kill. I’m pretty sure I didn’t fully appreciate her efforts. Oh Divot, we could use you these days. I hope you are happily hunting in the hills over the bridge.

RESURRECTED BY FIREWORKS? – Marilyn Armstrong

RESURRECTION VIA FIREWORKS – SOMETHING TO DO WHEN THE WEATHER IS HOT AND IT’S JULY 4th


I know. Another barbecue. Hamburgers. Incinerated hot dogs. Even the salad looks a little wilted. What’s left to do on this withering hot day?

Last year, I decided to have a murder mystery. We made everyone pretend to be dead. I took pictures I wrote a story of murder and detection and in the end, I think the stone frog did it. Watch out for those stoned frogs. They may start with pot, but after that, anything goes.

Maybe that was the year before last? The years keep slipping by.

Maybe this year, someone will bring illegal fireworks from New Hampshire and we can blow someone up then attempt a resurrection using beer and hot dogs with a side of potato salad? If I were making the salad, I’d resent that, but all I’m doing is bringing fresh corn. No matter how inept you are at the whole cooking thing, you can’t ruin a good ear of local corn. At least, I don’t think you can.

Just in case you are wondering what the holiday is about, here it is — the U.S. Constitution in its original (ish) glory

It’s still awfully hot around here. My daily version of canned weather told me it’s going to continue to be tinder dry (I guess they miss the hour of pouring rain last night) and hot. It’s 90 degrees, but it feels like 92.

Really? I’m not sure I’m sensitive enough to ascertain the difference. I think anything over 90 we just call “hot.” The real question is “How muggy is it?”

Counting on resurrection!

I’m hoping for a reduction in the soupy quality of the air. I hope the rain helped a little. Meanwhile, I’m bringing my camera. Maybe I can get everyone to play dead for me. Then I can blow things up to achieve resurrection. Or a few heart attacks and lost thumbs.

Stay tuned. Film at 11. Or 12. If there’s any blood and/or gore, I’ll call it breaking news and put it out there earlier!

FOOD QUESTIONS – THANKS TO WHOEVER IT WAS I COPIED THE QUESTIONS FROM – Marilyn Armstrong

The QUESTIONS:

1. Do you enjoy food from countries that are not your own?

Absolutely. Most American food is boring. It is particularly boring locally. I have learned to cook Chinese, some West Indies dishes. Italian. Some Creole and French cuisine.

We both love Japanese food, but it’s expensive and most of the other food you can buy locally is awful. It’s not only not worth the money, it isn’t worth leaving home and going somewhere to eat it.

2. When you prepare a salad for yourself, do you rip your greens (lettuce, spinach, etc), or do you cut them?

It depends on how I feel at the moment. I’ve done both. But I do like the pieces small and tearing them seems to make them bigger than I find convenient.

3. There’s a saying that goes: “Life is short, eat dessert first.”  What do you think of that advice?

I think you are going to get fat that way.

4. Have you ever thrown spaghetti against the wall to test for doneness? — If it sticks, it’s done (so they say) — What other such kitchen habits might you have?

Yes. It turns out, it’s not the best way to test for the doneness of spaghetti, but it’s more fun than burning your fingers and getting a piece into your mouth to taste. Best way?

Time it. How long it should take is printed on the back of the bag or box. I like it NOT al dente, so I add a minute. Timers are great!

When it goes “ding,” it’s done. Remarkably, it works. No spaghetti stuck to the wall, no burned fingers or tongue. And the spaghetti or pasta is exactly the way you like it all the time.

5. How often do you eat fish?

At least two or three times a week. It depends on what is available at what price. It has been getting more and more expensive and if we keep polluting our oceans, fish may become a real delicacy.

6. When purchasing food for yourself, do you check the nutritional label? If so, what are you checking for?

No, because I buy raw food. I don’t buy almost any packaged food except for bread and pasta.

7. How often do you eat salad as a meal?

Almost never. I have it on the side, but too much roughage makes me sick.

8. Do you have any food quirks? For example: do you arrange a particular food in a certain way before eating? Or eat certain foods in a particular way every time? (i.e.: bite the heads off of gummy bears).

I don’t like anchovies, olives, or okra. I’m not overly fond of chocolate. I like vanilla and I like dessert sometimes. But I don’t need it and I don’t feel deprived if there’s no dessert.

9. When boiling water for pasta or whatnot, what are your “tricks” for keeping the water from boiling over?

Umm … don’t fill it up so high that it boils over?

10. Are there any recipes that have been passed down through the generations in your family? Have you passed them to anyone outside of your family? or are they a closely guarded secret?

No. My mother was an awful cook. Her best legacy was making it easier to learn to cook than eat her cooking. I bet that was the idea, too. She didn’t like cooking and by the time we were 10 or 11, we could all make our own meals. Anything but mom’s cooking.

11. In general, how do you feel about “diet” foods? Meaning: foods with artificial sweeteners or alternative fats in them. For example diet soda or low-fat muffins.

I use Splenda in my coffee. Otherwise, I don’t use any artificial sweeteners. It doesn’t help you keep thin. I have been my fattest when I was eating the most “diet food.” That stuff is evil.

12. Have you purchased food online? What do you think about that idea?

I buy spices online because I can buy large packages and it saves a ton of money. I also get better quality. Sometimes I buy fancy jams or marmalade from England, but that’s a special treat.

 

I also buy dog biscuits and dog food online because some of it isn’t available any other way. I can get larger quantities for less money — AND they deliver. I love delivery.

13. When cooking for you and yours, what kinds of experiments have you tried?

I try different kinds of spices, but I’m pretty good about knowing what goes with what, so it’s not much of an experiment. More like deciding how I want it to taste.

14. Do you now, or have you ever, grown or raised any of the food you eat?

No.

15. Are you a vegetarian? If not, has the idea of becoming one ever crossed your mind?

I’ve thought about it, but haven’t done it. I probably never will, though we eat a lot less meat than we did.

16. When arranging the food on your plate, does everything have to be separated, or is it okay for your food to touch?

My pasta bowls

I don’t mind if food touches other food, but I hate mixing it all together. If I wanted it to taste like a stew, I would have cooked it that way.

17. When eating out, what foods on the menu might push you out of your comfort zone? (For example, pineapple on pizza makes some people twitch).

I just ate pineapple on a pizza. It was a first. It was okay. It’s not really my idea of pizza, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Just skip the olives, okra, or anchovies.

18. Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, what kinds of foods generally satisfy the craving?

I love dried fruit. And fresh fruit mixed with yogurt.

19. What foods (if any) do you like to mix that other people might find strange?

Nothing really. I like some things other people might not like, but that doesn’t make them strange. We all have specific taste and not liking — or liking — something different isn’t odd or strange. Unique maybe.

20. When eating out, at what kind of restaurant do you prefer to dine?

Sushi.

21. In general, how do you feel about organic food?

Nice when affordable. All our locally grown food is organic. It’s a valley “thing.” I think it’s because the water table is very high and everyone has a well. Fertilizer and insecticide are bad for well, river, and all water. I suspect that we are organic because we don’t want to poison our water.

22. What foods (if any) do you eat when you are happy or unhappy?

I sometimes forget to eat if I’m really happy. But I don’t eat for soul satisfaction anymore. My eating habits have changed a huge amount over the years. If you’d asked me these same question 10 or 15 years ago, you’d have gotten entirely different answers.

SHARING MY WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – July 2, 2018

Tell us about your first bicycle or car?

My first bicycle was much more interesting than my car. It was a Dutch racing bike. I don’t know where my father got it, but it was nothing like any of the other bicycles my friends had.

Looked a lot like this, but no handbrakes

They had standard Schwinn-type fat wheeled bicycles. Mine was a true racing bike except it had a single gear — high. And, oddly, coaster brakes. It was a titanium frame, so it weighed almost nothing. I really loved that bike.

I was only 10 when I got it and it had a 22-inch frame, so it was five years until I could sit on the seat and peddle at the same time. It got old and eventually, the frame was so twisted I couldn’t ride it anymore. I never found another bike like it.

It was black and it was called a “Tiger” racer. Every other racing bike I’ve seen had gears and handbrakes. Except for mine. I’ve actually tried to find information about it online but never found anything. If by some chance you know anything about mid-1950s European racing bikes, I’d love to hear about them.

What fictional world or place would you like to visit?

Neverland

Neverland. I want to fly there, too.

Flying to Neverland

If you could have someone follow you around all the time, like a personal assistant, what would you have them do?

I can’t imagine wanting someone following me around, not even fictionally. That would totally creep me out. I wouldn’t mind some help at home, taking care of cleaning and even cooking. But everywhere?

I don’t think so.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

Just when I thought we were in this dry hot spell for a few more days, I heard thunder and literally, out of the blue, it started to pour.

Suddenly, it rained

The garden is happy and I could feel the air cool down. I don’t know if the hot spell is completely over, but we sure did need that rain!

PILES AND STACKS OF BOOKS AND CHAIRS AND LOGS – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Piles or Stack

Woodpile at the sawmill. Soon to be your new flooring

It’s so hot here that a lot of the area has no power. Brownouts. They warned us about them. We’re okay, but down the road, there’s no power.

A pile of chairs with snow …

It’s all the air conditioners that are sucking the electricity to nothing. It is so very hot and humid, too, so it feels even hotter than it is. Rain may come on Thursday. The plants would appreciate some water.

Gretchen Archer’s books

We don’t water the flowers. Our well is okay, but we can’t waste water on the flowers. They will have to make it on their own. Anyway, it rained last week several times, so under the dry topsoil, it’s still damp.

Even in the middle of summer, we know winter will come

The dogs have decided to stay inside. All day. They will go out now that the sun is setting, but all day, they have been on the sofa.

But wait! I hear thunder. Wait for it … Yes. It’s raining!