RDP Thursday

I had a disturbing and rather depressing (brief) conversation with the exterminator a couple of days ago. He happily reported that we had killed (poisoned … yes … we poisoned them because we tried all the nice ways of getting them to move on and they came right back) as well as the big carpenter ants. It doesn’t mean we won’t get more mice or more ants because we live in the woods. It’s a package deal. You get to live in Hobbiton, but you also get the critters who live in the woods.

I mumbled about living in a more civilized location and he pointed out that I’d just be exchanging ants for cockroaches and mice for rats, which didn’t sound like all that great either.

MY kind of mouse

I remember when we lived on Beacon Hill — yes, snobby little Beacon Hill — and we had the worst, biggest, healthiest cockroaches you have ever seen. They came with the 300 years old house and I swear they had been living there for all 300 years, too. We had all our things gassed in the moving truck so we wouldn’t take them with us to the new house.

We got two healthy young cockroaches in the donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts, so we killed the roaches and stopped buying donuts. I think we totally lost all taste for donuts at that point.

We had plenty of ants when we lived in Boston, but no rats or mice. Ants are ubiquitous: no matter where you live, the ants will find you. On the other hand, we also had cats and I suspect they took care of the other problem.

When we moved out of Boston into the country, we merely exchanged critter for other critters.  Our conversation, the exterminator and me, moved on from what kind of critters were going to take up residence in our house to how likely we were to get into a nuclear war. He was an unenthusiastic Trump guy and to my amazement, we had a relatively civilized conversation. He wasn’t trying to convert me and I wasn’t trying to convince him. He pointed out that in such an event, ONLY the cockroaches would survive.

You can’t kill roaches.

When Garry worked at Channel 7, they suffered from rats. Big, mean hairy rats from the docks. The station was pretty close to the water. The rats used to walk calmly up the marble steps, slide under the door and ramble on into the station. It was a bit breath-taking. They weren’t afraid of any of the people watching them stroll up the steps, all our mouths literally hanging open.

Garry knew about the rats, but he said the two-legged ones were really worse than the four-legged ones and sometimes, he had trouble telling the difference.

In the spring, I’ll have to sign up again with the exterminators. It is one of the unavoidable things about living in the country. If you ignore the critters, they multiply and eventually, you realize that you are but one, while they are many. Rich or poor, if you live in the country, things that live out in the wild will want to share your warm and cozy home.

Pick your exterminator with care and remember, you cannot rehome mice. They always come back.


Even MORE Christmas Cactus -FOTD – 12/6/18

Nothing else is blooming at the moment and we don’t live in a warm place where flowers seem to grow all year round. So other than naked trees, there aren’t a lot of flowers to show. So we are all stuck with the Christmas Cactus.

One of the new flowers
New blossom – an impression


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Small Bird Close-Ups

These close-ups pictures of birds at our feeder would be a lot closer if they would hang around while I’m outside with the camera rather than shooting them through a narrow sliver — and very off-center — spot in the kitchen. It’s a good camera for this purpose. The Panasonic Lumix FZ-1000 has a long (25 to 450 mm) Leica f2.8 lens on it and enough bells and whistles to do a lot of things I have yet to figure out.

The learning process on this particular camera is the most complicated yet and I’m embarrassed to admit that often its “i-auto” setting does a better job at capturing complicated lighting than I can manage manually. It automatically compensates for backlighting, haze, will block a screen and find a pretty clean background — something no other camera has done as well. But, I don’t always want to compensate. Sometimes I want the backlighting and I want the screen.

I do a lot of switching around through its many settings. It has a brilliant black-and-white as well as several other monochrome settings. Actually, it’s got settings that even when I read their so-called manual, I’m still not sure what they are supposed to do and whether if I try to use them, they will make other settings inoperable.

This is a big camera, too, as big and heavy as a full-size DSLR, but most of the weight is its huge lens. Because the one lens can do pretty much anything, it winds up my default camera, even though my Olympus gets superior color and a finer finish.

I suppose if you have enough money, you can get the perfect camera, but lenses are more expensive than the cameras with which they work … and I’m out of funds.

So back to the close-ups of birds. They are as good as they can get shooting through a not really CLEAN window (we cleaned the inside, but no one has figured out how to get the outside clean … we’re working on that). Shooting through glass always leaves a bit of fuzziness anyway, and a not-so-clean window with reflections …

Still, these came out pretty well. If they ever let me come back there to shoot, they will be much better. These days, though, if I make noise IN the kitchen, they fly away. And there’s always some loud barking dog hanging around. And when the squirrels get busy, the dogs go completely berserk!


Fandango’s Provocative Question #4

Knowing and Not Knowing

Is it better to know or not? Well … don’t you think that it’s a matter of what you are talking about?

If the question is “what am I getting for my birthday, I probably shouldn’t know, though usually if I do know I can at least get it in the right size. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure it won’t fit. My beloved husband is sure I’m at least three sizes smaller than I really am. I appreciate the thought, but that sweater is NOT going to fit!

On the other hand, I really want to know if my chimney is about to fall down. I want to know if strange animals are taking up residence in my attic or basement. Because I have to fix those things. Not knowing will ultimately make the problem worse.

I learned several things over the past few days.

We do not have any more mice. They are all dead and gone. We have to keep after them because we have a warm cozy house in the middle of a cold woods, but for the nonce, no mice. Phew.

The ants are gone too. So are the stink bugs and those puffy weird many-legged things.

Duke the dog is the healthiest living dog on the planet and he needs to be walked, even though he runs like the wind most of the time. That’s definitely a Garry job and this is an unfortunate time to try to deal with it. It is getting very cold, very fast. It will be snowy before the weekend. We have no sidewalks, no lights, and no safe place to walk without driving into town to a park … and once it snows, they don’t clear the pathways. This may have to wait until spring.

Unless winter decides to not come at all and suddenly, it’s summer again. Which I would usually say couldn’t happen, but lately, who knows?

There are no seasons, there are no patterns. There’s just strange weather and more rain than we’ve had ever in recorded weather history, about 150 years.

Portrait of the beast

So the dog, having been to the vet, is healthy, very smart, and has a lot of Lhasa Apso and Boston Terrier in there … plus something else. All Asian dog DNA. Except for Tinker the Thinker, the Duke is probably our smartest ever dog.

We have to get him something called a martingale which is a low-level choke collar. Can’t put a gentle leader on him for two amusing reasons. First, his snout is too short. All that Asian dog flat-faced DNA … and because the vet says he’d figure out how to remove it in about 5 seconds. Maybe less.

Smart dog.

“Hey,” she said, “I rescued a whack dog too. He’d been returned to the shelter twice. If I didn’t take him, no one would. So he’s crazy, wild, and mine.”

I suggested maybe more Prozac.

“For you?” she suggested. I nodded. I don’t think anything will calm him down, but if I get calm enough, it won’t matter.

Despite my continuing attempts to make my life easier, I seem to be making it more complicated. Maybe “simple” isn’t for me. Maybe I need to be busy and mentally involved.

Each time I think I know who and what I am, I discover whatever I knew was yesterday’s information. By the time I know something, I’m already well on my way to becoming someone else. I am always becoming someone else. There’s no end to it and maybe that’s as it should be, at least for me.

To know or not to know?

I doubt there is a sensible answer to that. I need to know what I need to know. How can I know whether or not I need to know something — anything — until I already have enough data on which to make a reasoned choice?


A New Square for Becky B

Our stone frog sits on a sundial. He has been sitting there for 18 years and looks a little worse for wear. But he’s a stony fellow, so he’ll survive!