The Mouse Hotel & Playground Solution

Mouse Cage

Living in a barn, it’s nearly impossible to keep the critters out. Most people are used to spiders getting in, maybe the odd mouse or bat. One year, we had a small family of pine martens take up residence. Now that they’ve moved on, it seems that every few months a deer mouse or two wanders in and starts exploring, nesting, and hunting for food. They’re like little refugees, searching for a safe home of their own. This wouldn’t be a huge problem if they weren’t also so destructive, noisy, and unhygienic. Mice can be carriers of the deadly hantavirus and can pass it to humans through contact with saliva, urine, or feces. I’m all for sharing my food and warmth, but not at the risk of anyone getting sick. Getting these guys out of the barn is an issue of safety and health. But I’m not gonna kill ‘em. … Continue reading…

It’s All Good (Even When It’s Rotten)

Moose in deep snow.

It’s February. The sun is out. Dressed in shorts and sandals, children are playing in the park under the watchful gaze of parents who sun themselves on chaise lounges or towels placed on the grass. Bicyclists ring their bells as they pass walkers on the trail. An ice cream vendor hawks his delicious confections nearby. This is how I imagine it anyway, this February so far away. It’s all about perspective, you see, for this might be the picture in Sydney, Australia, but here, in the northern hemisphere, we’re up to our eyeballs in snow and ice. Our landscape is two colors: blackish-green and white. So much white. We wake up in the morning dreading the commute to work, the new snow to plow, and the extra ten minutes it takes to suit up in fifteen layers to go outside. Ah, wouldn’t it be lovely to just slip on some … Continue reading…

Idaho: A Country Mouse Explains Why

  Wouldn’t the world be kinda dull if we all prized the same things? Well, for starters we’d probably die off as a species but, before that, I imagine we’d all be bored out of our minds. Say we all wanted to live in the city, so we made the world a massive metropolis and the only green space to be found was manicured by city park officials. Or, we all drove the same car, believed the same politics, had the same religious beliefs, and watched the same television shows. Nobody baked oatmeal cookies because everybody wanted chocolate chip and that’s what we all ate, every darned day. Pthpthew (that’s me trying to spit this particular image out of my mind like it’s a bad peanut). I don’t know about you, but I think “boring” is an understatement. As cliche as it is to say, variety actually is the spice of life. So, when it … Continue reading…

Reuniting K9: A Happy Story

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving home, really looking forward to a nice, relaxing evening. As I puttered along the county road, I went around a curve and saw a small black lab standing smack-dab in the middle of the pavement. Cars were coming from the other direction, swerving around him, and he just kinda stood there like he was thinking, “Cars are neato!!”  He wore no collar and I could tell immediately that he wasn’t your typical country dog. He just looked a little too much like he was absolutely drunk on freedom. I pulled over and rolled down my window. Bounding up to my car, he jumped up to say hello. Wiggling and delighted to meet me (which is awesome for my self-esteem, by the way), he was one of the friendliest dogs I have ever met, an absolute love. Well, I couldn’t just leave him in … Continue reading…

July: Beauty With a Side of Ouch

Here it is, the last day of July, 2016.  How was your month? Let me catch you up on how mine went down. First, I lost my crown. Figuratively, of course. While trying to gnaw off a small bite from a Zero bar, my four-year-old dental crown popped off. Fortunately, I caught it. Then I painstakingly cleaned it and saved it in a plastic bag, which went right into my purse. Dental work I’d been avoiding suddenly seemed unavoidable, so I called to make the dreaded appointment. “Do you still have the crown?” the receptionist asked. “Of course. Of course I do. I have it here somewhere,” I said, fumbling around in my purse for that damned plastic bag. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be found.  I truly had lost my crown, literally.  Even more unfortunately, insurance will not cover it as it came out after “only” four years. Had it … Continue reading…

Clean Floors for Dirty Paws: Tradeoffs in a Life With Dogs

Wipe Your Paws Floor Mat

I’ve heard it said that cleaning with dogs in your house is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos. Indeed, it is an exercise in futility. I can prove it.  Below is a photo of my floor less than two hours after it received a good sweep, vacuum, and mop: Why, oh why, did we opt for the Brazilian Koa laminate instead of a splotchy dark brown carpet with a doggie footprint pattern? It seems that would’ve been the safer way to go. It would’ve been the way for people with OCFD (Obsessive Clean Floor Disorder) to go. If you haven’t heard of it (and I’m guessing you haven’t since I just made it up), OCFD is a genetic disorder passed down from mother to daughter. The chief symptom of this disorder is fretting about the state of your floors, especially when the sun shines on them just … Continue reading…

Photo Soup

Moose With Ball

Seemingly overnight, the weather here has turned from warm caresses of Summer gently tousling our hair to the icy breath of Winter blowing cooler than comfortable breezes up our skirts. Add to this freezing rain, frost, and blink-and-miss-them daylight hours and you have what I like to call, “soup weather.” Event-wise, this week has been a lot like how I make soup. I look around at the ingredients I have – most times they are quite humble – throw them together, and enjoy.  For this week’s post, I thought I’d just share a little of this week’s photo soup.

Truck Shopping vs. Instant Gratification

Mike's New Truck

I’ve missed a week of posts. I’ve been out truck shopping. Or, rather, Mike’s been out truck shopping. Scout and I have gone along for moral support, and to help wear the salesmen down with our constant jibber-jab. Truthfully, I know very little about trucks, although after living with Mike’s obsession and desire to share his very thorough research, I now have an entire quadrant of my brain swimming in truck-related words: Duramax, Cummins, turbo-diesel, Vortec, V8, long-box, short-box, crew cab, extended cab, three-quarter-ton, hemi, Allison® transmission, tie rods, 6-liter, drum brakes, disc brakes, tow package, tow hooks, payload, torque, bad-ass rims and tires, bull bar.  The list goes on, mindnumbingly so. Last weekend, we went to Coeur d’Alene where Mike test drove a Chevy crew cab long-box with a Duramax engine. It had quite a few cosmetic problems but none that Mike was willing to sweat over. He liked the truck and … Continue reading…

How to Suck at Growing a Garden (Without Really Trying)

Frost-bitten zucchini plant

The photo below could be of Cthulhu’s long-lost terrestrial cousin or, perhaps more likely, could be the remains of my zucchini plant. It, along with cucumbers, flowers, and precious heirloom tomatoes, were bitten by the teeth of Jack Frost this week and never recovered. Nature, that brat, just loves to keep things interesting. I’ve had a garden for four years and I’m still quite the amateur. However, I could turn pro if we’re talking about how not to grow a garden. So, without further ado, here are five tips on how to suck at growing a garden (without really trying). 1. Let healthy intentions, not reality, dictate how much to plant. This was the year you were going to eat a green salad every day for three months, wasn’t it?  And who doesn’t love zucchini bread? So why not plant five rows of lettuce and fifteen zucchini plants?  Besides, you should plant ten times more … Continue reading…

Unexpected Events and a Wish for a Heart-Shaved Belly

In all my befuddlement – and excitement about chocolate cookies – last week, I forgot to mention that Mr. Moo had surgery. While my cousin was spending last Friday night glamming it up and looking beautiful in Roaring 20’s garb… …I was sitting at home soothing a very drugged up pooch, a boy who was not only high on pain meds but was voicing his feelings of confusion and betrayal with constant whining.  He wasn’t the only one who was thrown for a loop on this one. The doctor had pitched the procedure to remove a fast-growing growth like it would be a quick in-and-out operation, not the knock-him-out completely all-day ordeal that it turned out to be. We both pulled through, thankfully, but I was pretty sure that leaving my buddy at the doctor’s office unexpectedly was going to have me reaching for anxiety meds!  A week has now … Continue reading…