Monday, May 28, 2007

Let it Be Known. I Officially Declare War on All Mice.

As we headed out to the homestead on Friday night I had a song in my heart. We were going to spend a long weekend at my favorite place on the face of the earth! We had planned to do hive inspections of our six hives and we had our good friends, Tex and Charlotte, planning to come out to spend all day Sunday with us. How could it get any better? I was really happy and really excited.

But as we pulled into the drive way we noticed that one of the hives in the apiary had globs of bees all over the front of it. And only one of the hives - our most active hive. Bees will glob together on the outside of a hive when it is particularly hot weather - but it wasn't particularly hot weather at that time. We instinctively knew something was not right, and after doing a little checking we absolutely knew we had a little problem. You can read about it on The Bee Buzz Blog and see pictures of us opening the hives on The Bee Buzz Website.

At any rate, we finally made it up to the house and the first thing I did was check the mouse traps. Sure enough we had one. I couldn't help but wonder if this wasn't the same little mouse with attitude that I had met last weekend. No telling I guess. I felt a little bad but then I remembered the conversation that little mouse and I had in kitchen. I told him point blank that I was baiting with peanut butter the next week and I warned him fair and square about coming back inside. So if he screwed up and came back inside, well I guess he picked the wrong kitchen to mess around in this time.

Saturday morning we woke up early to get the mowing out of the way. I was using the push mower in front of the house and Bernie was using the riding mower at the front of the property. After a while I looked up and he was stopped - and had his upper body shoved under the hood of the riding mower. I walked up just as he was pulling dead mice and bedding out of the carburetor. Our riding mower was dead - and we learned it would cost us about $600 to repair the mouse damage!

All weekend I continued to find signs of mice. One scurried into the garage as I came around the corner. I discovered the towels in the guest bathroom were all chewed up and pooped on by mice. I decided enough is enough. I have tried to be nice. I have tried to warn them. It would be obvious to the most casual observer that I am being ignored. I've had enough. I declare war on all mice on the face of the planet. Bring it on baby - I'm ready for you!

I have put poisoning in every nook and cranny inside and outside of our home and garage. I HATE using poison. But I am at my wits end. I will not be conquered by a bunch of small, obnoxiously obnoxious rodents. With the aid of mouse traps, peanut butter, and Di-Con, I intend to show those little bastards who is boss.

Lord, please don't let them win.

Bee Free, Penny

Sunday, May 20, 2007

There's a Mouse in the House!

Each time we arrive at the homestead and enter the house, I immediately check the mouse traps we set around after finding evidence of a few mice during the winter. This weekend was no different and as I checked each trap I was relieved to find they were undisturbed. Each morning when I awaken at the homestead, I check the traps again.

Saturday morning I stumbled out of bed and headed for the coffee pot and out of habit glanced beside the stove and noticed two traps were tripped - and they were completely empty. Not good. Not good at all. I poured my coffee and stumbled to my recliner next to Bernie and announced "Something tripped those mouse traps - but there weren't any mice in them." He said "I think I heard a mouse this morning". I really wasn't sure he was serious, but he convinced me that in the still of the morning he heard something scurrying through our bedroom. As we were sitting there discussing it, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. A mouse! And he was sitting about three feet away from me just staring at me - daring me to come closer.

Now, I have a soft spot for mice. When I was about eight years old my cousin, Andy, gave me a little gray mouse in a cage. I named him Popo and I really loved that little mouse. As an adult I've learned the destruction mice cause in a home and I've set out to kill them with traps on many occasions. But I never had one look me in the eyes while I was thinking of killing him! This was going to be a tough one.

Normally Bernie is the Mouse Slayer, but this time I felt it was something personal. That little mouse just thumbed his nose at me! I jumped up from my chair and the mouse scurried into the kitchen. I walked into the kitchen and found him sitting on the rug beneath the sink. I walked up within a foot of him and he just sat there staring at me. I slowly reached over and grabbed a dish towel. The mouse just continued starting at me. I took the towel and quickly threw it to the ground with the intent of it landing on the mouse and trapping him long enough for me to catch him. The mouse zipped away. Bernie yelled "Grab a bucket!" I walked over and grabbed the bucket and looked around and said "I don't see the mouse". Bernie said "There he is! He's running to the living room." I hurried over to the living room and saw no sign of a mouse. I asked Bernie "Where is he?". He said "He's crawling up the curtain." Ewwww! I ran over to the curtain and put the bucket underneath the mouse. He fell into the bucket!

I quickly handed the bucket to Bernie and he walked outside to the wood line and released the mouse. As Bernie started walking toward the house he looked behind him and the mouse was following! He walked back toward the mouse and finally the little guy took off into the woods.

That little mouse had some personality. I would love to invite that little mouse to live in our home. But mice don't potty train easily and they like make little nests out of stuff that I am particularly fond of. I wish the best to our little visitor. And I sure hope he doesn't come back to visit. I've baited the traps with peanut butter - and I've got a feeling he couldn't resist that.

The homestead is a luscious green right now. We finally have some grass growing! We still need to get it a little thicker, but damn if it doesn't look nice! Check it out!

I got a new camera and it takes some awesome pictures. I put some pictures on the website of flowers and insects that I took on the homestead.

I also got several pictures of our bees and wrote a blog entry on them.

That's it for now. Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend and we'll have three whole days on the homestead! Can't wait - and I'll be sure to post some pictures.

Bee Free,

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Scat. Lots of Scat.

We spent today mowing. We have a few acres to mow and between that and weed wacking, it's pretty much a full day of work. Bernie weed wacked around the apiary and noticed two things - lots of bees returning to the hive with pollen and lots of scat around two of the hives. Our weakest two hives to be exact. I put pictures on The Bee Buzz of the girls weighted down with pollen and of the scat. The scat is most certainly skunk scat. Skunks love to eat bees. I wrote a little about that on The Bee Buzz Blog. We plan to add some electric wire down low tomorrow that will keep the skunks out.

As we were walking in the front yard, picking up tree limbs and rocks before we mowed, we noticed some bear scat - in two different areas. Between the bears and the skunks I do worry about our bees. I am hoping the electric fence will detract both of them.

Other than mowing and worrying about scat, the weekend has been rather calm so far. We bought a new battery for Bernie's bike and installed it after we mowed. It started raining shortly after noon and is supposed to rain through the night. Thank goodness we have the garage now or we wouldn't have been able to work on his bike at all. Even though it's the beginning of May, we have a fire in the fireplace. I'm just certain summer is only around the corner

All in all, our homestead is doing well. Predators are a fact of life in the country and we will deal with them the best we can. In the meantime our bees are happy and bringing in lots of bounty! I can only hope that equates to lots of honey in the fall.

Bee Free,