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Catching a Mouse

Filed in Pets & Animals by on August 11, 2014 3 Comments

Wow. It’s been less than an hour since I finished typing up my last post. You probably won’t believe it when I tell you that we caught the mouse. Good thing too – because that mouse was starting to get under my skin. I was beginning to fear something bad was going to go down.

Here’s what happened – After I finished writing my previous post, I started watching videos of mice in walls. It only took a few videos to realize that the mouse we have in the wall may be trapped. One video I watched showed a dead mouse that was stuck in the wall. They had to cut away some sheetrock to get at it and eliminate the stink. In the second video, there was a mouse trapped in a wall cavity as well. The guy in the video demonstrated how to dangle a glue trap down into the cavity. He eventually got the mouse to stick to it and pulled both the trap and stuck mouse out. This one was live. I’ll never understand how people use glue mouse traps. They are probably the most barbaric methods available to man. I know, the poison isn’t much better, but every time I see someone catch a mouse using glue, it’s almost like they’re enjoying themselves. Freaks. You have to keep an eye on people like that closely.

After I watched these videos, I went back up to the closet with my hole saw. I cut a hole in the sheetrock in the approximate area of the mouse. Seconds after I was finished and pulled the material out of the way, I saw a little nose stick out. Here’s a picture of the hole.

Hole in Wall

Hole in Wall to Catch Mouse

In the second picture, you can see some gray fur. I don’t know how long this mouse was stuck or if it’s his or her fur. I do know that it smelled of urine.

The mouse really didn’t want to come out. I had an old yogurt container held up to the wall, covering the hole, in hopes that the mouse would walk into it and make things easy, but that didn’t work. After a while, I decided to drill another hole. And then another. I ended up with three holes and no place for the mouse to hide.

Holes Drilled in Sheetrock

It was right after I drilled the third hole that the mouse flew out of one of them causing me to scream. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is for me to scream in front of my lady? Thanks mom. Genetics.

Anyway, the mouse ran out of the hole and the closet and zoomed right into the bathroom. Laura followed it and closed the door. I gave her the yogurt container and lid and she trapped the mouse. What a pal.

In order to deal with this beast, we decided to drive it up the road and let it go in the woods. Probably a good half mile away. Here are some pictures of the mouse.

Mouse in Cup

House Mouse

It ends up that this is a house mouse. Cute little guy, right? I’m glad that we were able to amicably bring this ordeal to a close. I really didn’t want to smell a dead mouse in the wall and wonder how long it was going to last.

How to Get Rid of Mice in the Walls – Mouse Control

Filed in Pets & Animals by on August 11, 2014 1 Comment

Note: There is an update to this story here.

This is one of those posts I don’t want to write, but feel I have to. It’s not like everyone else out there has perfectly clean wall interiors – no mice problems anywhere. That’s simply not the case. Pretty much every house we’ve lived in has had mice running around one area or another. Not of epidemic proportions or anything, but in our first house, we had them in the basement and in the second house, the issue was mostly in the garage. In that house, we also had them in a closet in the kitchen. They love closets. In the last house we lived in, I remember hearing a mouse scratching under the kitchen sink. I opened the door to see what it was, the mouse popped his head out over the edge, I got nervous and slammed the door shut. Unfortunately, I closed the door right across the poor mouse’s neck, killing him instantly.

It was during our stay in the Connecticut house when I finally learned how to deal with mouse problems effectively. The solution is to kill them. I know, I know, I’ve tried everything. Havahart is my middle name. I tried those traps with some success. The problem lies with human nature. Most of the time, I set a trap and checked on it daily. There were occasions, though, when I forgot about the trap. The mouse died in it and I felt awful. Actually, I always feel awful when I’ve got to get rid of a mouse in the walls.

Every time I’ve taken the “nice” approach, I got a couple. It seemed, though, that the little critters had a way of multiplying behind my back. I’d trap one, let it go, only to return to seven more setting up shop in the garage. Frustrating can’t even begin to describe the feeling. Especially when I’m worried that they’re going to chew on the wires of the cars. It seems that we transport the mice from house to house in those very vehicles.

Starting last week, I’ve been hearing scratching in the walls near our bed. The scratching and chewing actually woke me up this morning. I can’t tell you how close I came to putting my foot through the wall in an attempt at catching the mouse and wringing its neck. I told Laura in no uncertain terms, “I want it dead.” Sort of like a nemesis.

The way I successfully dealt with the mice problem in Connecticut was to use place packs. These are small paper packets that have poison laden bird seen inside. You just lay them on shelves or where ever you see evidence of mice and let the mice chew the packs. They get dizzy and go outside to die. Strangely, I never found a dead mouse. I sure did find some nests though. They loved to shack up under my miter saw.

When we moved to Maine, I knew I would need to bring out the big guns. I went ahead and ordered a bucket of Tomcat mouse bait chunks.

Tomcat Mouse Bait

Mouse Bait

Within a week of getting here, I started hearing and finding evidence of mice in the basement. I threw a few of these mouse bait chunks around and within a week, stopped finding the evidence. so much so that I actually forgot about the mice all together. Well, guess what. They’re back. I’m not sure if they know autumn is coming up and they’re trying to build nests in preparation for winter, but I’ve so far heard a mouse upstairs near the bed and another one in the log cabin room. You see, I think they’re making their way up the inside of the house siding.

Pine Wood House Siding

Gap Under House Siding

There’s a gap under the siding that I’ve got to get out there and seal up. I believe the mice are coming from the woods and either moving into the house or just coming in and stealing the fiberglass insulation. No matter what they’re attempting to do, they’re unwelcome guests. And being so close to the woods, things get exponentially more difficult.

House Near the Woods

I though about the best way to get to the area where I heard the mouse. I figured that since we’ve got a closet in the hallway, right next to the bedroom, that would be the most inconspicuous place to create an opening to see what’s going on.

Closet in Hallway

Since it was simple enough, I cut a square hole in the back wall with my utility knife.

Hole in Sheetrock

I only made the hole in the back of the closet; the other two were here when we moved in. I think there’s a water pipe in there or something.

We’ll see how things go. The bait smells pretty good. Sort of like cake batter. I plan on checking the bait in the wall tomorrow and if it has little chew marks, I’ll know the mouse won’t last for long. The worst case scenario is that the mouse eats the bait and then dies in the wall and stinks for a week. I’d prefer that over the scratching and chewing, which is going on right now as I write this post, by the way.

If you’re interested in reading a pretty good article called, “How to Get Mice Out of House Walls,” check out this one.

Trucking Up the Logging Roads

Filed in Adventures, Automotive by on August 10, 2014 0 Comments

This was probably the most fun I’ve had since Steve and I went ATVing up in the logging trails at the end of our road. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do – to drive my truck up there as well. To see how she would handle and to see if there would be any significant obstacles for us to work through if one day – ah…one day – someone (such as myself) decides to pick up a nice big piece of property up there in those woods. I think I may be some how, some way, subconsciously laying the groundwork for our next great adventure. To get a glimpse of what I’m talking about, please read this post:

In The Spirit of Alternative Living

I wrote that about a year and a half ago and have moved significantly toward the goal I hinted at. Things have changed dramatically for Laura and me and I intend to nudge things along for our next dramatic change. One can’t simply go through life without ever living off-grid – can they? I mean – you have to try – right? There really are far too many yurts, cabins, cottages and everything else available to give the average fellow an opportunity to see if he and his mate can make a life in the wild.

Anyway, the truck did very well. I can’t really give you an accurate distance of how far we traveled, but I will tell you that we zigged and zagged throughout the entire system. We drove further than I thought we would. The one place I had to turn back from, though, was the big mountain and lookout that Steve and I visited. The trail to the to top of the mountain was washed out and the left side of it was reduced to a somewhat deep ditch. I probably could have made it through, but I sensed some nervousness in the truck, so I turned back. Far cry from what I would have done when I was a kid. I would have just jumped on it and plowed ahead.

Laura managed to take some pictures of me driving around down in the valley near the brook. The same brook that we’ve got running along the back border of our property. It’s Laura’s favorite area, so we stopped and hung out for a while. I knew she wanted to show her parents around a bit.

If you want to see what these logging roads look like in late spring, check out this post:

Riding ATVs Up in the Mountains

There’s a picture in the post above that shows me riding Steve’s ATV in the brook. Take a look at that and then take a look at the two pictures below. What a difference a change in season can make.

This shot is looking south.

Mitchell Brook - Industry, Maine

And this one is looking north.

Mitchell Brook - Industry, Maine

The water is also as clear as it’s ever been. What an odd phenomenon. I actually had to delete a few pictures like these because it didn’t look like there was any water at all. Just rocks laying there.

Water Running in Brook

Very Clear Water in Stream

This is a picture of what the bridge looks like up there. If we hadn’t seen two old dudes driving into these trails a few days ago, I wouldn’t have crossed it with my truck. After talking to one of the guys, I learned that the bridges are very strong and can easily hold the weight of the truck.

Bridge Spanning Brook on Logging Road

And since I knew the bridge was strong, I just had to run back to the truck to give it a shot.

Running Up a Logging Road

Okay, I hopped in the truck and drove it over the bridge.

Driving Truck on Logging Road

Ford F-250 on Dirt Road

Driving Ford F-250 on Logging Road

2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty

But of course, once I made it over the bridge, I had to turn around. I didn’t want to have to take the long way back. Plus, we had berry picking to do. Man I love driving that truck up there.

Turning Truck Around

So there you have it folks. A plan in action. From getting an idea while sitting in Florida to getting it done a year later in Maine. Sort of gives me a good feeling. Just bulldoze through all the crap and go where you want to get to. If you want to see pictures of the truck a few days after I purchased it in Jacksonville, Florida, check out this post:

2008 Ford F250 Super Duty 6.7L Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel

Walking Up the Brook

Filed in Hiking by on August 9, 2014 0 Comments

Earlier this week, Laura’s parents came to visit. We did a bunch of fun stuff, such as visiting Bar Harbor, driving my truck up in the hills north of us and making our way toward the back of our property to visit the brook. I have posts on the stuff we did together and what you’re currently reading is the post for our brook adventure.

It’s much tougher getting back to the brook ever since the grass and weeds have grown in multiples of feet. We used to easily stroll back there. Now, we’ve got to wonder where we’re walking and wonder if we’re going to trip over some sort of branch or piece of wood. Luckily nothing terrible happened and we all made it out in one piece.

I think they liked the brook. I understand that Laura and I are definitely into nature more than most people out there, but even with that in mind, her folks enjoyed getting lost in the thick. They didn’t walk up the center of the brook like it did, but we really didn’t expect them to. Actually, I didn’t expect to do that myself. It just sort of happened.

Walking in a Brook

The water isn’t too high back there. I’d guess that it’s about a foot deep in most places. The beavers really haven’t been working as hard as they used to. This makes for some good river walking – which is defined as basically walking up a river.

There is one thing you need to be careful of when walking up a brook like this – and that’s broken glass. My trip on Wednesday was short because I was bare footed. I went as far as I could before I remembered that I wasn’t wearing any foot protection. Once that occurred to me, I headed back. I did make it far enough to know that I want to go back there with my Crocs on and walk much farther. I think it’d be cool to see what the brook looks like upstream.

Walking in Water

Walking in Brook

Voleman’s Got a Stalker

Filed in Pets & Animals by on August 9, 2014 0 Comments

Almost every time I check Laura’s camera to take pictures off it to post here, I find odd photo shoots of Voleman. These shoots hide themselves between trips to Bar Harbor and adventures up in the mountains. I guess they aren’t too terrible because our little orange cat is the cutest thing ever, but still…

Maybe you should be the judge. Would you be lured into taking pictures like the ones I posted below? Could you resist? Will you admit that Voleman is cuter than anything you’ve ever seen in your entire life? He is a bad cat though. He jumps on Flipper’s back and chases him around the house all night. Don’t be fooled by Voleman’s seduction. Don’t be fooled.

Cute Orange Cat

Orange Cat Sleeping

Orange Cat on Windowsill

Winter is Coming

Filed in Weather by on August 9, 2014 0 Comments

People don’t believe me when I tell them Winter is coming. Perhaps they don’t realize how short the warm season is here in Maine. And to think, friends of mine who live up in Rangeley and Jackman have an even shorter warm season – about two seeks shorter. I overheard a conversation just last night where one of my buddies was talking about how the leaves are changing in Jackman. It’s no joke either because I’ve been noticing some of the same here where we live. Leaves falling all over the place. And we even have a Red Maple tree that’s in the midst of its full change over. I just took a picture of it.

Maple Tree Leaves Turning Red

Now, it’s not like we’re in the middle of Autumn or anything. The leaves are still green all over the place.

Trees and Old Garage in Maine

But I will tell you that it was so chilly last night that I thought I was going to have to make a fire in the wood stove or get something going in the pellet stove. The crisp, cool air certainly is welcome though. I thrive in the cooler temperatures.

Raspberry bushes are beginning to change.

Raspberry Bush Changing Color

I wonder how much longer Summer will last. I think the most noticeable changes are in the nighttime temperatures. Things go from the high 70s during the day, down to the low 50s at night. When things get down to the 40s, I think I’ll put my dancing shoes back on.

Oh yeah, I took this neat picture as I was outside grabbing the one of that Maple tree. Just throwing this in there for you.

Sun Hiding Behind Clouds

Berry Picking Up in the Trails

Filed in Food & Drink, Nature by on August 9, 2014 4 Comments

I think we may have won a battle up here in Maine. Which is a good thing too, because I’ve become somewhat accustomed to losing them. First it was the Maple syrup that never happened. All I could come up for that one was, “Jay’s Sweet Water.” Not so good. Then, there was the Fiddlehead Fern thing that didn’t materialize. Lastly, we have a garden that only slightly grew. I didn’t report on this one – because it grew – only slightly. We’ll have to work on all three and change our strategy for next year to increase our chances of success.

The battle we recently won was one of the berry picking types. And we won it completely by chance. Laura and I decided to go for a walk in the woods and stumbled upon what may have been the most prime day for picking berries – ever. There were millions of them. Actually, I’d estimate the number of berries to be anywhere between a zillion and a hundred zillion.

We knew there were some sort of Raspberries up there. We just didn’t know what kind. Over the Winter and into the Spring, all we saw were the bushes. Without leaves and then with. Here’s what the area looks like with leaves.

Black Raspberry Bushes

Black Raspberry Bushes

Well, as it turns out, we’ve got Blackberries, Black Raspberries and Red Raspberries. And after we learned this, Laura and I went nuts picking them. We picked so many that we now have two large Ziplock bags holding berries in the freezer.

Jay Holding Berries in Bag

Jay Picking Berries

These pictures were taken about half way through our berry picking endeavor.

I figured I’d give you a sample of what we were picking. The berries look great, don’t they?

Black Raspberries

Black Raspberries - Ripe and Unripe

Berries

Black Raspberries

Unripe Black Raspberries

Now, I want to let you know that our entire day wasn’t about picking and taking pictures of Raspberries. There was an artistic flair to it as well. Let me show you want I’m talking about.

Black-eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susans and Black Raspberries

Black-eyed Susan

See how she did that? With the flowers?

As she was picking the Raspberries, Laura also discovered some grape vines nearby. Apparently, there are grapes growing in the trails at the end of the road as well. We’ll have to check them out in a few days.

Wild Grapes

Dares Snakes Up in Dem Dare Hills

Filed in Reptiles by on August 9, 2014 0 Comments

Do you like my accent?

Back in June, my friend Seth came to visit. One of the things we did was to walk up a trail, towards the hills north of us. During that walk, we saw about four snakes slithering off the path. I kind of thought that was a lot. Just sayin’.

A few days ago, Laura and I spent some time on the very same trail. We were berry picking. After we were finished picking, and on our way back, I heard one snake and saw another. With this in mind, I’ve decided to declare, “Dares Snakes Up in Dem Dare Hills.”

Of course, she stopped to take pictures of the second snake. It’s only a Common Garter Snake, so I was fairly confident that it wouldn’t strike at her. If it was something else; something akin to that monstrously horrifying snake we had living with us in Florida, my protective instinct would have taken over. Good thing there are no poisonous snakes in Maine. Good freakin’ thing.

Anyway, here’s what Laura was able to capture from this little episode.

Common Garter Snake

Common Garter Snake

Common Garter Snake Head

Great Blue Heron in our Pond

Filed in Birds by on August 9, 2014 0 Comments

I’m not sure if this is going to be a problem or not, but we’ve got a Great Blue Heron that seems to have taken a liking to our pond. Yes, you remember the pond – the one with all our wildlife in it.

Last week, I was taking my morning stroll when I heard a commotion coming from the pond area. Since I was almost to its shore, I hurried along, fast enough to see a giant bird flapping its wings in an attempt to get the heck out of the area. I guess I startled it and it decided to leave via flight above the stream. I was in awe of the bird’s size, so I began heading back to the house to tell Laura all about what I saw. On my way back, I looked toward the driveway and was shocked to see the same bird sitting on top of my trailer. I swear the thing is over three feet tall. I ran inside, informed Laura of the situation and she was able to witness what I was talking about before the Heron flew off.

The Heron has been back at least three times since. I guess it’s eating our frogs and salamanders, which I’m not really thrilled about. I guess it’s okay, because that’s what they do. We also get to enjoy the company of the bird. It’s just that I like the amphibians as well, so I’m sort of stuck. I’ll most likely do my best to learn to love everyone.

A morning not too long ago, I saw the Heron standing upon our bench near the pond, so I quickly told Laura about it. She ran outside with her camera and was able to take a few pictures of it before it flew off. These things are very skittish. This is what she got.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron Flying

Not bad, huh? I know the picture of the bird in flight is blurry, but it does give you a picture of what it looks like.

Visiting Coos Canyon

Filed in Destinations by on August 9, 2014 0 Comments

I’ve had the last few pictures from the short road trip Steve brought me on sitting in a folder for a while. I figured I really should post them before they get too old.

Coos Canyon Signs

All right – the final destination of our trip was a place called Coos Canyon. It’s located on Rt.17, North of Roxbury (which is North of Rumford). The canyon is really neat. There’s also a trail system, along with a dirt road that leads to Tumbledown Mountain, a popular hiking destination. There are also cabin rentals nearby.

Coos Canyon Cabin Rentals

This is a picture of the bridge that spans the canyon and heads towards Tumbledown,

Coos Canyon Bridge that Leads to Tumbledown Mountain

And here is a look over the side.

Coos Canyon - Looking Over Side of Bridge

And a few pictures of the bridge from underneath.

Coos Canyon Bridge

Coos Canyon Bridge

Coos Canyon Bridge

Now for some pictures of the canyon itself.

Coos Canyon

Coos Canyon

I always like to photograph my surroundings, just for memory’s sake, so I did so of the parking lot at Coos Canyon. I know it’s nothing special, but I like it.

Coos Canyon Parking Lot

And finally, a quick shot of the trail head, right off the road.

Coos Canyon Trails