Friday, 25 November 2016

7 Quick Takes 44: Murder Most Fowl

... and rodent, and insect. In fact, it's pretty much like Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot have taken up residence around here.

1. I lamented our new rodent lodger (courtesy of the cats) in the previous Seven Quick Takes. Just two mornings later, I opened the bedroom door to find the offending brown and white mouse stretched out, untouched, on the threshold, as if the cats were saying, "OK, enough of the internet shaming. Here's the fracking mouse." Praise and cat treats abounded...
Then, a couple of days later, I heard a yell in the kitchen as my husband jumped up to stop the mouse dragging lunch off the counter. Bob the Mouse was alive and well. I can only presume the body was a counterfeit the cats caught and left out to stall the complaints and threats to reduce their rations by a mouse's worth a day until he was dispatched. Or there's a colony of mice living in the walls. I don't want to think about that.

2. Bad housekeeping that lies firmly at my door, on the other hand, is our resident dead fly. It was perched on our larder door for a while. I thought it was just hanging out... and hanging out... and hanging out. Eventually it dawned on me it must be deceased, but since removing it required more than bare fingers, it stayed there. Then my daughter pointed out its backside had fallen off. Eventually, I decided to take a photo. And still left it there for another couple of days. But now it's gone. Unlike the mouse.

Still life with dead fly.

3. Sweet death: I could (and might) write a whole 7QT on our ant wars of the past several months, but here's a taster. The long months of drought here have meant that desperate ants are invading homes in the area, especially those tiny larder ants with a taste for sugar. After weeks of putting everything into ant-proof jars and caulking every crack in the kitchen we could find, I thought we'd almost beaten them back, but yesterday, I put a jar of honey back in the cupboard without realising the seal wasn't on correctly - today, it was swarming with ants bent on a viscous death. What to do? I strained it out and rebottled it, ant free. Waste not want not, and honey is anti bacterial :)

4. A positive commercial break:  Alcuin is going through another stage when he's adding to his vocabulary every day. The only thing is, he isn't too fond of beginning vowels. He'll help make the fire with "ick"s and "ogs", for example. This wouldn't be noteworthy, except that we have (d)ucks. I look forward (not) to explaining that at library story time.

5. Back to death: My husband wasn't even out of US air space when disaster struck. For the first time ever, a hawk got one of our chickens. Of course, it was one of my favourites, our only silkie hen, Mrs Dick Turpin. Alcuin and I entered the chicken yard to find all very quiet. At first, we thought the chickens were huddling under the coop to escape the cold weather. Then I got that feeling something was wrong. As we began an inspection of the perimeter, a hawk burst out of the bushes.  Of course, I knew what I'd find. Alcuin was pretty excited about it all - he's not been able to stop talking about the "awk".

6. Once again, she proved the truth that chickens never seem that big until you have to dig a grave for them. Especially when there's been a drought for months and the clay soil is more like granite. At least the sore hands and aching back distracted me from my grief.
The ducks, by the way, were quacking happily on their little pond the whole time. I guess they were saying something like, "Nah, nah, you're not an osprey. You can't catch us."

It was Thursday night, and I'd run out of photo ideas.

7. Out on our morning walk this past weekend, I spotted a shoe in the ditch - and then its partner close by. A nifty pair of Vans Off the Wall low-top converse (whew, that's a mouthful). And they looked to be exactly my size. Now, if this was the UK, I'd leave them on the nearest wall so that the barefoot loser could retrace her steps and rescue them. But here, with no pavement, or houses nearby, they could only have been tossed from a moving car, and there's no way of getting them back to their owner. So I took them home,washed them, and - they fit perfectly. And retail for $50 on the manufacturer's website. I feel ninety-eight percent triumphant, and, given how things are going around here, two percent worried they are the vital clue in a murder case.

Hope your Thanksgiving involved nothing deader than a turkey. For more Seven Quick Takes, hop on over to Kelly's at This Ain't the Lyceum.


  1. I don't mind long as I don't know they're there! No cats for us, though...just traps.
    And ants! We've had a time with them in our little camper, but the last time the exterminator was here, I got him to spray the camper, too, so that appears to have taken care of them...for now.

  2. I wish we could get an exterminator, but with a toddler and bees, we can't put down a bunch of poison indoors or out :( But ants... you've got to admire their persistence!

  3. Alcuin's south London genes are surfacing!! 😉

    1. I hadn't thought of that, but Dad said the same :)

  4. Can I just say that you taking a picture of the dead fly and then leaving it there for a few more days made my day?

  5. What can I say? I'm tired, and it wasn't within reach of the toddler :)