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Posts Tagged ‘mice’

Pleasant and unpleasant surprises

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment
A portion of the snakeskin, where I found it

A portion of the snakeskin, where I found it

Cutting back a cotoneaster, I found the skin which a snake had obviously shed by squeezing through a narrow gap.

That was the pleasant surprise. These are grass snakes which eat mice which eat the air filter in our car, and I’m happy to have them around.

Also a snakeskin is a thing of beauty – like fine crochet work.

The unpleasant surprise came when I phoned the pharmacy this morning.

I asked that we be able to pick up next month’s supply of colostomy bags for Clive and was told “No”.

The reason for being denied them is that the district doctor forgot to write the 2 words ‘in deroga’ (which means something like ‘exceptional’) on the paperwork.

It’s by no means certain when this will be resolved.

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Hazelnuts

July 4, 2012 Leave a comment

2 of the hazelnuts plucked before their time

When I planted our strawberry tree, I tucked it between 2 hazel trees thinking there would be enough room for them all to grow.

I was wrong. The strawberry tree looks very healthy (which wasn’t a foregone conclusion as it’s quite a high altitude for it here) but it has no elbow room at all.

Every so often I cut the flanking hazel trees back a bit to give it some breathing space. The other day, by mistake, I cut off a twig with 5 hazelnuts on it.

I brought the twig back to the house and put it in a vase as a decoration.

I don’t imagine the nuts will ripen like that, but if they did, they’d be the first and probably the last hazelnuts we ever get.

This year’s a good year – there are lots – but I still expect to be pipped to the post by the black squirrels and the mice.

Catkins

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Hazel catkins

There’ve been catkins for some time now on the hazel trees along the drive, but only today did they look as if they were actually ‘hanging loose’ as opposed to bunched up against the cold.

I could see quite a few of the small red female flowers which supposedly turn into hazel nuts.

Some of them do in fact turn into hazel nuts, but not that it profits us any.

I reckon they’re all earmarked and reserved for the mice, right from when they’re a twinkle in a catkin’s eye.

Pig in a poke

November 1, 2011 Leave a comment

“The Italian winter is Italy’s best-kept secret.”

Here, half way up a mountain, the temperature can drop to minus 12 degrees Celsius, which has serious implications for any static water.

The ‘Blue Pig’ water storage tank is one of several vulnerable structures which need to be insulated, and today was a good dry, windless day to do it.

The 'Blue Pig' water storage tank under its tarpaulin

We use the tarpaulin which came with the indoor pool, folded in half. It looks a bit like a Swiss cheese in the parts where mice have nibbled away shavings to make bedding.

After wrapping bubble wrap round the inlet and outlet pipes, we spread the tarpaulin over the top of the tank and weigh it down with logs, blocks and boulders. It takes that much to stop it taking off before the north wind like a giant green bat.

The Blue Pig sits on 2 concrete fence posts laid horizontally so that it’s clear of the ground. It’s sited at the top of a bank just above an oak tree and a couple of pine trees which, in the event of some catastrophe, would stop it from tumbling into the valley. We tie the tarpaulin to these trees.

The tarpaulin isn’t quite big enough double, but would be far too big if it were single. There’s a gap at the back where the folds don’t quite meet, and here we stuff sacks of dead leaves.

Underneath this contraption, the spring will continue to flow through to the pond. When it’s running full bore in the depths of winter, water will come out from under the lid of the Blue Pig and there’ll be a little waterfall down the bank.

Nibbled walnuts

October 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Today I found more evidence of the resident mice who built a nest in the air filter housing of our car – see Mouse on wheels.

Walnuts nibbled by mice

They’ve been biting great holes in the fallen walnuts and eating the kernels, sometimes leaving them completely hollow.

I’m getting an idea of their daily routine now.

They spend their days tucked up nice and cosy under the car bonnet or in the bubble wrap of the pool pump house then, at night, they sally forth and eat our walnuts. Or our hazelnuts (we never get any – they get them all), figs, apples, crocus bulbs …

We are a sort of grand mouse charity.

One found its way into the house, once.

We spent ages luring it into a humane trap, night after night, trying different locations and different baits, while it continued to use the back of the cupboards as a super-highway.

Eventually I heard the cage door snap shut and there it was inside, looking back at me. After leaving it a moment while I made preparations to take it right away from the house, I came back and it had gone. It had compressed its skeleton and slipped through the bars.

After that we got a traditional mouse trap which took one night to do the business.

Mice are fine so long as they don’t come into the house, or damage the car or the pool equipment. Other than that, I guess there’s room for everyone.

Mouse on wheels

September 10, 2011 3 comments

Out shopping in Valtopina, one of the ‘vigili’ (town police) threatened to put a ticket on our parked car if we didn’t move it fractionally away from a junction. At the same time he pointed out that we were losing liquid – brake fluid, he said.

The bed under the bonnet

Back home, we confirmed that it was in fact washer fluid leaking from the jets in front of one of the headlamps.

Our handy friends went in behind the headlamp and discovered, in the air filter housing, a pile of small pieces of foam and plastic. These had obviously been scuffed up directly from there, and also brought in from various other places as evidenced by nibble marks.  It was a mouse’s nest.

So that was why the dogs had been sniffing under the front of the car!

Those little perisher mice must have felt safer there than in the weep holes of the wall which is where they normally hang out – assuming it’s all the same tribe.