Weekly Photo Challenge – Angular

that's a long way up

that’s a long way up

breaktime: Ecolab plaza

breaktime: Ecolab plaza

The top photo is Willis Tower in Chicago, the other is Ecolab Plaza, St. Paul.

I love the angles in these photos. I hope you will too.  For more entries in this week’s challenge, click here.

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my bat story

If you enjoyed my mice adventure, surely you’ll enjoy this story.  I was thinking about how many more things I would need go through to complete my Minnesota adventure.  It seems we’ve covered a lot of ground when it comes to “things that could happen to you in Minnesota”. We’ve had several flooded basements, ice dams and the ensuing leaky ceiling, a mice infestation that I hope is finally over and then there’s the story of the bats.  The bats lived in the house from hell.

Our first year in Minnesota was spent at a rental house in one of the nicest neighborhoods in St. Paul.  But it was definitely not one of the nicest houses. The weekend we were moving in the kitchen ceiling fell down. Luckily our cats, Bert and Ernie, were not in there at the time.  Next, our landlord hired the cheapest roofers on the planet and they forgot to put tarps on the roof a Friday before a torrential downpour.  I had every pot and bowl I owned making a line from the dining room on into the living room then turning right to go into the spare bedroom collecting water from that downpour.  Oh yes, fun times. And did I mention the broken elbow in the back of that house? Okay, that was me being in too much of a hurry and had nothing to do with that house. But it did happen at that house.  I learned a huge lesson that winter.  Baby steps is my mantra all winter now.

Towards the end of our year there I was asleep on the couch late at night when I heard the cats making noise.  When I turned on the light they were both sitting, looking up at the bat that was hanging from my ceiling.  Oh boy, how do we get it out of the house?? I woke the husband and he managed to shoo it out the back door with a broom.  I hid in the bathroom :)

Prior to seeing this bat I was hearing noises in the walls, which I now know were the bats.  Curiously, the husband thought I was hearing things…..UNTIL he saw Ernie staring at the wall listening to the bats.  So funny that man.

Here’s a short update on the mice situation.  The last mouse to leave the house was Tuesday and we are now to Friday. I have not yet looked at the traps but I suspect and hope, hope, hope they continue to be empty!!

Happy Friday everyone!!

Here are Bert and Ernie as kittens, a photo I took home from my mother’s house. It’s a photo of a photo as scan was not working:

And just for fun, for the Fritz fans “please, can I have some of your dinner?”:

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of mice and modern living

Anyone out there struggled with a mice infestation?  I have gotten quite the education in pest control and removal, let me tell you!  Read on as I share my experience.

Just over a month ago my daughter and I were at the kitchen sink when she saw, and I felt, a mouse crawl over my foot.  What? A mouse in the house?  14 years we’ve been here and we’ve never seen a mouse in the house.  Oh but we were about to learn all about these rodents.

A few days after the first mouse sighting, I heard noises in the kitchen and when I went to investigate I found Eddie, our older cat, lying in the middle of the floor staring at the oven.  And then I heard the scratching noises coming from the oven that he was hearing. Several days later we turned on our oven to make dinner and this putrid smell came out of it!!  I thought it was the mouse my daughter had seen and was now dead somewhere in the oven.  We looked inside, no mouse. We pulled the range away from the wall and found our first mouse droppings.  Now what?  We elected to not take off the many screws on the back of the oven to peer inside there.

About 2 or 3 days later I found more mouse droppings, this time all over the counter and some on the stove.  Oh boy, time to get traps!  We struggled a little bit about how to rid ourselves of these lovely creatures from our indoor existence. We could get live traps and release them outside. That seemed the more humane approach and if I had more time I might have seriously considered that route. Well, that and the fact that our local hardware store did not sell any live traps.  So, onward with catching the mice.  It was time to be rid of the rodents.

I had read that peanut butter in a trap was the best way to catch mice. And sure enough that was our experience with all but one mouse. Or so I think it’s just one.  I’ll get back to that in a moment and that story is not quite over yet.  We had three traps, one of which would not stay open. Then we were down to two traps a night, catching 6 in the next several days.  One Friday morning a few weeks ago was the last mouse we caught, or so we thought.

We were going to turn on the oven one week after the last mouse sighting.  Then decided against it as my husband looked at me and said “do you really want to use that oven again?” What apparently happened was that the mice got into the oven’s surroundings and made a mess of the insulation causing the oven to stink when it was on.  Buy a new oven we did!  It looks very nice but we’ve not yet turned it on.  The day after it was delivered there were fresh droppings on the stove.  YUCK!! We obviously weren’t quite done with the mice.

I had read that peppermint oil is a deterrent so I found a small bottle of 100% pure peppermint oil (it has to be 100% and not an extract)  I then doused many cotton balls with the oil and placed them strategically around the shiny new oven.  Long story short, there was still at least one more mouse left in the house.  I found more droppings behind the new oven. We had sealed a bunch of holes with steel wool and thought all the ways they could get into the house were patched.  Guess again!

Finally we called the pest control experts.  Loved the technician that came.  He had much knowledge and we hired him to seal any other holes that we missed(apparently there were many!!) and to set more traps in the house.  As of yesterday one mouse was captured, hooray!!!  I also cleaned up all the mouse droppings that I had found in the last several days.  My thinking is that if this is the last mouse there should be no more droppings.  It felt great vacuuming up all that crap and I’m hoping that’s the last time I have to do that.

What I learned is that this has been the worst year for mice infestations, the worst our tech has seen in 7 years.  It seemed so odd to us that we’ve been in this house nearly 14  years and have never had this problem so at least there’s an explanation.  Our tech also recommended foaming up the area where the front stoop meets the house.  When this first began I suspected they had gotten in over there so I shoved a bunch of steel wool in that corner.  He also said we had holes by two windows in the basement as well as the where the A/C lines come into the house.  The mice then crawl up the walls and in our case they ended up in the kitchen for the most part.  I did find droppings behind the couch as well as near the cat box but we caught most of the mice in the kitchen.

Mr. Tech Extraordinaire will return for a follow-up on Tuesday next.  And we made reservations at a restaurant for Thanksgiving as I don’t want to turn my oven on until about two weeks after the last mouse is caught. I’m actually looking forward to a year off from cooking and cleaning. I may even do a blog post about that experience.  We might even make a Thanksgiving meal in early December, we shall see :)

Happy Sunday!

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Minimalist

My entries for this week’s challenge:

To view more entries, or to enter the challenge, click here.

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a collection of autumn scenes

It’s been a fairly nice fall season here in the frozen tundra and I’ve been able to get outside for walks amongst the beauty of the changing leaves.  Today we took a walk around the lake at the park and below are some of those scenes.  It’s a beautiful time of year!! Especially when the weather is agreeable :)

Street scenes:

Some colorful leaves up close:

Finally some scenes from the park today:

Probably our last two cukes of the season. Look how big one of them got!!

And for all the Fritz fans, here he is in the weeds:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Signs

Oh but do I have some sign photos!

First, one of the many signs painted on the inside of the Washington Avenue bridge at the University of Minnesota. Various clubs and organizations advertise here. This is just one of them:

Malagueta sign at Malagueta beach, Málaga, España:

A “sign” painted on concrete road blocks in Barcelona:

This sign made us feel welcome in Málaga:

Famous Reno, NV sign at night:

The oldest restaurant in the world, Madrid:

Everyone sing along: “on the street where you live” or in this case where I lived. The street that I lived on in Madrid in 1980-81:

And one last one…..this is another form of street sign in Madrid.  These are so beautiful:

That was fun! For more fun entries, check out this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge or enter yourself. Enjoy!!

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art car

We happened upon this interesting vehicle on our way home from the apple orchard.  It’s apple season and we have enough apples now for two pies, not that I’m going to make pie. I’m thinking baked apples perhaps.

Check out the art car, so stated on its bumper.  On top is a person who appears to be hanging onto the car so he doesn’t fall.  I wish I had kept my camera on when we passed because I didn’t get a photo of the front of the vehicle, which turns out to be an old pickup.  The person’s face is right above the windshield and it’s got this huge nose!! Ah well,  you can still get the gist of it.  Amazing the things we find when we’re observant :)

Here’s a couple photos of some mums at the apple orchard.

 

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