Thursday, November 20, 2008

Say Hello to my Little Friend

As I've mentioned before, Tyson and I are currently living in a work trailer at the bottom of the hill which the house sits on top of. This trailer is actually pretty nice for a trailer, but since it's not a trailer made for living in, it lacks certain amenities, such as a stove, a closet, or a bathroom (it comes with a mini-fridge, microwave, small sink, and hot plate). As a result, we have done much to adapt to this living situation. By we, I mostly mean me, because Tyson doesn't really care much about not having the ability to cook and will stand by the fridge and eat half a jar of peanut butter with a spoon and call it good.

Until a few weeks ago, in addition to these difficulties, we were also having regular nighttime visits by a colony of small creatures. When we moved in, I cleaned a lot of mouse poop out of all the cabinets in the kitchen area. For some reason, it did not occur to me that there could still be mice and I didn't think much of putting our pantry food and dishes away into the freshly cleaned cabinets and drawers. I would wake at midnight, 2, or 4 am to the sound of gnawing. Sometimes I was sure that the mouse was the Zeus of mice and had saber teeth and claws the size of swords. Surely a teeny mouse couldn't make THAT much noise. We put out some traps that Ty's dad had into the key places and killed two mice pretty quick. Tyson was kind enough to get up and deal with the trap both times. It made me sick to even think about. The second time, he said he was glad I hadn't seen it and was pretty shaken up. Apparently the mouse had been pregnant. Neither of us could stomach killing the mice anymore, so I started looking for other options. I found a humane mousetrap and ordered it online. The good news is that it works; the bad news is that it flips closed very easily and often the mouse only has to brush up against it for it to tip and slam shut.

We eventually got smart and put anything in paper or plastic into an artillery box with a nice heavy metal lid under the kitchen table. Impenetrable right? Well, it is if you remember to close the box. A small mouse chewing through corn chips in a metal box makes a very big noise.

The last mouse we caught got into a glue trap under the sink that we forgot we had put out months ago. A tiny mouse stuck in a glue trap is a heartbreaking sight and I really didn't want to have to kill the mouse. I read that mice will chew through their own limbs if they're stuck in a glue trap long enough. :( So I did some searching online and found that it's possible to release a mouse from a glue trap by working vegetable oil into the glue around it's feet. So Tyson got a q-tip with some oil and started working on it. We were worried for a while as the mouse was pretty stunned, even after being released.

Ty and I went for a hike and released the little guy by some trees and he hopped away pretty spryly once he realized he was out. Since then, we located the two spots where we believe they were getting in and Tyson cut some sheet metal to close up the gaps and we haven't had any visitors since.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Camping Out

I realize that I'm a bit slow getting things up right now. I apologize for that and hope to sift through a lot of the photos I've taken soon as I have several posts worth of material and just haven't taken the time to put it up. When I came back from my friends Allison and Rustie's wedding in Luckenback last month, Tyson surprised me by arranging some of our furniture and appliances in the house. I didn't manage to get any decent pictures with my teeny digital camera at night so instead I'm putting up some food pics from our campfire dinner that night.

Tyson has really been enjoying the challenge of cooking over a fire. As you see above, we tried to make some tacos with rice, beans, chayote and guacamole, but have learned from cooking chayote both over fire and hotplate that it takes WAY too long for this low level of heat. Below, you'll see an action photo that includes our first housewarming gifts, a cactus and garden gnome from the above-mentioned happy couple.

Graduate school has proven to be quite time-consuming (an understatement, I know). I've spent the time since I last updated working on actually changing my thesis with my department to document the Small House Movement and have not as yet been successful. I plan to continue working on documenting this movement no matter what and hope to display it here as I go. I promise to post more soon. I'll leave you with a shot of the house during last month's full moon.