Sunday, November 11, 2012

Killing the fatted leek

Yesterday was a half-day at work, despite being a Saturday, and as a result I had to postpone the ongoing honey-do/pre-winter list work until the afternoon. The first problem was to deal with the rodent infestation in the basement. I had been working to keep them at bay, but after a busy week in which I didn't make time to get down to the basement, I was totally gutted to find a bunch of damaged tubers. This was very upsetting to me, because we don't grow all this lovely food to feed the bloody rats!

We've never had even so much as a mouse down there before, but now we seem to have invited the whole clan of barn rats down into the basement. Not fun. They'd damaged or half-eaten a lot of the spuds, and crapped or urinated on some of the rest. Our potato crop was at risk of being completely lost, unless we did something, and pronto.

I transferred the as-yet untouched spuds, about four-fifths of the total, to a hopefully rat-proof wooden bin, and added poison baits and a large kill-trap to the plastic baits that were already down there. I'll check daily until I know for sure that they're gone.

Then I wanted to use up the best of the potatoes that had already been nibbled, as well as cook up some of the other winter vegetables that are still available from the garden patch, primarily carrots and leeks at this point, although there should be some Brussels sprouts soon, perhaps in time for Thanksgiving. I washed and cleaned the nibbled spuds very carefully, of course. I had to throw out around ten pounds of completely written-off spuds. Aimee, for her part, assisted not at all by looking up Hanta virus on Wikipedia and reading the information aloud, between giggles at my expense! Very helpful.

(None of this stopped her eating the potatoes, once they were par-boiled and home-fried for today's breakfast.)

Despite this unasked for aid, while I was making par-boiled potatoes for the week, as well as some sautéed carrots, I still made leek-and-barley soup for Aimee, her favorite. This is the massive leek I used, just one of the ones we grew and not even the biggest.

Today, after a good breakfast of home fries, sausage and egg, it was back to the list. There was a place in the half-finished gable wall where the rain was getting in, the sheeps' water to sort with water heaters to protect against the frosty nights we are getting, the banking to do to prevent cold air getting into the kitchen, a crack in the hallway wall that has been leaking cold air into the conditioned part of the house from the cellar, the workshop to tidy and seep out, and a bunch of other smaller stuff.

It's already snowed once, thanks to the nor'easter that come by this week, adding to the misery of Hurricane Sandy's victims to the south of here. We had about three inches on the ground for a short while until it turned to rain. This of course gave me an excuse to drive the Land Rover to work Tuesday. The drive in to work was fine, with the plows having done their job well enough, but I ran into a hard-falling ice storm on the Dixmont/Jackson Route 7 pass on the way home, in the dark to boot (I teach night classes Tuesdays and Thursdays), and I was very glad of the four-wheel drive. I even used low range to descend the other side. With other vehicles in similar conditions, including the four-wheel drive Nissan truck, I've had to turn around on this pass before and go another route -- it goes up to 900 feet above sea level and also stops the breeze from the sea only fifteen miles away, and so gets some very nasty weather in a nor'easter. But there was no turning back this time -- the Rover did the job safely and gave me great confidence.

And so the Land Rover was used for what a Land Rover should be used for, and it worked just fine, considering it's nearly 42 years old. A veteran, but still fighting the good fight.

It's Remembrance Sunday in Britain and the Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Association is of course marching with the other veterans at the Cenotaph in Whitehall as usual. I'll watch later on the BBC. Our college's services will be tomorrow, when the US Veteran's Day will be observed.

Just another week of work left until Thanksgiving, and only three weeks after that until Christmas. It will be a sadder Christmas for me and my sister, with my Mum and Dad both passed now. (Mum died last December 27th, and Dad the summer before.) But I'm sure we'll manage to be festive. I'm looking forward to it.

Aimee just turned on the Sunday football, so it might be time to end this post. Yea, Sunday!

1 comment:

  1. The downstairs of my library (where I work) is the basement. We have turned it into the children's rooms. But my office/store room has a wall that is one big stone and it has a hole for the air vent to get out. Since I have worked there, we have had problems with mice. They seem to like to poop a lot on everything. They are the cutest things though, and I do not mind them. A few years ago, I had to get rid of some of our food items like sugar and coffee pods cause they chewed right through them. But this year I have actually discovered that they like to eat paper. More importantly my paper. They eat it and apparently use it to make nests. I only have this problem when the weather changes, usually Fall and Spring. I have also discovered they pee. Mice. Just never thought about that. Now the new director is up in arms because people freak when they see or hear about mice. I think of all the mice in children's books. Usually reading after hours with the library cat. Yes, we have a cat who is supposed to be keeping tabs on the mice. I think maybe they have become friends. Anywho, I feel your pain with regards to the food supply because I bet mice like potatoes and leeks better than paper. I think we will never get rid of them and maybe need to reach some kind of peaceful coexistence....since according to Douglas Adams they have the answer to the ultimate question to Life, the Universe and Everything...even if they do not know the question. Have a great week!


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