Friday, October 10, 2014


It's still very dark at 5 a.m., but I'm awake. I hear the scratching sound. It's a critter. Mouse, probably. But where? I pick up the bedside flashlight and shine it around the room. Ed sleeps. Isie, perched at my feet on the bed, watches. Nothing. Quiet. I turn out the light. Scratch, scurry, scratch. Light on -- nothing.

I turn to Isie: are your mouser days really over, pal? Isie is getting old. He looks at me, looks out at the corner of the room, then waits.

There's nothing to be done. The critter is probably inside the wall somewhere and the entry points are too numerous to contemplate. Ed plasters spots and fixes old boards all the time, but in a house this age, you cannot ever hope to seal it.

It's time to bring out the traps. A ritual for us. Every Fall, out they come, staying with us until the last sign of frost in May.

Last year, by springtime, the generation of mice learned how to enter and exit the traps without closing them. I think it's physically impossible to do this, but somehow, come morning, the peanut butter would be gone and the trap would have no mouse in it. Still, we caught and released a good dozen in the course of the winter. This year, since Ed isn't traveling, we're hoping for an even higher success rate. And a dumber mouse family.

Ed goes to the basement and brings up a favorite little plastic contraption. What's this -- he looks at it curiously. It's got stuff inside!
What, a decomposed mouse?
No no, stuff!

It seems that a mouse has been building a nest. Inside the trap. Now that's a new one!

In the meantime, the skies are once more beautiful and blue, even as we start off the day with a brisk 33.3 degrees. One degree less and I would have lost my annuals. Now they're safe for another week outside. After, I'll have to decide which I want to try to winter over.

Friday is a tech meeting day for Ed and typically I grocery shop, but I am a little off schedule, having shopped after my return, so I decide to go into town and have my laptop checked. It was making very loud noises all last night during the government board meeting on the future of the development to the east and north of us (I got quoted in the local paper, so I must have chosen my soundbites well!).

And so, after breakfast...


(and a quick look out at pockets of the yard...)


...on the way to the Apple Store, I make two stops - both wistful, but in very different ways.

First, I go to the Underground Butcher. I have an errand there, of a non-meat variety. They sell other stuff there as well. For example:


But honestly, when I'm there, I just a tiny bit regret that we don't eat red meat. These people do meat so well that you want to reconsider your position on being a reluctant meat eater. At least I do. Ah well. Must not succumb to temptation.

The second stop is one where I can indulge, because the feast is entirely visual. It's one of my favorite spots for Autumnal walks in the city -- Owen Woods.


And I notice that Fall is actually late this year. The typically vibrant gold of the forest has a ways to go yet.


Still, it's a beautiful place, even now.


A good half hour spin is almost medicinal in what it does to your heart and soul.


And now comes the dreadful mall, offset in its awfulness by the greatness of the Apple store, where the tech crew is always so fantastic and so helpful that it makes my heart sing, albeit in different ways than in the forest.

Finally, I'm home. The light is so different at the farmette now. The front north facing flower bed is nearly always in shade. The path to the shed, too, receives little sunlight. (It's better on the other side of December: the days are still short, the angle of the sun is the same, but without leaves on our numerous trees, the days are actually much brighter.) The cheepers hardly forage and the hens lay eggs sporadically (Scotch -- not at all). You really feel the pulse of the day slowing down.

And that may not be such a bad thing.

I dig a little, by myself. (Ed is still at his meetings.) No, not entirely by myself. The cheepers rouse themselves and join me and I feed Oreo worms from the shovel, to remind him that we're friends. The light fades, the cheepers rest under a cart loaded with pulled rose bushes. I coax them out for a pre-bedtime seed snack.


And for Ed and me, what dinner? Time to make chili. It surely is the season for it.