Dear Nature

Writing 101, day 8 – write a letter

I thought I’d drop a line to see how you are.  To be honest, I’ve been a bit worried about you lately. You seem to have been, well, let’s say, a bit of a drama queen lately.  What with all the whipping up the wind, and lashing down with the rain, and frankly, no-one likes the fog and the drizzle. Also you seem to have lost your blue paintbrush, preferring to use that nasty gun-metal grey to wash the sky.  Of course, that means there’s not a lot of green either.  Ok, the red and golds are quite nice, but really, they do look better under a sunny sky.

And while we’re on the subject… those leaves.  Look, I know there’s this arrangement with the trees, that you give their branches a rest from time to time, but please could you organise it so that you don’t get into a huff just as the leaves have fallen.  It gets so darn messy. Leaves bloomin’ everywhere.  Couldn’t you just blow them into a neat pile, instead of trying to see how much of a blanket you can cover my garden with?

Oh, and the acorns.  Look, I know trees have to procreate, but do they actually need to produce a gazillion acorns? Surely half a dozen would be enough. Let’s face it, there’s not much to be done with umpteen bins worth of acorns. Even the squirrels are quite overwhelmed.

Now, you know how much I love the animals in my garden don’t you? It’s lovely to see the birds feeding, find hedgehogs wandering about, see the squirrels running along the fence, or find tiny mouse holes here and there.  But there are just a few teeny tiny adjustments that I’d be really grateful if you could make.

Firstly, the birds.

Please ask them not to poop on my patio table. It’s really not nice.  They’ve got their own bird table to poop on if they must.

The Hedgehogs

When will they learn to keep out of the way of my dog? They wander about in the middle of the garden at night, and the dog makes a beeline for them and won’t leave them alone.  I have to go out there with a flashlight, in my jimmyjams and slippers, and physically drag her away.  Could they stay in the far corners please?  There is after all, plenty of piles of leaves for them to hide under.

The Squirrels

Oh they’re so cute.  They gallop along the top of the fence, their fluffy tails bobbing and swooshing.  They tussle entertainingly with the birds as they hurtle along branches.  They’re great.  But…. Would you see to it that they stop burying acorns in the middle of the lawn please?  I’m going to have an oak forest there this time next year I think.

The Mice

I love the mice. Their cute little hands. They’re so teeny tiny. Who’d a thunk that they could do so much damage? They’ve chewed the garden cushions that live in the shed y’know? And they find their way into my house sometimes.  If they’d just stay where they are supposed to be and eat what they’re supposed to eat we’d get along just fine.  Errmm… that goes for the spiders too.

I should elaborate.  You know I have this thing about spiders.  A phobia.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t not like them, they just give me the heebie jeebies. They can’t help being spiders and I know they don’t really mean to scare the living daylights out of me. Why oh why oh why do they have to come into my house though? I’ve got nothing for them to eat.  Those mega granddaddy spiders who run across my carpet when I’m sitting minding my own business, they are asking for trouble (not from me, I just scream, but my husband insists on squishing the poor things).  They can live a long and quiet life if they just spin a pretty web, away from where I’m likely to walk into it (ewww…) maybe decorate the trees with their lace, and we can cohabit without incident for either of us.

Oh sorry, I seem to have gone on a bit and it’s all about my problems, but as usual, you are causing havoc across the globe one way or another – droughts here, floods there, hurricanes, earthquakes.  What the hell is that all about? It would be nice if you could take a few breaths and just calm yourself.  It would be so much easier if everywhere was temperate.  No one place too hot or too cold.  No one without water, and no-one with ruined properties.

It’s got to rain now and again, so let’s have a proper downpour that leaves proper puddles, not this general weepy dampness.  If we’ve got to have clouds, let’s have a few breaks in them so we can look up and say ‘I can see blue’ now and again. I’m sure you’d feel better for it too.

Anyhoo, I’m sorry to nag, but as I said, I’ve been a bit worried about you. However, I have to say that red sky this morning was mesmerising.  Good job!

Best wishes

K

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How to catch a mouse….gently

Just lately we have had a bit of an invasion or tiny furry friends, which I wouldn’t mind too much, but they are inclined to eat my vegetables (these ones seem particularly partial to sweet potatoes) and electrical wires. They don’t seem to be tremendously toilet trained either…

I’m not one for killing creatures of any sort (nope, not even spiders) and fortunately neither was my dad.  It was him who taught me this humane method of catching mice-es.  I can remember him bringing one of the successful ‘traps’ up to my bedroom when I was quite young to show me the cutest tiny field mouse running around inside.

I believe (never say never) that I have caught all of the current army.. my record was four in one day… and now we seem to be tiny visitor free.  However, I would say that once caught you do need to take them as far away as possible to release them, otherwise they are liable to return to the warm haven of your home.  This was confirmed when one of our teeny friends damaged his tail and we were able to identify him from that twice more.  I think he was a bit gullible!!

Anyhoo…. for those who are as soft as I am, here is my pretty foolproof method for the gentle capture of a mouse:

You will need:

A heavyish bowl

A piece of board – I use an old chopping board

A penny or equivalent coin

Flour and water paste

Chocolate biscuits

Method:

Spread a thick flour and water paste on to the back of a piece of chocolate biscuitDSC_0784

Stick the biscuit fairly high up on the side of the bowl – enough so a mouse needs to reach up and tug to get at it!DSC_0783

Turn the bowl upside down on the piece of board and balance the edge underneath the piece of biscuit on the penny. This is a little tricky but you will win with a bit of patience!DSC_0787

The mouse will be able to get in to the bowl without knocking the penny over, but will disturb it as soon as he tries to get at the biscuit and hey presto…..IMG_1153You can then lift the board together with the mouse in the bowl and carry both outside where you can watch your unharmed furry friend scurry safely away!