Thursday, November 30, 2017

A few days passed without any mouse sightings so we assumed it had returned to one of the Christmas boxes and was back out in the weather on the porch, until Monday evening when suddenly a grey streak darted from behind the bookcase disappearing under the TV cabinet...........again. 
The new catch-and-release trap came out of its box.  Easy directions in three simple pictures, allowed me to handle the set up.  No technology involved.  A very small piece of cheese with peanut butter on it was nudged toward the back with a pencil.  Since the TV cabinet seemed to be the mouse's favorite hiding spot, I set the trap behind the cabinet when we went to bed.  At 3:15 a.m. I was awakened to the sound of "yikes! i'm trapped!" ....scratch.......scratch...........scratch.  The cute little fella frantically tried to dig its way out of the slippery plastic container.  I flipped the back porch light on, set the trap next to the wood pile so he could make a quick get-away between logs, opened the trap, and I went back to bed and to sleep.  When I released the mouse, I noticed the food was still in the trap.  At some point, the mouse felt safe to go back in and get the cheese morsel because it was gone in the morning. 

I've been stumped about what Christmas card image or design I wanted to create this year.  Sometimes images come to mind easily.  Other times it's the first week of December pressure that forces some creativity and I'm not always thrilled about what I end up with on paper.  Authors and artists generally write or draw from life.  Christmas to me is a time for expressing love and is a very spiritual time so I get stuck focusing on what's in my heart and how to express it.  Suddenly yesterday the light bulb over my head lit up and I knew what this year's card image needed to be.  Late in the afternoon my sewing/art room is chilly so I put the heater on and sat at my drawing board sketching this year's card.  Happy with what I drew, I left it and went to the house.  Today after we had our senior coffee and read the Cherokee Scout, did some errands, and returned home, I decided to tackle the coloring on my sketch. My paints and supplies are kept in the large amoire that a friend built for me years ago when we lived in Florida.  I know a mouse has visited my room because it's left evidence so I recently put peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball to deter any further visitations. I wonder if it's the same mouse. It's how it is living in the wild. 

In my box of watercolors, my green is missing, totally empty and deposits of green are on the other paint cubes.  When I showed Cliff, he said a mouse licked the green and began licking the cube to the right.  So.....this year's Christmas card will express my mischievous little rodent companion.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Let the Christmas decorating begin! 

'Twas a month before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring........ except a grey mouse that kept running back and forth peeking out from behind the TV cabinet.

Boxes of decorations from the garage attic storage were placed on the back porch where we could begin some of the outside decorating. Wreaths with red bows were hung on the front windows.  The front porch pre-lit tree was fastened securely to the rails in case a Siberian front comes roaring through in late December.  Cliff set three boxes in the living room, assembled our inside tree, and began decorating.  After the supper dishes were stacked in the dishwasher and the kitchen cleaned, we sat back in our recliners, Christmas tree softly lighting the room, ready to watch The Christmas Train on the Hallmark channel when a tiny grey creature appeared, stopped in its tracks and darted back behind the TV cabinet.  Because my bare feet were up on the foot rest and I'm constantly moving my feet and toes, I thought maybe I glimpsed my movements. 

 Image result for christmas mouse

A few minutes later the mouse ran the perimeter of the room from the TV cabinet, under the drawn French door drapes, and disappeared from sight.  I do believe he was nesting in one of the Christmas boxes in the living room.  My sewing room in the garage has mouse evidence and a few of the boxes have been gnawed.  He or she probably was hoping for a nice warm home for the coming winter. 

With the little creature on the loose in the house at bedtime, I sprinkled peppermint essential oil at the bedroom door thresh-hold but not in the room.  Peppermint oil creates energy, not good at bedtime, but rodents don't like peppermint.  My sleep routine consists of a trip to the bathroom around midnight, never flipping the bathroom light switch on, then back to sleep.  Even in the dark last night, I detected a dark round half-dollar size shape sitting in the tub.  And this morning there was evidence that the cute little mouse had been there. 

This morning we put the Christmas boxes back out on the porch.  My theory is that the mouse returned to its box nest and is now on the porch the cold.  This morning after yoga I drove to Wayne's Feed Store, purchased a humane mouse trap, and set it behind the TV cabinet..... just in case the mouse has taken up residence with us. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Days leading up to a holiday bring me both anxiety and excitement.  The planning and all the food preparations before hand so everything comes together at the same time on Thanksgiving Day makes me crazy.  I'm my own worst enemy.  I become excited and energetic which leads to overkill in menu items.  So this time I decided to just stick to what we could eat and not overdo.  Barb was making dressing, two pies, and a cranberry recipe (mmmmm). The frozen turkey had been purchased a month ago and placed in the garage chest freezer.  This time of year, long stringy webs and filaments form everywhere glistening in the sunlight.  The sun's rays revealed  these webs and strings on the windows along with a dusty film deposited by vehicles from our dry gravel road.  Earlier this week the days were sunny with high-sixty temperatures, perfect for window washing.  Being cautious about overusing my left wrist, I wrapped a four-inch ace bandage around it and alternated hands when wiping down the panes. The screens needed cleaning and brushing, too, to remove all the dust and webs.  Our weather is so comfortable this time of year and so enjoyable that I tackled eight windows, inside and out.  All this time my rheumatologist is in my head, "Use, don't abuse.  Use, don't overuse."  I did behave myself as I didn't want to end up in his office with an painfully inflamed wrist.

Saturday evening Cliff brought the turkey into the house and placed it on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator to begin the thaw.  On Wednesday he peeled and chunked two butternut squash and two pounds of potatoes, the last of our own fall potatoes, and helped me pull the innards ( a Grandma Still vocabulary word) from the turkey.  I like to do the turkey like Vic and Retta do at 500 degrees in wine and water so every Thanksgiving before I cook the turkey, I call my sister and have her go over the directions again so I don't leave anything out.  Evidently, even after thawing since Saturday night, the twelve pound bird wasn't quite thawed enough to be done for one o'clock.  I had planned to let it set while Barb and I made gravy but the thermometer barely reached 140 degrees.  Back into the oven and checking every twenty minutes until it was finally ready around 2:30.  Thank goodness because the two men kept hovering around the kitchen getting underfoot and drooling like beagles.  The Thanksgiving feast was set on the kitchen island, more wine refilled our glasses, and we were thankful for friendships and family. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Traditionally on our birthdays, Cliff and I enjoy Flo's Filet at the Longhorn Steakhouse in Ellijay, GA.  This time I needed to branch out, be daring, and try somewhere new.  In my online search, I knew immediately I'd discovered my new favorite restaurant.  The menu reflects a southern twang, supports local farmers and suppliers.  Harvest on the Main's menu features farm-to-table cuisine.  Right up my alley.  The restaurant is only a few miles up the road from the Tin Loong Buffet, where we eat  many Sunday dinners.  Blue Ridge, GA is a quaint mountain town with specialty shops and a variety of amazing restaurants.

I ordered Bramlett Farms trout with Jasmine rice, black bean hummus, green beans, pickled tomatoes, and a large side salad.

Cliff ordered an 8-pound all beef hot dog.  Not really 8 pounds.
Eight-ounce hot dog, home made sauerkraut, house baked beans, with Chef Danny's apple mustard relish.

Our server, Alexandra, was delightful and cheery.  My kind of people.  She brought me chocolate mousse for my birthday celebration.  And it gets better.................

This is what you see on the way to the ladies' room!
My birthday is actually the 15th but Harvest on Main is closed on Wednesdays so I chose today.  Our afternoon was relaxing and enjoyable.  We will eat there again and it's a great restaurant to take our guests. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The mountains show signs of fall but leaf colors aren't as bold and brilliant as previous years.

 Last Sunday we drove the winding road through the Ocoee Gorge heading for Chattanooga and so, it seems, did everyone else.  Leaf peepers shouldn't have been disappointed as the leaf color along the Gorge outdid our local display.  Once we got out of our long stretch of a rainy pattern, we had a few early morning freeze warnings with days reaching high 50's and sunny skies.  I don't mind the time change bringing dusk around 5:30 because it lasts only about four month which brings me into spring.  The garden is quiet.  Cliff and I brought the kubocha squash to the back porch this afternoon.
 The largest squash weighs over 28 pounds. 
Italian parsley continues to grow, not effected by the freezes, kind of like cockroaches. 
                                                   Italian parsley and a small squash
Mustard greens, collards, and kale still thriving.  Probably will even when covered with snow.  I sprinkle baby talc on the leaves because something is chewing the leaves when I'm not looking.
Red bok choy, never heard of it, from my CSA delivery on Thursday.  Belonging to the fall CSA has inspired me to research new recipes for greens. 
Fresh garden celery, so tasty.
Fresh bok choy.  Even though we didn't grow up on these, eating from the garden brings memories of Riverview St. and good living. 
Newest addition to our garage is a rooster from Cliff's mother (when she was alive).  It's been hanging around for years because we didn't know how to do it justice.  We knew it should be placed on the garage but neither of us had a vision.  Our neighbor up the road is quite creative and is always puttering around his yard so I picked his brain and he came up with this solution.