Saturday, September 1, 2012

An Update From The Canyon

Just before the morning sun clears the mountain ridges.

So, of course I didn't accomplish a whole lot in my week off from blogging. My clean-up project is moving along at a snail's pace. Talk about snails, I highly recommend the book I'm reading right now, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. It's about a woman suffering from a strange virus that keeps her bedridden. A friend picks up a snail on a walk through the woods and brings it to her. The snail lives in a terrarium by the author's bedside and becomes a much valued companion. It may sound strange, but I will never look at a snail the same way again. Of course, I'm not likely to ever see a snail again since we don't have them here.

Wild sunflowers are decorating our roadsides. I stopped, took a ton of pictures and none came out well. This is the best one I can share.

Hubby's container garden first got hit by caterpillars, like the one in the upper right. They are really difficult to locate and remove. After much work, the garden was healthy again, but not for long. It was suddenly discovered by ground squirrels and mice, who climbed up the fence of the dog run and onto the platform on top, where the plants are. All the tomatoes and cherry tomatoes gone! Just like that. Every kind of pepper left alone, so at least we have that. Hubby's filled with revenge and sets mouse traps every evening. He catches as many mice as traps set. I think he's up to about 18 mice after a week.

 Then he drops them by the road side and Mama Raven comes along, fusses for a while, making sure this is neither a joke nor a trap, picks up the mouse, eats it on top of a telephone pole with her young adult ravens looking on, longingly. YA ravens usually get some leftovers, I have observed. 

Yesterday, I did some laundry. Our washing machine is in the shed. As I picked the clothes out of the washer to hang on the line, I grabbed them without looking and suddenly I grabbed something strange! I let out a big yelp, or I should say, I screamed in sheer surprise. I had picked up a mouse! A well-washed and spin-dried mouse, but a mouse nevertheless! Ah, country living, how sweet it is. Needless to say, I washed the clothes one more time.

Every morning, I wake up to the contented sounds of the quail as they gather outside the bedroom window, picking away at insects and seeds in the yard. They have almost raised their young by now and are such dedicated parents. I hope they are proud of a job well done. They are often joined by hundreds of house finches and other little birds that have
filled my summer mornings with so much joy.

 Samson and Soldier are both doing well. Samson's happy the weather has turned cooler. It was 38F this morning and we were all pretty frisky on our morning walk. 

Soldier is doing well too. He gets one pain pill at night and is ready for his march every morning. Sometimes his hind leg drags, but pain or not, he will march on to that strange drummer in his head. 

If you saw this old dog walk, you would understand what I'm talking about. He is very, very tough. It has been ten months now since he was so very injured and in so much pain we thought we would have to put him down.

The gray rabbit brush is beginning to bloom. I think it's about a month early, maybe because of the heat we've had. It is a pesky weed that requires a tractor, which we don't have, to remove. It is very invasive and, as you can see here, grows very large if left to its own devices. I am determined to find a way to get rid of it, at least some of it. But it is pretty for a few weeks in the fall of each year.

Other than that, all we did this week was to go to Bakersfield so I could see my diabetes doctor. All is well with me in that respect, something I am enormously grateful for. Yesterday, we gathered all the trash and went to the dump. This morning, I dug some little irrigation furrows so I could water the trees in the back yard. On one side there's no hose at all, on the other it's too short. But I've done it this way for six years now and the trees are still alive. I love everything about this country life so much, wish we had done it when we were younger. But, better late than never......

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone.


  1. Go kväller, borde vara i säng (23.43 här) skall upp tidigt imorgon.
    Vilken kul inlägg med dina bravader med möss.
    Ja vi har möss i trädgården som vara den. Det är mycket i år säger de. Tyra gräver upp hela trädgården (3700kvm ) som ett vildsvin och hon lär dem små. Vi har hittat minst 10 möss som de tagit. Vi har även tagit inne i huset i fälla. På sommaren brukar man ju inte behöva det. Vintern ja, vi har torpargrund på huset o det kommer in så är det bara.
    FIna bilder du tagit...vackert.
    Nu skall jag till sängs o säger God Natt! Kram!

  2. Inger, your header is gorgeous! As for the mice...aren't there any small hawks out your way to help protect the garden from them?...:)JP

  3. Dear Inger, your posting make me think that moving to the country would be meaningful and fulfilling. I also read a blog by Teresa Evangeline (
    and she too has returned to the country--in Minnesota. Maybe what's happened is that the grass is appearing greener on the other side, but maybe also I'm longing for land to cultivate and walk on and discover and observe nature abiding. What it is, I'm grateful to you. Peace.

  4. That first picture, with the clouds, made it seem the sky was on fire. Delightful.

    Glad to know that you are all doing well. The caterpillars and mice, too well, but, um, you're working on that. And the quails, too, look like they're doing just fine.

    Life in the country is rich, in ways other than money.

  5. Goats would probably get rid of that brush for you but you would need fencing.

  6. glad you are all doing well and that the heat level has dropped, there. we're still having 100s this weekend. but we did get a break for a week or so with 90s. :)

    the mice are put to good use for the ravens. laughed at the mouse wash, though!

  7. Eeek about the mouse! Yuck, I would have screamed, too.
    I love the quail. I think their little top-knot is so cute.
    Happy Labor Day to you!

  8. I just popped over to Amazon, saw the book--& bought it! Looks interesting!

  9. God puts you in the right place at the right time, you probably wouldn't have been in the right frame of mind when you were younger.

    Lovely observations on the rural life-style Inger.

    It's funny, I recently posted on those pesky mice.
    Glad I'm not alone in that respect!

    Have a wonderful evening.

  10. I know I say this every time, but, I just love your pictures and think where you live is gorgeous.

  11. Hi Inger,
    I love CA. quail and miss not having them here. Crows and ravens we have lots of and pheasant but not quail. Those sunflowers remind me that when I was a kid and went up to Modoc Co. to our cabin those sunflowers grew alongside the road where the dirt was loose. I really loved those. I need to go back there once. Nan

  12. You seem to have had a busy week, and eek about the mice. Beautiful sunflowers.
    Enjoy your Sunday!

  13. love that header shot and the pesky weeds that are in it. i love weeds and these are glad the pain pill is allowing my soldier boy to walk. yesterday i saw a man that appeared to be in his 90's with a dog that looked like he was in his 100's. they would walk 4 steps and stop for a few seconds, walk 4 and stop. i got tears in my eyes as i drove along, watching the two struggle to walk.
    you live in such a beautiful place. if i were there i would have to have 10 external hard drives to hold all my photos. have not seen wild sunflowers, daisy's and sunflowers are my favorites. i would love to see a field like this. great post.

  14. i got so caught up in my own story did not comment on the MOUSE story. I loved every word of it and got a few chuckles and smile. bob traps rats in our garage, we got 7 in one morning. they come in when it rains. he uses a piece of beef jerky stick and they can't pass it up. great idea to feed them to the ravens.

  15. Hi Inger .. crumbs - so pleased I don't get mice to wash! There seems to be an outbreak of mice in the States this year ...

    Creatures need food too - so nice of you both to leave some for them, and then they for you !!

    Love the photos ... cheers Hilary

  16. So glad you are doing better.I think the heat this year got everyone ina bad mood.At least your weather is changing and cooling down,would love some of that right about now.I'm sure Samson and your other dog is feeling good.As for the mice try cayenne pepper I heard it will deter small things in the garden and around the house.

  17. My husband, who is from New Orleans, and a strong believer in peppers of all kinds dusted his plants until they looked more red than green with cayenne pepper. Didn't deter these critters, but thanks for thinking of us. And J. P. we have owls that hunt at night, I just read an owl book, Wesley, and found out that owl babies eat hundreds of mice every day, so there must be an incredible number of mice around. As long as they stay outside, they don't bother me, but in my washing machine, no way!!! Thanks to all of you for your comments.

  18. Ohhh my goodness. That sounds like an awful lot of mice!!! least...the mouse was...clean? ;)

  19. You didn't mention whether the mouse was dead or alive? Or maybe I missed that in my horror at the image you presented. I would have screamed bloody murder if I found a mouse in the laundry!! I'm the kind of person who jumps up on a chair when I see one.

  20. Loved your spin-dried mouse story!
    We're fighting a losing battle with the squirrels, raccoons and the occasional skunk. They all like to share our garden produce. Somehow they always know when the fruit/veg is ripe and. We have to be vigilant and get it just on the cusp as it ripens. I fear the apples will be a loss this year. our first crop and I may not get to taste them.To lose all the tomatoes would be so sad. Revenge is understandable.

  21. Mouse.. yuck! My mom once slipped her foot into her shoe and it had a mouse in it! Did she ever squeal!!

  22. Your life is so rich and colorful, Inger, with so many little critters in and out - but, er, I'd scream, too, if I saw a mouse in the washing machine. I don't blame your hubby one bit for wanting and getting revenge. A garden's a lot of work -- those mice had no right! (Just like the squirrel who stole my tulip bulbs. I'd love to toss that squirrel into the gumbo pot, er, figuratively speaking!)

    You're right about global warming. I'm clueless as to why so many say it doesn't exist.

  23. Sounds like you keep very busy! Tell your husband there's a book on called 'Squirrel Wars: Backyard Wildlife Battles & How to Win Them.' I found a used copy once...

  24. Madge: Thanks for the tip about the book, I will check it out. I haven't signed up for Google+ so couldn't leave a comment on you blog.

  25. I have to say that the snail book does interest me a bit! Surprised that you found a mouse in your washing machine. Oh dear...I would not have liked that!

  26. May I please send you some palmetto bugs that need a good scrubbing?


  27. Yuck-o to the mouse in the wash! I've done that with a June bug this summer, but it fell out of the clothes before I had to to actually touch it.

    Beautiful pictures! Happy Labor Day!

  28. Thank you Richard and thanks to everyone for leaving comments.

  29. Loved the post and catching up with your desert country life. Country living everywhere is full of work and surprises and beauty, isn't it?

  30. Inger, you are truly living and loving the country life. Th 'washed' mouse story was hilarious!! Probably didn't know what hit it!


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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