Brrrr, goodbye Summer, and welcome Winter! It has been rather chilly around these parts for the past few days! I had almost forgotten what it feels like to be cold. I put on one layer, then another, and another, until feeling surprised at the amount of clothes I was wearing, remembered that this is what I normally wear in winter! I am resisting lighting the fire (really, March is a bit too soon), although with the temperature forecast to drop to 3C /37F tonight, I’m not sure how long that resolution will last!
The drop in temperatures has brought about a fresh burst of enthusiasm for finishing things!
At long last, I have finished the Mattingley Jumper. It is a very easy knit, and should have been finished ages ago. I just got distracted by the socks… I used a natural alpaca/merino blend (a small NZ producer that no longer makes yarn) and I really like how it turned out. There is the natural annoyance that the sweater doesn’t make me look as svelte as the model in the pattern: a) she’s obviously quite a bit lighter than me, and b) her jumper was worn with at least a couple inches of positive ease, whereas mine has zero ease. Never mind, I shall enjoy wearing it, and too bad I am not of modelesque proportions.
The cold weather has brought about an unwelcome event: the rats and mice have returned.
When we moved into this house, I saw the hot water cupboard full of rat and mouse traps, and the little droppings – evidence of why the traps were in there. I found the rat hole gnawed into the wall of the cupboard. I noted it all, uncomfortably. For those who don’t know, a hot water cupboard is where we put the hot water cylinder in NZ – in my case, my cylinder is very old and the pipes not well insulated, which makes it very warm and comfortable place for cold, furry, rodents. During summer, when it was warm, the rats and mice lived outside. The colder temperatures of the past few days have driven then back inside – obviously, to their familiar winter residence.
I have been looking for evidence of rodent life in the house and garden all summer, but found none. I hoped that the traps in the cupboard were for a one-off incident.
Last night, dozing in my chair with the cat on my lap, he suddenly leaped off my lap and ran to the cupboard, sniffing excitedly under the door. I put my ear to the cupboard, and sure enough, heard little scratchings and patterings inside…. Sigh. I let the cat into the cupboard, and very gingerly shut the door. Unfortunately, the miscreants had long since disappeared, back into the hole that I had so carefully taped shut (now gnawed open).
The worst was yet to come. I went to bed, and had just fallen asleep, when there was the very.loud.sound of Gnawing in my ROOM!!! Frantically, I called the cat to come, and focused the torch beam under the shelving where the sound had come from. I found two holes in the floorboards that I hadn’t noticed when I moved in, and a panel in the skirting that had obviously been repaired. Hmm. This was bad. There is obviously a rat’s nest behind the wall.
The cat belatedly arrived, and very considerately stayed in my room for the rest of the night, staring fixedly at the space under the shelf.
This evening after work, I got the rat trap out of the garage. It is a Dept. of Conservation box model, and designed to deliver a quick and humane death to the animal who steps on the spring-loaded plate to get at the food beyond. (It has a very small opening for the rat/mouse/stoat to creep through, and will not cause harm to other animals besides those that creep through the opening). I used it to deal effectively to the rats who lived in my compost heap previously. Then, I boarded over the holes in the floor of my room, and for good measure, weighted them with bricks. There will be no ratty incursions into my room, thank you very much!
Tonight, I will load up the box trap with a nice, delicious, juicy peanut butter and honey sandwich. A tasty little oaty treat awaits the mice in the hot water cupboard. Snap!! Snap!! We will see how many times I have to do that before we get rid of all my unwelcome house guests!