Saturday, 25 February 2023

Just Chilling

We're slowly climbing out of the depths of a typically cold and stormy February. My winters are really holidays with nothing much to do except keep warm, well fed and entertained. I double my grocery orders in case storms might discourage driving.
Hot chocolate with honey is a welcome winter comfort.


Well, I do have a few responsibilities and one of them is to keep my snowblower in good nick. After discovering that it's carburetor was gummed up earlier, I'm making a few changes with it. From now on, I will only use 91 grade gasoline. It contains no ethanol which smaller engines do not like. Also, I'll drain the tank and fuel bowl for summer storage. But there is another problem. This time not caused by me but by mice building nests among the carburetor linkages. A chap told me that he put an end to mice bothering his boat by putting out bars of Irish Spring soap. He said it completely kept them away. So I bought some of that soap and set it around my snowblower. The mice were not repelled. In fact, they seemed to like the taste! So on to plan 'B'. I've ordered rodent repelling balls containing peppermint oil.

In short time, mice started to consume these bars. Deterrent failure!
Plan B's product on order.


*   *   *   *   *

I'm currently reading a fascinating book! Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Things that baffled me about our species now make more sense. Weird and (to us) unjust rules were meant to control the masses. For instance, Babylonian King Hammurabi (reigning from c. 1792 to c. 1750 BC) divided his subjects into two genders and three classes: superiors, commoners and slaves. The life of a female commoner was worth thirty silver shekels and that of a slave-woman twenty silver shekels, whereas the eye of a male commoner was worth sixty silver shekels. And of course, he got his instruction and authority directly from the gods. (Sound familiar?)


*   *   *   *   *

I finally succumbed to Amazon's Prime subscription pitch. After all, I seem to be ordering more things on line and would likely come out even with free delivery. Also, it includes Prime video. I enjoyed re-watching Gosford Park and Sing. Gosford Park's murder was a bit of a stretch for the imagination but the scenery and costumes were gorgeous! And the 2016 movie, Sing, was an animated and musical delight.

It was the beeswax candles that impressed me in this Gosford Park scene.
Sing's Miss Crawly delivers a message to Buster Moon.


*   *   *   *   *

Outside my windows are the usual cast of real life characters. The furred and feathered stars of my backyard:

My feeders get occasional visits from Red-Bellied woodpeckers.
She takes a good helping from the suet feeder.
These guys really stand out against the snow.
My aging spruce trees are quite an attraction for Pileated woodpeckers.
There are always plenty of hoppies about.
I fastened fluorescent tape atop a pole as a wind indicator.



  1. Florence, I was honest-to-God thinking about you this morning.. March is almost here and a new Buzz n' Flutter was overdue. :^) First of all, I love your cheery hot cocoa mug--second, I actually said "Oh my Lord" aloud when I saw those nibbled Irish Springs!! (FYI, that's been my only brand of soap for 35 years!) Third, your book about Humankind sounds fascinating--you're always reading good stuff! Fourth, your nature photos do not disappoint--loved seeing those woodpeckers up close! Fifth (and unrelated to your lovely post here) what's the status on your new doors? I envy all your snow, we got next to nothing this winter here in Pittsburgh! Okay I've rambled on enough--enjoyed your post very much!

  2. It's partly your encouragement, Doug, that keeps me jotting down these little blurbs. That book is really interesting! Especially the role of myths and imagination in organizing our species into affiliations. Ah, my doors -- about once a month I get an email from the company telling me they expect to deliver and install sometime in March. Meanwhile, my old doors are leaking cold air like crazy despite my attempts to block the drafts. Looking forward to new doors but not the stress of watching workmen butcher the old openings in the process. I'll forgo caffeine on the eventual day.

  3. Hi Florence, sorry you are having problems with mouse in your carb linkages! I have heard the Irish Spring idea but never tried it. I have heard and tried peppermint oil to repel various critters and found that worked for me. Our winters are similar to yours. Keeping warm and fed. Today it was 1.5° F when we woke up. Miss Kitty and I stuck our noses out the back door for 2.8 seconds and shut the door. Luckily it warmed up to 10°F by 10:00 or so and we were able to get out for a walk. I love all your backyard visitors. Yesterday a male Cardinal hung around eating bittersweet berries for ten minutes or so. Smart you putting up fluorescent tape to tell the wind direction. A neighbour has a flag I look for. Like Doug I have been wondering about your new doors. Stay warm and enjoy your hot chocolate!❤️

    1. Ah Robin! You are another reason I keep posting. I'm glad to hear you had success with peppermint oil because I have some on order. Wind direction was very important to my mother and now to me. Both East and West winds make my old house very drafty. If there's a strong East wind, I shut the hall door. If a strong West wind, I put a tarp over the outer west door. If my new doors are air tight I'll be surprised and delighted! Interesting about the bittersweet berries and cardinals. One thing I like about this very cold temperature is the squeakiness of snow underfoot. Also -- no mosquitos!!!

  4. Another wonderful post Florence. I also enjoy a little honey in my tea from time to time. I've tried countless things to deter mice but the only thing that works well is my humane trap. I carry them off down past the little pond to release them. I usually catch ten or so each fall and then it stops. Meanwhile, I have watched Gosford Park several times, wonderful scenes and performances. I also watched the director's cut with grandson and found out that the dinner time scenes were filmed unusually with all the actors conversing at once and a camera moving around them filming. They also had a local cook come to show the actors how it would have been done in those times even to practicing the beating of batter in a bowl. How clever you are to notice wind directions. Here we are battling an unusual amount of snow and ice accumulate on the roof and slowly side off on milder days. Most ever!! You take care!

    1. Yes, I thought this winter gave us an extra amount of snow! You have a tender heart for mice, Jocelyn! I have a snap trap in the cellar which stops them from colonizing the house. I don't get many and their bodies are eagerly recycled by bluejays or ravens. Any that are caught but still living are set free away from the house and given my best wishes. I received my mice repellent order. They smell suspiciously like moth balls and are now discontinued. I do think they will stop mice from nesting in my snowblower though. Oh, as well as eye candy, Gosford Park provided a treat for my ears. After I bought it's soundtrack on CD, I even bought piano sheet music for one of it's songs. (Land Of Might-Have-Been) By the way, I love your current masthead needlepoint!!!


Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm always glad to hear from you and appreciate the time you take to comment.