It has been a challenging week, what with the shooting of that innocent young soldier in Ottawa. I’m still rattled that some evil coward could commit such an atrocity in a sacred place. We have to get accustomed to remembering more often and being grateful every day to the men and women who helped secure our freedoms, not just on November 11th.remember

Hub and I have been toiling away at getting the gardens and garage ready for winter. It’s such a reverse of what we do in the spring, when we fling out the deck furniture, take down our bicycles from their hooks and uncover the tender shrubbery. It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were shucking our heavy clothes, impatient to sit out on the deck in a sunny spot. Now it’s time to clear out the cottons and summer sports gear and get out the woolens and boots. I have to get back to my writing. But I’m feeling discombobulated and just not inspired. Physical labour might do the trick of freeing the clogs from my brain.

All of the yard equipment – the tractor, whipper-snipper, tools, golf bags and carts, work table, table saw, compressor, flame-thrower, etc., etc. and the smoker and the barbecue – have to be tidied up, serviced for winter and tucked out of the way. We’ve been piling up next year’s garage sale goods in the garden shed. That sale will be Hub’s adventure, as I loathe the cheap creeps who swan onto the driveway in their beater cars or rusty trucks, manhandle the goods and try to get the products for 10% of what they’re already bargain-basement prices are. That’s not bargain-hunting, it’s offensive cheapery. Honestly, I’d rather bag everything up and donate the stuff to Goodwill.

The purpose of all of this activity is to make enough space to get both our vehicles inside. I refuse to have the yard stuff tucked up nice and snug while I’m outside in the blowing cold scraping off my windshield. Bad enough it was semi-frosty when I pulled out yesterday at 8:30 in the morning. Getting it done before Halloween seems like a good idea. The other thing we do is batten down the hatches – what’s out is out and what’s in is in.

My motto is: animals and insects outside; people inside. We’ve put out pounds and pounds of warfarin to ward off the legions of field mice who think it’s okay to chew their way through anything that appears to be edible. Hub has done the peanut-butter and mouse trap laying in the attic and in the drop ceiling in our offices. On the first go-round last week he found half a dozen fat carcases. This week, when he heard some scuffling overhead and went to look, he disposed of three more. They’re persistent, that’s for sure. I guess it’s one of the side-effects of living in the country.

Critters beware

Critters beware

The sky is turning dark and the wind has picked up. Hub is all bundled up on the tractor, mowing the hayfield that our lawn has become. Once that’s dry, he’ll run the big sweeper and I’ll have lots of rich clippings and chopped leaves for mulch.

After a lunch of lentil, mushroom and swiss chard soup with crusty bread, we’ll go on the hunt for more mouse-sized entry holes and close them up with purple spray foam. It’s damned disconcerting to be sitting at my desk listening for the scuttle of rodent feet nibbling at the peanut butter in the mouse traps.

We might not be able to outwit the little critters but by god we’ll make it more of a challenge for them to try to co-habitate with us during the winter.