Welcome! Grab a cup of tea, and enjoy browsing some of the photos and stories. As the 'teawife,' it is my duty to watch and listen and be a supportive friend, and a loving mum and wife. I should post more often, but sticking my nose into everyone's business keeps me busy! Kathy the teawife

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dawn Rise at Buckingham Lake

One advantage of having jet leg and getting up early is the ability to catch dawn rise over our lake. During the winter, there are some amazing colors that merge and morph and change over Buckingham Lake, around 6:15 to 6:45. Each day is a little different. And, you can also so the lights and colors dance on the ice on the lake. Here are a variety of photos taken on the morning of December 13th. Enjoy!

Geese on the March

We've been awaiting a visitation by the geese this winter on our icy Buckingham Lake. Two Christmas holidays ago, the geese were on our property at least once a day. You could here them as they came into land on the ice, heralding their arrival with punctuated honks. 

Although they can leave a mess on our lawn, we rarely go to the lakeshore when it's iced up. And, the trade-off is the amusement they provide.

They are quite humorous as the tentatively place their webbed feet on the ice, skating as they go. Sometimes they lose their footing and plop on the icy surface (I can understand that!). Other times they chase each other around the ice, protecting their patch (not sure what is worth protecting!). At the lake edge, they are able to break through the young ice and nibble at submerged but fresh grass.

Mariana Butte and the area can see hundreds of geese at one time in one place. While commonplace, I don't think I'll ever take their presence for granted.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Need a better mousetrap (or a bigger boat)

We had a mousy problem. This is not uncommon in old English homes as the damp and cold relentless weather sets in for the winter. Many homes have entry points that mice love to exploit. Our garage is riddled with opportunities for scrawny rodents to slide inside.

The house has been refurbished countless times since it was first built in the 1930s. The wiring and plumbing in the garage look like some kind of Frankenstein experiment of bad engineering. Our bedroom is placed over the garage, and I sometimes wonder if we are just going to go boom in the middle of the night. Gas lines, hot water pipes, electric wires -- all cross over one another like some scary bowl of spaghetti. One spot that allows access for electrical wires into the circuit system in the house also allows access to clever mice.

We've been in the house for five winters now. From experience, the mice problem creeps up when you are not aware. They make themselves comfy, invite their friends, bring in the beer kegs, all while you mindlessly go about your business. UNTIL . . . you see signs. This time, I discovered evidence of mice activity in the laundry/storage room, where I keep the bird seed. Okay, you would expect them to hone in on the bird seed and stuff themselves silly. But no . . . instead they were more interested in special bags of Pamela's Gluten Free Pancake Mix, which I hand carry from the US to England. It's a rare and special stash. The plastic packaging is sealed completed and nearly impervious to outside forces, yet some mouse sniffed it out and gnawed open the package. They had to shimmy up the dryer and into the drawer of a storage unit that is 7 feet off the ground. Two bags of my precious flour were destroyed!

Where are those darned mouse traps anyway? We didn't have mice last winter, so I lost track of the traps. We have been using humane traps; Niall would then take captured mice on a car trip and release the buggers miles from the house. In case you aren't familiar with mice, they like chocolate, and peanut butter. Once the humane traps were found and dusted off, I used a Cadbury Dairy Milk Button as the bait.

Next morning, I surveyed the traps and found all three to be missing the chocolate! How did the mice manage to liberate the chocolate without trapping themselves. In addition, some smart alec mouse had climbed up our bar, where I had displayed some Christmas-themed chocolate animals, and eaten the arse out of a chocolate polar bear!

Hmmmmm . . . I needed a better mouse trap. I bought a slightly larger humane trap at the local 'iron mongers,' and baited all of my traps again. Eventually, we caught two mice, which were entered into the witness protection program and relocated to another section of Surrey.

However, one mouse remained, and he came to be known as Einstein, as he had perfected the ability to slide into traps and retrieve the chocolate and escape.

Now we needed a bigger boat! I was off to the iron mongers again, and it was time to play dirty. We bought a different kind of mouse trap, if you know what I mean, reading between the lines. Incredibly, this cagey mouse figured out how to steal the chocolate, set off the trap, and never get whammied. But not to be out done by a clever mouse, my clever hubby used the other favorite food of mice (peanut butter) as glue. He put a dollop of peanut butter onto the trap and stuck on the chocolate. Stealing the chocolate would be a sticky and tricky situation for Einstein.

The next morning heralded a sad day in the household for all mice kind. Einstein had finally met his match.