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Monday, January 28, 2013

Letters to M. Nov 2012

Hi M, 
Your black cat halloween costume is so cute! My little black cat (called Freya) is very jealous! She wasn't allowed out for Hallowe'en - although she is not interested in going out at night now anyway (she says) because the weather is cooler.

We had a busy Hallowe'en in Morrisburg, as usual I invite my Mom for an early supper and we sit in the front lobby handing out treats. We were busy - although we had stocked up with a lot of candy, we were down to almost none left by 8pm. Too bad for Mom, Don and me...we didn't have many leftovers for ourselves!

One big change this year was that a lot of the kids, big and small, had fantastic face makeup...the costumes were pretty fun, although there were a lot of Batmen and little Darth Vaders...which is creepy in someone 3 feet high!

We also saw some kids going round in large groups - up to 10 at a time - walking along, burdened by huge pillowcases full of swag. One girls had a folding shopping trolley - she was the smart one I think! One poor lad arrived at the door in one of these gangs with only a small plastic supermarket bag, which was straining to contain his loot. He plaintively asked if I could give him another bag...luckily I keep a lot of bags handy and he went away happy. His reward for the night was only limited by his stamina now!

I always feel a bit conflicted about Hallowe'en round here...many, if not most of the kids are already suffering from eating too many candies and junk food. I just hope their parents can save them from getting sick after eating too much!

Take care guys! 

Hi M,

It's sad to hear that your hair is coming out! will grow back really soon - and we hope it protects the daffodils from the squirrels - although they are pretty determined animals and seem to dig up the garden at random all the time, so they might find flower bulbs by accident. 

We have seen more squirrels than usual this Fall...they are chasing one another over the lawn, up on our deck, up the grapevine, onto the roof of the house and onto the big walnut tree...then onto the neighbour's roof...and so on. Of course we have so many squirrels because we have a walnut tree! And our other neighbour has an oak tree that produces big, fat, acorns! So as far as the squirrels are concerned this place is like a buffet if they dig around all the trees and bushes, they can steal nuts and acorns buried by other squirrels. 

I have a story about squirrels. When we first moved into this house, it had been neglected for many years. We came in February and by about March we started to hear scraping and rustling sounds in the roof above our heads! 

"Oh no," we said, "we have mice!" Then there were scampering sounds and then we saw little faces chewing their way into the ceiling from above in the back porch! Yikes! We had a squirrels nest in the roof!

So, we don't mind squirrels, they are fine outside the house! We looked around and found where the mother was getting in and out to get food for her babies (a small gap between the roof shingles and the side of the house). We went to our local farmers' store and the nice man there sold us a trap called a Havahart - this is a trap for animals which will not hurt them. It's like a big wire mesh tunnel with a plate to put food on. When the animal gets inside and tries to eat the food, it triggers the ends of the cage to close the tunnel trapping him or her inside! The man said to wait until the baby squirrels were starting to come and go out of the hole on their own. Otherwise, he said, you won't be able to trap them and they won't be able to survive. So we waited a few days.

On a warm day, we put peanut butter on the plate and climbed a ladder to put the trap up on the roof near the hole...within 10 minutes we had our first customers! We caught not one, but two, young squirrels! We took them, in the cage, over the nearby creek and let them go near an abandoned house. It's about a half kilometre away. (Apparently if you take an animal over a water course, they rarely come back.) Then we went back and set the trap again. 

This time we caught the mother squirrel, much bigger than the others - and she was very, very angry! She was scratching and biting the cage and cursing us out in squirrel...eek!eek!eek! We remembered to use thick gloves to lift the trap this time, in case she bit us! This time we drove her to the same place, and carefully opened the trap...she ran away as well. We went back again!

In all, in about two hours we captured and relocated seven young squirrels, and the mother! in about 5 trips. I am pretty sure that they could move in and live just as happily in or around the abandoned house as they could in our house!

Then we had to fix the hole in the roof to stop any more animals or birds from getting in. And we had to fix the ceiling as well. So if you hear rustling in the ceiling or roof, it might not be just mice!

We hope you get to go out again soon...

All the best,

S & D.

Hi M!

So....your favorite colour is...rainbow!! I laughed so hard when I read that that I nearly choked on my coffee!

Good luck for the next wee while. No bad germs, OK?


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