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Where our motto is: If we can imagine it dead, we can make it dead.

Three mice and counting since last night. I might’ve felt some measure of guilt over the demise of a living creature. I really might’ve. A twinge anyway. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain. If, just prior to finding the initial deceased, I hadn’t discovered mouse droppings on top of the dresser where I had been planning to stack the freshly cleaned bedding and towels.

This would be the part of the dresser where I keep the bedding we regularly use on our bed because the linen closet is so full. And, yes, this meant that I had even more bedding to wash. And, yes, I was swearing. And, yes, too, I discovered the mouse carcass precisely because I purposefully looked to see if I had created a death. I had. No guilt feelings washed over me.

I think the dresser thing caused an aneurysm or a miniature stroke in my prefrontal cortex, and it hampered normal guilt feelings. Plus, it made me admit out loud that I’m going to have to clean all the kitchen cupboards. Again this year.

And then it occurred to me that I should check inside the dresser. That’s when my left posterior superior temporal sulcus, another guilt producing factory in the brain, went on strike. All the neurons working there just threw down their tools, shut down the guilt machinery, and walked out the door. They’re in a pub somewhere talking trash about the administrative part of my brain that makes the rest of me continue living here at mouse central. Yes, the mice had been in all four drawers of the dresser, doing you know what and gods know what else on what was otherwise clean clothing. If not for the rodent filth and all.

When I got up this morning and found the second mouse carcass, I smiled. And I had a good day.

This third one is going to guarantee a good night’s sleep at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

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is brought to you by Mickey Mouse and Stewart Little, co-founders of Mouse Crap, Inc., whose motto is: We’re proving that real life is a lot more not-so-cute-as-Hollywood one disgusting pile at a time.

The sewer project is not quite wrapped up as we wait for things to air and dry and to leak test before re-battening the hatches. In the meantime, because I didn’t have enough to do with construction, winterization and the general chores of life, I have to empty and clean the contents of two closets.

Mickey and Stewart were frolicking about the living room Friday just prior to getting into trouble — and none of that is meant as a euphemism or an exaggeration.

While kicked back in my recliner, taking a work break to lay on a couple ice packs (yes, I’m that pitiful), I heard miniature chaos breaking out in the coat closet and pretty soon two little rodents spilled out from under the door and romped around the floor. Not 15 feet from me. Bold as can be. Two mice frickin’ playing in my living room.

I didn’t have anything at hand to throw at them, so I got up and checked/reset all the traps.

And caught nothing.

I checked the trap line Saturday morning, and it didn’t look like the mice had even run past the traps to smell them. Well, I hoped, maybe I scared them off. Later, I went back into the linen closet, where the trap at the back of the house is set, and found mouse droppings on the towels. You know, the towels we rub all over our bodies. Some, too, on the sheets formerly known as clean. All new disgustingness since 6 a.m. when I had checked the trap on the floor of that very closet. So I checked the coat closet. Didn’t find any droppings in plain sight, but it smells. I’m imagining a nest in the crate full of mittens and gloves, or a stash of dog food and poo in the pockets or linings of a few coats. I’m thinking I’ll be cleaning out the kitchen cupboards for the third time this year.

I’m imagining the death of these mice until my trap line makes them so.

I went to town for more bleach yesterday, but couldn’t bring myself to start the clean up. I wanted dead rodents to prove that if I go through with this cleaning ordeal, I won’t have to turn around and do it again right away. Still nothing this morning. I’ve always vowed I wouldn’t use Decon or other poisons because I didn’t want to risk a stray cat getting into it or have a mouse die in a wall somewhere.

I don’t care anymore. Dead is dead. I’ll make it so a cat can’t get into the Decon and if I have to cut a hole in a wall to get to a rotting mouse carcass, so be it. I don’t even need a trophy mount or a line of mouse skins stretched and tacked to the barn wall. I just want them dead. I’ve offered my dog a bounty to turn his awesome rabbit and bird hunting skills to more helpful prey: house mouses.

Also, I can’t tolerate the soiled things in the closets another day, so I’ve started washing. Everything. And will be stacking the stuff on my dressers and desk and any other handy surface not related to a closet in my house until the rodents are vanquished. Again. Buy stock in bleach companies.

I’m not as enraged as I might otherwise be, my back is feeling better. I took an early morning walk, saw two muley does grazing the field and a couple magpies heading north to the highway for breakfast in the pre-dawn light, watched Coop work and flush a covey of Huns and stood at the top of a hill, sucking in cold, crisp air, watching the morning sun rise in a cloudless sky with a three-quarter moon dropping to the western horizon at my back.

It ain’t all bad at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

You know — when you investigate the source of the smell under the trailer house, find that your sewer main has sprung a major leak, then stacked the urgency of the matter against the others around your place and found that this shitty situation is, in fact, not your No. 1 priority (or your No. 2, if you can handle a pun while you’re creeping out) — this is not a good week.

But today’s the day. I’m home from work, after I’m done here I will be tearing down fence (this sounds sooo familiar) to give John clear access to the spot to replumb and then replacing the fence (ditto the familiarity) after I shovel (I think I’ve been on the end of one of those before) the filth and contaminated dirt out.

I won’t be complaining because I will not be the one down there actually in the filth and touching those pipes. There are some things I’m totally comfortable begging out of, promising outrageous things to avoid, absolutely not taking any responsibility for unless under threat of death or dismemberment (desertion is not incentive enough). I do not do human fecal matter. But it works for John and me because he doesn’t do doggy upchuck. We’re so totally compatible, in an understandably bizarre way.

It ain’t glamorous, but it’s my life at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com


So, how’s your day at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I’ve been fencing, and fencing, and fencing, and all the other shinola required to facilitate fencing, and even pulling down some old fencing … and not one whit or a jot of this has dinky-do to do with utilizing my epee (what? doesn’t everybody own an epee?).

Tiger salamander in search of a pond.

But this morning I headed out to tackle a few more posts only to discover this little guy. A tiger salamander. He was in pretty rough shape and out of his normal element, but I think I pieced together enough evidence to figure out his story. I bet he went walkabout Thursday or Friday, when it was raining here, but took a tumble into one of the fence post holes, then I inadvertently shoveled him out today and unceremoniously dumped him into a heap of dirt.

He crawled out of the dirt pile, but I don’t think he had much more effort in him than that. His skin was dry and peeling, he was covered in dirt (even his little protruding eyeballs), and he was listless. Fortunately, I had some water and a bucket with me so I scooped him up with the shovel, eased him into the bucket and gave him a shallow layer of water.

I took him to the house to show John and grab the camera (hoping the little guy would rally — I really didn’t want to photograph a salamander carcass). He freshened up pretty quickly so I took him back to the place I found him, for a second shot at freedom and a short photo shoot.

This is his pouty look. We tried both cute and sexy, but the light wasn’t right and the mood was all wrong, understandable considering the time of day and his recent brush with death and all.

I hope he gets cleaned up before he gets home. He troops into the house like that and his wife’s gonna beat him, fo’ sho’.

I told him to clean his whole self up, but look at him with his dirty head and grit still sticking around his eyeballs. I bet he didn’t bother to wash behind his ears either.

Can’t learn that boy nothin’ at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I’m headed back out to put in more fence posts. You stay right there in your chair —- no, no, no, really, you’re a guest, I wouldn’t think of making you help dig post holes. It’s nasty business. Just stay there and enjoy these guys, theslowmoguys on YouTube. Equal parts cool, funny and juvenile. Who can resist a triple threat like that?

I have aspirations to rise to that level at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

Flies: Learn from the untimely demise of your little blue-black friend today. You will live longer if you stay away from my chocolate.

Self: Listen to husband occasionally — especially when he points out that the difference in cost between buying the treated corner posts that I can drive into the ground and using the railroad ties I have, that require I dig more of this cement-hard ground = the price of a chiropractor’s appointment.

Self: Stop at the local Big R Store and buy yourself and your new fence line something pretty tomorrow. (Five treated posts, $57.50. One chiropractic visit, $55. Days that would be lost to miserable me, countless. Having a clever husband, priceless.)

Tazz, in no-big-deal mode during a training session

Tazz, the terrible 2-year-old horse: Just because the 280′ of twine strung between two corner posts is pretty thin and doesn’t bite like barbed or electric wire, doesn’t mean you should attempt to walk through it repeatedly — while I’m pulling on it, flapping my arms at you and cussing. Its use as a straight line is negated when you deliberately march straight into it and bow it east by 40′.

Self: Looks like the 2-year-old is going to be the curious, ears forward, unflappable horse you were hoping for. Don’t kill him for being what you want. No matter how many times he gets into things he’s not supposed to.

Universe: Ever notice how the traits that make people, animals, assorted things of the world, totally awesome are often the same traits that make them exasperating too.

Think about it at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com