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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain


The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.


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I forgot to mention a whole bunch of stuff in my last post!

  • I have started at a gym. O.O This is something I swore I would never do. (Just like I swore I would never study English in university, would never become a teacher, would never write fantasy/fanfic ...) But I spent more than a year in constant pain, dealing with inflammation issues and joint pain that are finally under control. I have always taken pride in being strong, and I want my former strength back, that I lost during the year when even turning over in bed hurt. And. And ... I actually like it. I like feeling like a human being again who is capable of doing more than shuffling from the computer, limping into the basement, and limping back upstairs to bed.

  • We've solved the henhouse mystery, but it's gross. Just to recap, last year, we noticed we were missing eggs and discovered that the hens (or so we thought) were getting out of the coop and hiding them under the lawnmower. We didn't even give consideration that something might be getting into to coop ... well, we did, but we assumed that this critter would eat the eggs in the coop rather than going to the trouble of spiriting them out of the coop and into the shed. Wrong.

    We know we've had a critter in the shed that connects to the chicken coop. Bobby saw it a few times (but never well enough to identify it), and Alex was intensely interested in the lawnmower. Well, Bobby took me out to the shed one day, shook the lawnmower to scare out the critter so I could see it, and what ran out but a fat. fucking. Norway. rat.

    So yes. We have a damned rat in our chicken coop that is stealing the eggs. I can't imagine a worse outcome to our mystery. We set a live animal trap but Norway rats apparently avoid them. (Just as well. We had an extended conversation about what to do if we actually caught it that, at one point, involved me wailing, "I think we've gone totally country if we're talking about shooting vermin in our backyard with a .22!!") So Bobby set a rat trap and several trays of D-Con in the shed yesterday. Someone had a nice meal on the D-Con last night. Hopefully that is the end of the problem.

  • From my mod seat, B2MeM is almost over. The winter week is underway. I was stressing over the winter week, truth be told, because it was much more popular than the other seasons, so I had quite a number of stories to schedule, and of course, they're getting longer as the event progresses and people have more time to work. I didn't want anyone to feel shortchanged by having to share the spotlight with lots of other stories. So it was quite a balancing act, but it seems to be going well, and no one has complained (yet). Almost all of the spring stories are in, which means that scheduling could be done, in theory, by tomorrow. Yay? It almost seems to have gone too well. I'm waiting for a big wrench to get tossed into the cogs. (I know, I know ... I'm usually an optimist.)

  • I feel like there was one other thing I wanted to say but damned if I remember what it was.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Ugh. Rats. Mice don't bother me much so long as they stay outside, but rats are gross!

    When we lived in MS, we were plagued with rats getting into the bird-feeders. We had to quit feeding the birds that year, and the DH used a pellet gun through the kitchen window to scare them off. (Not a .22, though! I would have been afraid to have a "real" gun in the house; I wasn't too happy with the pellet gun but I hated the rats worse!

    B2MeM is going great! I have read and reviewed some, but I keep forgetting to keep track and report them. I guess I'll have to go looking for my comments later. And there are a slew of stories I have yet to read that I want to later! I really like the way we are doing it this year!

  • That is horrifically gross about the rat in the chicken coop, but not really surprising. I had some disgusting animal that looked a lot like the pictures of that (I Googled it!) in California when I pregnant with Laura. I completely freaked out. I saw it in the cabinet under the sink in our kitchen. I looked to see where it might have come in and I could see grass growing and sunshine! through the boards on the back, outside wall of that cabinet. It was almost totally open to the outside. (Houses are very flimsy there--not much sturdier than a chicken coop. It never gets cold, never snows, almost flowering desert where I lived.)

    I called the city pest control instantly and they found where it lived and said it was not a rat, but a field mouse (actually mice) living in the yard! My husband was out-of-town for two weeks at the time. But between the City and my landlord, they claimed to have taken care of the problem, fixed the wall, and got rid of the animals! I never saw one again. I am shuddering thinking about it (30 years later!). Yuck! I would not do well as a country girl or even suburban.
    • Oh god. That sounds awful! It's been bad enough to have it in the chicken coop. (I hate to think of how many eggs we've lost.) But the house? *shudderrrrrr* We get mice in the house every fall, but they're easy to take care of; this was over the line for me (but a part of life here, I guess; at least we know how to take care of it!)

      Luckily, it seems to be dead. It ate a whole tray of poison bait. Bobby saw it midweek in the coop, and it was very sluggish. We haven't seen sign of it since, although Alex showed a lot of interest in the mower in the other shed. And we've seen an uptick in the number of eggs we've been getting.

      (Something killed the two oldest hens last night, though. We have no idea what. I heard commotion outside, flipped on the patio light and cracked the door to listen, and the dogs went wild. Bobby found two hens dead in the coop this morning. They were old and roosted on the ground versus the perch, which is why we figure it got a hold of them. He filled in the rat burrows this afternoon, as we assume whatever predator it was probably got in through there.)
  • So the vanishing egg mystery is solved at last. I hope the thief is soon dispensed with. Also I'm glad evidently hasn't tried attacking the birds themselves; apparently some rats are bold enough to do so. My current household had chickens for about half a year, and (most likely) an opossum killed most of them, alas.
  • Euuuurgh, gross about the rat! Hope you're successful in getting rid of it.

    I'm loving every bit of B2MeM so far--the stories have been great, and so much variety!
    • I think we were successful! At least, we've seen no further sign of the rat and have been getting a good number of eggs again.

      I'm loving every bit of B2MeM so far--the stories have been great, and so much variety!

      I love what I've had a chance to read! (I skim almost everything while making the schedule but then have trouble getting the time to do a proper reading once the story's posted. However, the spring schedule was completed last night \0/ and well ahead of schedule, so I'm hoping to catch up next week!)
  • I hear where you're coming from about the gym. It's almost a point of pride to me that exercise and activity has always been a part of my life so I don't need to have it be something I do at certain times, but this winter changed that. It was a bit of a paradigm shift. But if you need it now, there's no reason it has to be a permanent thing...
    • This winter was a paradigm shift to say the least! :D We'll rejoin the local pool as soon as it opens, and we're planning to do some hiking ... but I do like knowing that I have the gym available and that I don't actually hate going! :D Actually, I rather like the half-hour to just listen to music. It's good physical exercise and mental rest. ;)
  • I love the gym! Hiking or running somewhere beautiful is obviously better, but harder to arrange when life gets intense -- the gym lets me keep some "outdoor fitness" when I can't reach the actual outdoors. Plus, regular exercise makes me way less crabby.
    (I actually had to put exercise on hold to find the time to write the B2MeM story. But I have been twice since submitting it, and I feel so much better.)

    B2MeM is very interesting! It's great to see so many polished stories.
    • The actual outdoors was definitely off-limits this winter! We've had snow on the ground for all but a few days since New Year and temperatures well below freezing, sometimes dangerously so. Also, the short days make it impossible to get outside on workdays.

      So I'm glad I got over that particular bias. I actually have a lot of fun; I like the chance to do nothing more mentally engaging for a half-hour but listen to music. It improves my mood too.

      I'm glad you've enjoyed B2MeM! :D With the schedule done for next week, I'm looking forward to catching up on some commenting.
  • I still like the 'Houdini Chicken' scenario the best.

    B2MEM.. yes, well, yeah. There's still april right? I am so glad to read things are going so well!

    I feel like there was one other thing I wanted to say but damned if I remember what it was.

    Oh dear, don't tell me you did remembered it again in the middle of the night ;)
    • I like the Houdini chicken scenario better too! Better than a fat effing rat! :D

      Oh dear, don't tell me you did remembered it again in the middle of the night ;)

      Thankgoodness, no. I did remember it eventually. But just realized I've forgotten again. :^|

      Oh! It was about Tolkien's Beowulf translation coming out in May and my grad-school schedule for the next year to be finished my thesis (likely on Beowulf) by around this time in a year. \0/ Nothing important or anything ... ;)
  • Ick! Norway rats are big suckers! I really hope your problem has now eaten itself into a cold forever after.

    B2MeM has been going so well, and of course I'm swamped with RL stuff and haven't had a chance to read/review more than the initial six entries. I'll catch up though - I really want to read each one of the stories and look at each piece of artwork.

    It was great fun to participate once again, and as always, I am amazed and so very thankful for your ability to mod B2MeM yet once more.


    - Erulisse (one L)
    • Thank you, Erulisse. :) I'm glad you've liked what you've had a chance to read/view so far! I hope you get more free time. (I'm hoping for the same as I also have much catching up to do!)

      I think our fat rat is gone. At least, we haven't seen any signs, it ate a whole poison bait tray, and we've been getting eggs again. However, we did lose two hens last night to some kind of predator. They were the two oldest, who roosted on the floor of the coop and not up on the perches where they'd be harder to reach. We assume the predator used the rat burrows, so Bobby filled them in this afternoon.
  • Ugh, rats. I hope the D-con worked, too.

    I'm also waiting for a wrench in the B2MeM proceedings… Not sure what that says about me, either. (Though I'm dreadfully behind on reading and reviewing.) If you still need help with banners, I might, might be able to help. I can crop a photo and put text on it, but that's about it.
  • With regard to your egg thief, I can't say I am surprised. Rats are a Significant Problem™ when raising chickens. When I was growing up on the farm, my father would buy chicks almost every spring, and would house them in an old hen house separate from the main hen house (where all the ol' biddies lived :^)). One spring, a few rats set up shop beneath the auxiliary hen house and killed all of those cute little balls of fluff. Needless to say, my father was not pleased at the loss of future egglayers and Sunday chicken dinners.

    The use of live traps would never have been entertained. Let's just say that the flushing out strategy involved funneling exhaust from a tractor and my two older sibs and my father poised at the exits points with bludgeony-type things (baseball bats, shovel, etc.) Rat poison runs the risk of the critter crawling off to die in an inopportune place then stinking up things as it rots. We also did not want our dogs or cats encountering the poison. Anyway...

    "I think we've gone totally country if we're talking about shooting vermin in our backyard with a .22!!"

    Well, yes, that's correct. If you are actually farming and rely on your livestock to a) feed you and/or b) bolster your finances, then a .22 definitely comes into play.

    Very glad to hear that you're exercising! I'll bet you get your strength back quickly, being young and all. :^) *shuffles feet* I really need to pick up my activity level in a big way.

    You and the B2MeM 2014 collective mods have been doing a bang-up job! It's a great format, and personally speaking, much more to my tastes, particularly as a reader, than the format with daily prompts. I'm quietly reading, and expect to produce a bolus of reviews in the near future.
    • One of the main reasons that taking care of the rat was so pressing is that we are planning on raising chicks again this year. We used to keep them in the basement, but that is no longer an option with Freyja, who also lives in the basement.

      We bought the live trap before we knew it was a rat. Bobby caught a glimpse of it but didn't know what it was; based on the tail (which is pretty much all he saw), we assumed it was a possum. Once we knew what it was, then we regretted the live trap, as that meant that we'd have to be hands-on in killing it ... but thankfully, it avoided the trap entirely.

      I had to smile at your tractor exhaust method because, when we realized what our problem was, we were brainstorming what we would do if we actually caught it. I said, "Well, maybe we could put it in the car and run a hose from the exhaust into the window ..." (Not actually something I would consider doing, but I didn't want to entertain drowning it, which seemed the only feasible option.) Bobby replied, "Or I could just shoot it with the .22." (Not really an option in a residential neighborhood, unfortunately, as this would have been the quickest and most humane.)

      Anyway. Long story short, it seems our rat problem is solved. It consumed about half the poison bait the first night we put it down. Bobby saw it the next day (during the day, when we never saw it), moving sluggishly around the shed. By the time he could grab a shovel, it had hidden itself again. We haven't seen sign of it since and have had a significant uptick in our take of eggs. We're going to leave the poison down and the rat trap set till next week (shed tightly locked!), and if we see no further signs, will pick it up then. And will be acquiring chicks too. :)

      I'll bet you get your strength back quickly, being young and all.

      Lol. I hope so! I used to be strong enough to hold my own against my male coworkers in terms of hauling cases of food when I was still a cook. I'm still strong enough to have something of a reputation as a badass among my students (funny considering I can probably count on my hands the number of times I've had to go hands-on in the last three years ... but then I do run toward fights rather than staying away, and the first time I lifted up a student and carried him from the classroom, the rest the class was like 8^0) but not to my own satisfaction. I know I'll never be 22 again but would like to feel competent rather than like a sloth. :D

      You and the B2MeM 2014 collective mods have been doing a bang-up job!

      Thank you so much! I like this year's format a lot too ... but then the SWG is evidence that I'm fond of compilations in general. ;) I think it's a good opportunity to make something one can be proud of and enjoy the spotlight and chance to feel "published" as a fanfic writer. (Far more people have probably read the B2MeM fics than have read the last o-fic that I had published for reals.) And I think the daily prompt was wearing on a lot of people. I don't think the pace that demands (and even if we emphasize that the prompts can be combined to make longer works or that one doesn't have to do every prompt, many, many people will try) is sustainable in the long-term, and I don't want B2MeM to be something that provokes a reaction of "*groan* It's March again already?!"
  • Rats! Our house is 50 meters from a railway line and sometimes you can see rats that could give Angelica (if she cared to move her big butt) a run for her money. Then some city pest control takes over and they vanish for some time (*shudders*)

    I've never been too fond of gyms though I admit their need. I've been doing pilates for two years now and I've come to find it quite pleasing - especially because the knee and back problems have gone away :)
    • Oh! City rats! Yes, we have them in Baltimore, too, that are bigger than the alley cats. I say every fall, when the battle against the mice begins in our house, that I infinitely prefer having to deal with that regularly than having to deal with city rats even occasionally.

      especially because the knee and back problems have gone away

      That's a major motive for me too. :) Last year taught me what it was like to live in constant pain, and I don't want to go back to that. It felt like an awful feedback loop where I was idle because my joints hurt, and then my joints hurt worse because they were idle.
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