Mouse Hunt

I have two cats, Feste and Orsino, and Ferdinand the basset hound. The good news is they all get along. The bad news is they all get along. The get along so well they are a hunting pack. The good news is they keep the house free of pests although not so much the insects. The bad news is the only reason some of the pests are in the house is because some member of the hunting pack brought it in through the pet door. Normally they like to bring their trophies to me live. If I realize a prize has been brought in early enough, I can usually catch the prey and release it back outside relatively unharmed. Otherwise I’m on past prey patrol. Voles, moles, and mice are the main prey. Once in Texas, Puck the cat brought me a lizard. I’ve seen one dead bird. Luckily no snakes. Ferdinand the basset hound takes the prize for once while we lived in North Carolina bringing me an adult live opossum. He dropped it off in my bedroom. Wasn’t I impressed? No, I screamed like the girl I am. Eventually I got my wits about me after calling my mom in Texas, which of course was going to help somehow. She told me to call 911 because well it probably wouldn’t be the stupidest phone call they ever got. [Side note: I did call 911. Orange County North Carolina probably doesn’t get that many phone calls expect for drunks on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. In fact in Orange County you are supposed to call 911 for wildlife emergencies which is my justification for calling them. A very nice operator told me they would come help for wildlife that can carry rabies. Turns out opossums have too low a body temperature to carry rabies so all he could do was give me the phone number of a animal removal company. Still, good to know about opossums and rabies.] Anyway I finally calmed down. The opossum kept playing dead while both basset hounds and both cats kept watch to see if it would move again. I managed get a large trash can over it and pushed it down the hall and out the front door all while I was trailed by my hunting pack. After safely closing the door, I watched the opossum finally realize it was free. Before walking off, it looked at me as if to say thanks and possibly give me the middle opossum finger. I then went to go find a very large glass of wine.

This morning I heard the warning signal of both Feste and Ferdinand running across the living room. The I heard a squeak. I investigate, and both of them are staring intently at something. Great. It’s a mouse. It runs. Feste catches it in his mouth. Lets it go. Ferdinand catches it in his mouth. Lets it go. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Finally, Feste grabs it in his mouth and runs downstairs into my office. I then spend the next 20 minutes trying to catch the poor mouse that is trying to figure out how to get out while Feste mainly watches. Several times I would get close to getting a container on top of the mouse, and it would run to Feste for protection. I kid you not, it would run to Feste who would shelter the mouse in between his front legs. They would just look at each other. The mouse would move away. Feste would bat at it a little. I would try to catch the mouse. Repeat. Finally the mouse ran out into an open location where I could get a trash can over it. I got the trash can over it, turned it over, and got it out the front door. Then it took me a few minutes to get the mouse to finally leave the trash can. I kept telling it to be free. I have to go to work. Look there are nice plants and leaves for you to hide in. Be free. It finally did as I asked.

Ferdinand in the Snow

We got about 4 to 5 inches of snow yesterday, so I took Ferdinand out to play in it. The snow went up to his chest. He hates rain but loves snow. I attached a GoPro to his harness just to see what kind of video I could get. Below are photos and video I took of him as well as the video he took.

Ferdinand with a GoPro on his harness

Ferdinand with a GoPro on his harness

Running through the snow

Running through the snow

Running through the snow

Running through the snow

Digging head first into the snow

Digging head first into the snow

Rolling in the snow

Rolling in the snow

Rolling in the snow

Rolling in the snow

Rolling in the snow

Rolling in the snow

Rolling in the snow leads to being covered in snow

Rolling in the snow leads to being covered in snow

The video I took of Ferdinand playing.

The video Ferdinand took with the GoPro on his harness.

Sleeping Ferdinand

I finally got a video of Ferdinand sleeping where he is making some of his weird noises. I am still trying to get one of him when he is doing his muffled barking. He isn’t snoring in this one, just weird air blowing or something. I wonder if he is dreaming, and if so, what about.

Burlington Uniqueness

I have already written how nice a town Burlington, Vermont is and how much I love its colorful houses. I just had to add one more post with a few photos of some of fun, arty, and unique things that I saw there that help to make it a cute town.

First, on Church Street, there is this water fountain which is probably one of the most unique and beautiful public water fountains that I have ever seen.

Water fountain on Church Street

Water fountain on Church Street

Then there is this box on Church Street where you can put donations for the less fortunate, and it is of course designed to look like Champ, the famous monster of Lake Champlain.

Donation box that looks like a very cute Champ

Donation box that looks like a very cute Champ

Then there are these paintings on a commercial building that are by far the best way to incorporate electrical boxes into the exterior design of a building that I have ever seen.

Paintings on and around electrical/telephone boxes

Paintings on and around electrical/telephone boxes

Best use of an electric meter in a painting

Best use of an electric meter in a painting

Then finally there is this sign that I spotted several copies of on Church Street. I have no idea if the second part is actually written into the Burlington ordinance, but it would be awesome if it was.

Dog ordinance sign

Dog ordinance sign

Ferdinand’s Face

I just bought a macro lens for my camera. [For photography geeks, I have a Canon 6D, and my new macro lens is their EF 100mm 1:28L IS.] I have been wanting one for a while, and my upcoming trip to Iceland seemed the perfect reason to buy one. Once the lens arrived, I decided to test it out on my favorite subject, Ferdinand the basset hound. Thus, here is a Ferdinand’s face, a photographic study.

Ferdinand's face

Ferdinand’s face

Ferdinand looking up

Ferdinand looking up

Ferdinand's eye

Ferdinand’s eye

Ferdinand's nose

Ferdinand’s nose

Ferdinand asleep

Ferdinand asleep

Ferdinand in profile

Ferdinand in profile

Ferdinand licking his paw

Ferdinand licking his paw

Ferdinand's paws (not technically his face)

Ferdinand’s paws (not technically his face)

Ferdinand's snout

Ferdinand’s snout

Master Bathroom Floor Tiled

I spent the weekend tiling the master bathroom. I got off to a late start Saturday, partially due to wet saw odyssey. However, Saturday, I got all the tiled laid out and cut the majority of tile that needed to be cut. I have never used a wet saw before, so I decided to cut the tile beforehand because I wasn’t sure how it would go. I was particularly concerned about cutting the tile near the toilet supply pipe and drain pipe. Then Sunday, I cut the rest of the tile and then did the actual mortaring the tile into place. I didn’t finish until early Sunday evening. I learned quite a few things during this experience.

  1. Arranging and cutting the tile beforehand was a good decision. By arranging everything in advance, I was then able to make the measurements to cut the tile properly. Cutting the tile beforehand saved me critical time in laying the tile before the mortar set.
  2. Laying tile on top of radiant heating mats makes the task that much more difficult. It is not incredibly difficult, but a plastic trowel is essential, so the trowel doesn’t cut through the wire. A thicker layer of mortar is necessary, and getting the correct thickness is tricky. Also, it makes leveling the tile more difficult, especially when some of the tile overlays the radiant heat, but some does not.
  3. In my opinion, laying tile on the floor is more difficult than on the wall because you have to keep moving your location. Also it is horrible on the knees, back, and lower legs.
  4. As long as I worked by continuously moving back towards the door, one row at a time, I was able to keep the tile evenly spaced and in line. I started at the back of the water closet, and then worked backwards into the main bathroom. At the end I encountered an issue because after I got to the end of the tub, I needed to start at the end of the aisle that leads to the wall cabinet that will sit next to the tub. Because I kept removing two rows at a time to keep a continuous layer of mortar, I had trouble keeping these tile exactly in line with the tiles down the main aisle. There was a small discrepancy where the two areas met where the grout line will be slightly thicker than the rest of the grout lines. Hopefully no one will notice but me. Problem was the mortar had already set at the back of that small area, so I couldn’t move the tile to make it fit. In hindsight, I should have marked the wall or something, so I would have known exactly where to lay the tile in that small area.
  5. When the mortar directions say it has a 20-30 minute working time, it really does. You don’t get more.
  6. Since I laid the tile out in advance, I then had to walk across many of them while working. At least three broke while I worked. The tile is 12 x12 inch marble tile, and many have a lot of veining. Those that broke, broke on veins. While they are clearly fragile, I do not know if it they would have broken after having been set on mortar and allowed to set. Thus, was their breaking before laid, a good or bad thing?
  7. As stated, I am using marble tile. The tile is green, gray, and white. One of the reasons, I laid the tile in advance was so that I could lay the prettiest and greenest tile in the highest visibility areas. This was a good decision.
  8. Keep a small, preferably disposable, bowl with some water and a rag near you to clean up potential excess mortar that comes up between tiles when pressing down a tile to level it.
  9. I need a new or better, or probably both, power drill. I bought a mixer attachment for my power drill to mix the mortar. When I tried to use it, it didn’t work all that well, and the drill started smoking a little. I ended up using the trowel to do most of the mixing, especially to get the powder out of the bottom corner.
  10. I am not as young as I used to be, and my knees, back, and lower legs are rather upset with me at the moment.
  11. Ferdinand the basset hound is rather underfoot. Okay, I knew that beforehand, but he really confirmed it today.
  12. Ferdinand can sleep within 15 feet of an operating wet saw. No, he is not deaf as he can hear a plastic bag holding sandwich bread being opened across the house. [I always give him a piece of the bread loaf ends.]

    Floor tile laid

    Floor tile laid

Ferdinand’s Spot

Ferdinand has a dog door, so he can go into the backyard whenever he likes. He likes to go into the backyard a lot. He sometimes wakes me up at 2 a.m. because he is outside barking at some prey he is hunting. If it is sunny, then he can most likely be found in his favorite spot underneath an azalea bush. The temperature doesn’t matter, even if it is below freezing, he still loves to nap in that spot. I finally managed to get a photo of him sleeping in his spot.

Ferdinand napping in his spot

Ferdinand napping in his spot

With his tricolor fur, he blends in nicely with the leaves.

Ferdinand napping in his spot

Ferdinand napping in his spot

Uh oh, he hears me and wakes up to see if he is needed.

Ferdinand wakes up

Ferdinand wakes up

Realizing that it is just Mama yet again taking photos of him, he goes back to sleep.

Ferdinand goes back to sleep

Ferdinand goes back to sleep

Ferdinand Loves the Snow

Ferdinand sniffing the snow

Ferdinand sniffing the snow

We got a lot a snow here, and Ferdinand couldn’t be happier. He hates the rain, but he loves the snow. The snow is deeper than Ferdinand’s legs are long, which necessitates him leaping through the snow. Ferdinand seems to quite enjoy that though. He also loves digging his head in it rolling around in it.

Ferdinand leaping through the snow

Ferdinand leaping through the snow

The snow is deeper than Ferdinand's legs are long

The snow is deeper than Ferdinand’s legs are long

Ferdinand leaping through the snow

Ferdinand leaping through the snow

Ferdinand loves rolling in the snow

Ferdinand loves rolling in the snow

Ferdinand Sleeping

I haven’t posted Ferdinand photos lately, and well how can I not post this photo of him sleeping? [Yes, he does have a boo boo on his nose. I’m not sure what happened, but it has been slowly healing.]

Ferdinand sleeping

Ferdinand sleeping

Ferdinand’s Nemesis: HVAC Condenser

Ferdinand loves to hunt rodents and other little animals. These type of animals constantly seem to take refuge underneath the HVAC condenser in my backyard, and then Ferdinand spends hours trying to get to them. Normally this hunting occurs at 2 a.m. Today, he was doing this for about two hours, came in briefly when I called him to dinner, and quickly returned back to the hunt. He is out there as I type. A short video to show the futility of this hunt, but Ferdinand is nothing if not persistent in his hunting.