July 20, 2013 (Mystery Hike)

Started off bright and early this morning to go rock hunting off of the Old Blewett Pass road. David found some gold and gem maps in town yesterday, and it looked like we’d surely hit the motherlode from the numerous types indicated in that area. So we packed up the rock picks and hammers and bags and whatnot and headed north into the sunrise (…and away from the wind. I hate wind.)

Soon after turning off onto Old Blewett Road we caught sight of a sizable herd of elk grazing just off the side of the road. One male had an amazing rack, but we couldn’t catch an accurate count of the number of points. Not long after that we sighted two creatures standing in the road looking at us. Honestly, at first we thought they were llamas standing there staring at us, their necks were so long and upright. Turns out it was two more elk, probably wondering who the heck was on their seldom-used road so early in the morning.

Just past the summit we found a spot to pull off the road. Nothing special. No signs or real indications that anyone ever thought to stop at this particular overgrown patch of weeks and rock. But, stop we did to take a look around. I noticed what looked to be an overgrown trailish thing, and we wandered in that direction. The trailish thing turned into what seemed to be an old Jeep track. Rhododendrons had taken over some areas, napweed (ick!) in others, but we kept on walking (always, always uphill) for probably an hour, maybe more. We didn’t look for rocks, just walked and enjoyed the fine summer morning, the sun on our backs, the occasional
chittering chipmunk racing across the “trail” or chattering bird warding us from their nests. Out of the blue, into the blue we walked, hitting a T in the road. We had reached the top of whatever mystery mountain we were on and encountered beautiful vistas of the Stewart range in one direction, and the far-off Cascades in another. Gorgeous! Extending to one side of the T was an actual “real” trail that traversed the west side of the mountain, and we wandered down that until we ran out of views and the trail went back into trees. I’m going to have to do some research to see if I can figure out where we were and if it is an actual trail.

We then headed back down toward home, stopping occasionally to ponder rockfalls/mammoth rocks alongside the road. David picked his way up a couple of scree-filled slopes to hack at boulders, tossing pieces down to me to catch. Well, silly! He knows I don’t catch
anything, and won’t even try. Especially a rock thrown from 20 feet in the air! I would simply watch it fall and try to find that specific rock among a thousand others just like it. They were basalt with some crystals embedded in them. We’ll have to clean them and bang on them a bit to see if they reveal any treasures.

Continued down the mountain and stopped off at Swauk Creek, certain we’d find gold. Eureka!…no. We did see some scat that looked like a really, really big kitty’s and 4 or 5 pawprints in mud that I will research when we get home (it was dog…boring!). Reminder to self – bring tracking books to the Eburg house because they are of no use in suburbia. We also saw a pretty butterfly – a Lorquin’s Admiral.

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From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lorquinsadmiral2.jpg

Also saw some checkerspots, but they wouldn’t hold still long enough for me to get a picture. Another note to self – don’t walk out the door without a camera! Geez! The cell phone camera pretty much sucks.

So, home we came, with no gold and only marginally interesting rocks, but happy after a nice hike that culminated in splendid views. David is napping on the couch, and I’m typing and wishing the wind would stop rocking the house.

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July 7, 2013 (I Hate Mice)

What an odd day!

We got back from Anacortes yesterday, Saturday, and did a bit of outside work. Started a new puzzle, nice evening. Sat outside quite a bit and watched the birds and listened to the sounds of relative silence.

Forgot to mention that when we arrived on Wednesday, there were four dead mice in the kitchen. Looks like they were living under the dishwasher, went out for dinner under the stove, ate the poisoned food, and died on the way back home. Kinda yucky, but glad they were gone.

So, fast forward to Sunday morning. I noticed that my favorite afghan that was placed across the back of the sofa had a long (18 inches or so) rent in it. It certainly wasn’t there when we left on Friday – the hole was obvious and I would have seen it. I’m not sure it was even there on Saturday. Anyway, I sighed and folded it up and put it away. Figured I’d deal with what to do with it a later day.

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David looked around and mentioned that he found mice poop on the top-back section under the afghan. So, I got out the vacuum and cleaned it up. We then moved the sofa and vacuumed the floor. Went to put it away. Figured the kitchen boys had been wandering.

David pulled out the cushions to see if there was anything else we needed to clean. When I got back, he was inspecting something in the left-hand back corner of the sofa. A big wet spot! He asked if I had spilled anything – well, no! I felt it – wet and oily, and smelled my fingers (ick!) and it was definitely urine. David noticed some mouse poopies along the sofa bottom edge…we looked to the right side…and there was a bunch of my shredded afghan and wool from the dog’s sheepskin bed.

So, we’re standing there, looking at this mess, when I noticed the mess moved. Just a little. I exclaimed “David! It moved!” He’s looking around, trying to figure out what I’m talking about. I directed his attention to the couch, and all of a sudden there was a flurry of movement – at least six squirming, moist, hairless, blind, mewling baby mice were wedged into the back right-angle of the couch. Completely disgusting and upsetting.

(Here’s a link that shows baby mice by day – I’m guessing they were about 2 days old: http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/daybydaybabies.cfm)

I did the ‘gross out’ dance, trying to decide whether to faint or puke. David manned up to the task at hand and, well, sterilized the scene as best as he could.

I felt completely victimized – these damnable rodents had not only ruined a treasure that had taken weeks to make, but had defaced our new sofa! Manic Mama had also chewed one of the cushion backs. I still see red when I think about it.

So, David put mouse poison on the base of the couch, hidden by the partially replaced cushions. I fear that, given that the other mice only made it about 2 feet before dying in the kitchen, we shall return to a leaking, putrefying mouse on the couch on Friday, and we’ll never, ever get the smell out.

Sigh.