Well, no sooner have we started preparing produce for the allotment and having happy thoughts of harvest-time (not that I toddle around in some rosy coloured existence or anything) , than do we succumb to the very threat that reduces self-sufficiency efficiency: pests!
No, not Himself or the dogs, a whole other critter entirely! Himself just went into the garage to check on his chitters (I know, they were only lovingly nestled into egg boxes last night) when he came back aghast (for the uninitiated this involves a lot of frowning of brow and hoicking up of waistband in a varied range of movements including simultaneously and consecutively)!
“Something’s been at my spuds.” As this declaration co-incided with a hoiking movement, I was about to respond with a glib, possibly rude remark, but thankfully the depth of Himself’s ensuing frown prevented me. Instead, with a grimace that barely disguised the smile beneath, I managed to communicate a quizzical “do tell, dear” look. Just as well because the telling was already on its way ….
“There’s been nibbling and there’s a dropping!”
“Dropping? Perhaps it’ a chit?”
“Well it rhymes with chit, come and see….” so into the dark depths of the garage we ventured. Now whilst a garage has a designated role to a house in town, do remember that our house in town is becoming a virtual cottage in the country, so instead of being for the purpose of housing our car, our garage is in fact our ‘outbuilding’, housing the freezer, my veg baskets, my carefully stacked paper logs, our coal and our home-made preserves: that is to say the remainder of my jams and chutneys from last summer and his sloe gin and chum vodka (needless to say we have more of the jams left than the spirits). Oh and the garage also houses our decluttered stuff from the house because everyone knows that having a decluttered house means having a seriously cluttered garage whilst waiting for that Ebay free listing moment!
Anyway, we fought our way to his egg-box-bottom-bound spuds where Himself indignantly indicated what looked like a liquorice torpedo without its colourful sugar shell, alongside what was a seriously nibbled spud.
“It’s a mouse” he proclaimed.
“Looks more like a potato” I shrugged, turning my attention to the licorice. “Is this a chit?”
“No, it’s a ….. mouse poo! We’ve got mice.”
“Isn’t that what happens when you’re growing your own food though, you have some for yourself and some for livestock?”
“Mice aren’t livestock” the frown was back, with both thoughtful and menacing effect at the same time “Of course, it could just have been passing through.”
“The mouse or the poo? Well, clearly the poo…..”
Ok, dear reader, the frown was now menacing, so I changed tack and tried agreeing with the theory. “Ahh, passing through! You mean like the Town Mouse and Country Mouse? Nibbling your spud on its way to the good stuff at Marks and Spencers?”
“Well, as in not nesting here, but taking an opportunity for a nibble wherever it can find it!” Himself added soberly.
“Ahh, well … at least we know it’s a male then!” I added brightly. I meant this to cheer him up, in a “so we needn’t worry about it being a female with lots of babies to feed” kind of way, but he didn’t really take it like that. So, now we have one less potato and a moody Himself who thinks I am not taking seriously the fact that his lovingly tended spuds have been interfered with. I, on the other hand, am quite cheerfully practising both a positive attitude and solution based approach; indeed I am multitasking by happily looking up homeless local cats on ‘tinternet with one hand whilst teaching Seamus the skills of being a canine mouser with an old toy Tigger puppeting the other ! 🙂