It's fall maintenance time and I've enjoyed some nasty surprises along the way. Snakes, mice, dead birds and bad smells.
Twice a year I apply some perimeter pesticide around Chez Green Girl. Yeah, it's mildly toxic, but it keeps the ants, flies, spiders and crawly things OUTside instead of INside, which complies with the rental agreement I've drawn up with nature. The perimeter spray goes around the edge of the basement walls and around the foundation of the house, I squirt a double application by outside doors. While wading through the hostas on the north side of my house, I disturbed a snake family. By the look of them, they've eaten well all summer. Really well. They normally hole up by the pool, not near the house, but maybe the unusual heat coupled with the dry weather made them move. Anyway, snakes only freak me out because they, like zombies, are SILENT. You have no idea they're even nearby until they slide past, brushing along the edge of your foot (or rise out of the night and start chewing on your arm). And then the silence is broken by a gasp followed by loud screaming. Screaming by me, not the snakes. They just gave me a look before continuing through the bed of hostas.
Twice a year I double down on the laundry/mud room. This involves dragging out the washer and dryer to clean the floor beneath. This time I noticed the venting for the dryer was ripped and shredded. Upon closer examination, I realized that MICE were trying to break into my nice warm house (chew marks and mouse turds, I'm a regular CSI agent). This was a safe mode of entry since I don't use the clothes dryer for at least half of the year. I pulled off the torn venting tube and blocked the hole with a bowl from the kitchen, the rationale being that mice can't chew through a bowl. It still didn't explain how the mice got this far through the vent, however, so I went outside to check out the other end of things. That's when I saw a GIANT mouse run down a hole right beneath the "out" end of the dryer vent. Shuddering, I bent down and peered up to find the vent flap stuck open. Glued open with dried dryer lint. With a butter knife and my fingernails, I cleaned it off satisfactorily. Then I went to town to buy replacement tube to connect the dryer to the wall. Things look better than they did before, but that mouse living so close to the house gives me the willies.
I'd like to straight-up poison the mice, but the damn dog would probably eat the poison before the mice got to it. (Mind you, the "carnivore" dog wouldn't go after the mice, of course.) Those dinky traps freak me out worse than the mice, the way they SNAP shut when you try to set them. Which leaves me with those sticky pads that trap the mice (Mr. D calls them inhumane, I call them safer than a mousetrap) or pouring boiling water down the hole repeatedly until I find no trace of a mouse. I've got the kettle on.
I'm thinking of hiring a cat before I clean the garage next weekend as a preventative measure.
After repairing the dryer vent and spraying bug-repelling chemicals around the house, I began cleaning up the patio and porch, which is when I found the dead bird (smelly!) that seems to have flown into the living room window as part of a kamikaze attack on my house. I can't bear to just toss a dead bird into the weeds, so I had to dig a grave and bury it on the edge of our yard which has become an informal bird graveyard. Coincidentally, the grass grows quite lush on that end of things.
I'm tackling the refrigerator next, which is a guaranteed stench-fest, but hopefully I don't find anything alive other than a mold colony when I empty it. I'll keep you posted.