Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Of mice and men (and bats and drywall and sit-ups)

I am still here.

I have been battening down the hatches for winter and doing some touch-up inside the house.

I was distressed to see that mice or voles have already girdled a significant number of my apple trees. I am usually much more aggressive with my rodent control efforts but slacked off a little bit this year. That was a mistake.

I can probably save most of them if I heap dirt over the damaged section. The rodents usually don't scrape off ever living cell of the cambium and as long as there is a bridge spanning from the roots to the top...the tree can survive.

The unprotected cambium is vulnerable to drying out, UV and maybe rapid freezing. Heaping soil over the damaged area gives the tree a fighting chance. The downside is that I might get scion rooting so my dwarf trees will not remain dwarf.

SO, some shovel work is on the docket for tomorrow morning.

That was an expensive mistake.

One oddity is that the voles/mice did not bother the G.935/Bud118 trees. Those trees were an accident. I didn't have any more appropriate rootstock than Bud118 on hand. B.118 makes a very large tree. Later, I acquired some Geneva 935 that makes a very productive, small tree. Rather than waste the year's growth of the roots, I grafted 4" of G.935 on top of the B.118 and then the actual fruiting variety I wanted on the G.935.

Bud118 has corky bark that has a plate-like outward appearance. The G.935 bark is as smooth as a baby's butt. Not "good science" but it looks like rodents have a strong preference for the Geneva rootstocks over the Russian ones. My guess is the mice took one bite of the B.118 and didn't like the taste or the effort and moved on. 

Basketball hoops

I took the basketball hoop off the west end of the garage.

Bats had taken up residence behind it and they deposited guano in inconvenient places.

I think the bats like the metal siding because red squirrels could not scramble over it and attack them. Red Squirrels will not turn up their noses at a meal of meat.

I like having bats around, just not on the west end of my garage.

I intend to research structures for bats and recycle the material. I suspect I will mount it on two four-by-fours and sheath the legs with chimney pipe to deter squirrels and such.

Drywall repair

The inside work involves drywall repair. There was little point in repairing it while Kubota was here.

Small dings and holes are easy. There are places where I need to replace the entire 16" span between the studs.

We are leaning toward installing wainscotting because the dogs bring in a lot of mud and paneling will clean up more easily than paint.


Today I am doing sit-ups when the alarm goes off.

I hate sit-ups, yes I do.

But I do them anyway. I stick my feet beneath the sofa otherwise I end up doing leg-lifts.


  1. Interesting on the rats/voles... And yes, bats eat mosquitoes too!

  2. On your post for your potential bat house, make sure there aren't any trees closer than 10 feet or so. Doggone squirrels will leap from the tree onto the top of your structure. DAMHIKT.

  3. That is nice that you still have bats there. I enjoy watching them come out in the evening and playing before they get down to the business of eating. The White Nose disease has decimated them here. I only saw one for a few nights all summer and miss having them around.--ken

  4. Try planks or planking. You prop yourself up on elbows (forearms) and toes and start counting. I am up to a minute. My nephew prepping for OCS was a four minutes plus some.

  5. Yah... Leg lifts. I find that curling a coffee cup is a less painful way to exercise at dark thirty. But core work pays huge dividends. Enjoy that holiday pie.

  6. Purchased one of those plastic bat-houses sold by one of the bat conservation places... Good product, poor construction. Still no bats in it (they are around, big and little browns sighted every year). Maybe location is what I'm told.

  7. There is great info on bats, including a set of plans for an excellent bat house, here: https://www.batcon.org/ I have it on my project list for March to make two, one for the barn and one for the back of the garage. Currently we have about a dozen bats living behind the fascia in the barn's gables but I want to have more.

  8. Indeed you made an awesome touch inside your house. Seeing the loving trees unsecured is also painful. I got through your whole efforts including using basketball hoops, repairing drywall all the activities were praiseworthy. Bats always make me frightened and I try to avoid them in any way in our house. Anyway, thanks for sharing useful share. I also feel desire to share Sacramento Drywall to get fix or repair or installation job. Maybe some home lovers in GCA will find it helpful.


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