Today we have been living at our small farm apartment for one year. It is Labor Day weekend and the population of the North Fork of Long Island seems to have doubled. Wherever I have gone this weekend, there has been a line. I was just complaining to my friend that all of these people come here to do things and I am just sitting inside with a cup of coffee and the NY Times. He pointed out that we actually do all of the tourist things, just when the tourists are not here so we do not wait on the lines. This is true but it still doesn’t ease the feeling that I should be doing something else. Something outside.
So I fired up my mom’s old laptop which I commandeered because it was just gathering dust at her house. She is extremely against any sort of technology. She would always be confounded by the random messages that would pop up asking mostly irrelevant things. It would cause her to just shut it down rather than, in her mind, potentially make a wrong choice and cause the entire computer to cease functioning.
I decided that I would take this computer and use it for writing. Something that I have all but stopped doing. I thought that my move, the change of seasons, living on a farm, all of these things would contribute to really getting my creative juices flowing. This sadly was not the case. For a good part of the year when we moved, I just felt displaced. I have family and friends here but I came to realize that is a good start to build an entirely new life, but it is not enough. It is really only the scaffolding with none of the meaty bits. And while there is something lovely about putting on more layers and the leaves turning color and falling off, what this really leads into is what I have taken to calling, the dark ages. That period of time before the clocks spring forward and after all of the holidays are over when it feels like the sun begins to set at 3:30. When it is just dark and cold, seemingly all the time. I ended up in bed every night at 8:00. Because it felt like it was time to go to bed.
My wise friend keeps telling me to not “rush fall”. And I really get it. Really. And while I am trying to ignore the small changes that are happening, the animals cannot. While we were visiting in Hawaii for almost a month, the mice took full advantage by gnawing a hole into the cabinet that holds most of our food to help themselves to the dry beans and the oatmeal. It was quite a mess. I stuffed steel wool into the hole (thanks Mary!) and hoped for the best. But every morning there was more mouse poop in the cabinet. And I just kept using more and more steel wool to plug up any entranceways. Apparently a mouse can squeeze through a gap the width of your pinky.
In addition to the mice in the cabinets, there were bees. I think that they are yellow jackets. They have taken up residence somewhere between the outside and the inside of that same mouse cabinet (now lovingly referred to as the pestilence cabinet). And they keep getting inside. Maybe one an hour one day. And while I typically just open the front door and let them out, they totally stress me out. I worry that many will get in at one time. I worry that I will come home and find a bunch inside. I have come to learn that they are more agitated in the afternoon between three and five or so. And it is the timeframe where I am likely to find one in the house.
So along with trying to keep the mice out, I am also trying to keep the bees out. I figure if the mice can still get in, then the bees can as well. The pestilence cabinet is plugged with steel wool, paper towels and gorilla duct tape. I will get through a certain amount of time with no bees and feel heartened that I have plugged enough holes and cracks and then, it is not true. I am at the point where I’m certain everyone I know is tired of hearing about my bees. So today, I am going to stop talking about them. Talking about the possible plugging of the holes. The cracks. The spaces. I have come to a point where I realize that as many holes as I plug, in the agitated afternoon state, maybe it is just not possible. That no matter what I do, what materials I use, there will still be a bee. I have been reluctant to have them sprayed. For so many reasons. I am hopeful that we can come to an agreement, the bees and I.
The mice on the other hand, have been offered no such olive branch. I know that they are full of disease as is their poop. So they really, really need to go. After much patching and steel wooling, the cabinets have been baited with poison. This morning, I cleaned up more mouse poop. So we are still not airtight for mice or bees.
And while I truly do not want to rush fall, I will be happy when the critters of summer are tamed a bit by the weather. And when pumpkin beer is widely available. Maybe I will have enough of it to make me forget about the cracks, holes and the poop. Cheers.