11/07/05 to 11/11/05
So last week, on Saturday afternoon, we were sitting outside at the picnic table
eating lunch when our neighbor stopped by and told us how she had been cleaning
house all morning since she had found evidence of a mouse.  She had set out a
trap, and caught him already.  I mentioned how we had never had a mouse, and I
didn't know how one would get in anyway, and she said, "trust me, you WILL get a
mouse."  So, Saturday afternoon we went on a walk around the lake, and when
we're in the park we don't necessarily lock our front door.  Sunday morning our
neighbor was gone.  I didn't mention any of this in the previous website because it
didn't seem that important.  However, Monday night I picked up the computer bag
off the floor, to throw the computer in it, and two Hershey's kisses I had been toting
around were chewed into.  So, either that woman was a voodoo queen and put a
hex on me (RVers are very similar to gypsies after all) or she opened our front door
and put a mouse in.  Either way I was not happy.  We went out that day and bought
traps.  I wanted the live catch kind of course, but Richard picked them out without
me (I was in the fabric section)h and he swears the price difference would have
made me choose the snap kind anyway.  So Monday night we set out all 4 that had
come in the pack, loaded with peanut butter.  Tuesday morning they were licked
clean!  So we rebaited them, two with cheese and two with chocolate, and went to
the post office.  When we returned, one of the chocolate ones had been nibbled
on!  I put the cheese-baited trap next to it and I set about cleaning the kitchen,
pulling all the dishes out of the cabinets, vacuuming the shelves, then scrubbing,
etc.  I was so mad about having a mouse, and having to set out death traps.  
Richard asked, "well, didn't you ever have mice when you were growing up?"  No, I
had a vicious cat that killed anything that tried to come in.  I never had mice!  

That night we went to the lounge to watch TV.  Well, we weren't really on a TV
watching mission, we were checking out the guards.  See, this is the first NACO
park where they have 24 hour guards.  This is also the first NACO park that grows
wine grapes on the property.  They haven't picked their grapes this year or last
because the overproduction of grapes has made it so no one will make wine for
them.  So, all these grapes were drying up on the vines, and when we came in I
asked the guard if members were allowed to pick the grapes and he said no.  
Well, we felt they needed rescued from shriveling up, so Tuesday night, after
scoping out the guard situation, we walked over there with two grocery sacks and
picked in the dark.  We had tried to remember where the few good bunches were
among the shriveled up ones, but is was pitch black and we got home with only
about half of them good.  Since we had snuck the grapes, we couldn't clean them
outside (also because it was too dark to see) so I brought them into the kitchen
with wasps and spiders and millipedes all over them.  YUCK!!  We crushed
enough to make what we thought would be 3/4 gallon.  It looked pretty pitiful, barely
covering the bottom of our 12 gallon fermenter.
While we were out pilfering grapes, a little mouse had tried to pilfer cheese off of a
trap, and when we got back, we found that we had finally caught the little rodent.  I
was sad of course.  Richard didn't want me to see it, but I looked anyway and said
things like, "oh poor thing."  And I told it I was sorry I had to kill it, but it just couldn't
live in my house.  Just as a precaution, we rebaited all the traps, but didn't think
much about it.  Wednesday morning when we came back from doing laundry, we
had caught another one.  It was even cuter and littler and made me even sadder,
but I was furious that now I had more mouse turds in my kitchen.  I talked to the
manager and apparently they get mice every year this time.  I talked to another
RVer and he says he caught 7 last year at this time!!  Well that will not work for me.
 So Wednesday, 11-9, we spent the entire day checking the RV for possible
entries, moving traps around, and cleaning everywhere.

Thursday we took the advice of another camper and put a cone on our electric
cord so that mice can't get in.  That will be the last of our mouse problem, right?  
Then we went to the little store in the RV park to buy milk, and started talking to the
girl about the "souvenir" Merlot Wine they were selling.  It is years 2001 and 2002
that the park had made, and it has "turned" so they are selling it for $3.00 a bottle.  
We were concerned about why it would have turned.  We didn't want that to
happen to our 3/4 gallon, although we were pretty sure that such a small amount
would be gone long before it had a chance to turn.  So we were talking about what
a shame it was that all those grapes were drying up on the vine, and she said that
last year they put a sign up that members could pick them, and only had one
member do it.  We said we would be interested in picking, so she called up the
boss man on the two way radio and he gave the a-okay.  So I was feeling great
that now I wasn't really a cold-blooded grape thief, but Richard was mad that we
had waited 9 days since our arrival to get the okay and now the grapes would be
even more dried up.  We hopped in the truck and drove to the vines to start
picking.  Richard was relieved to find that there were many good bunches still
hanging on the vines.
No,
we're
not
picking
the
CDs.  
They,
and
green
and
metallic
ties, are
there to
keep
the
birds
away.
His relief soon turned to worry as he remembered my picking addiction.  I just
can't leave a good bunch still hanging there.  So it was late afternoon, probably
around 4:45 when we got back to the RV with what I guess was 75 lbs of Merlot
grapes.  (Way too many, and definitely my fault!  Richard was in the truck with our
picking buckets in the back, trying to drive away, and I kept picking and throwing
them in the back of the truck, and muttering things about someone sleeping on
the couch.)  We set up on the picnic table to pick them off the stems and wash
them and crush them.  We had assumed that a good percentage would be bad,
but picking in the daylight had done us some good, and we only threw away about
two percent.  Which meant of course, that we cleaned grapes well into the night.  
We brought out a light and the bug spray and picked grapes off stems until 10:30.
 (Richard still loves me, but it was touch and go there for a while.)  It was no where
near as easy as it had been at Ellen's with the grape crushing machine that did all
the work!  She also had a grape press, remember?  So in 7 to 10 days, I'm going
to have to run all that through the poor-man's version of a grape
press...cheesecloth!

The Merlot looks a little more respectable now, in the 12 gallon fermenter.  Those
14 cases of wine bottles along side the bed won't be enough now, so start saving
your bottles for us!.
You see the
tape on the
Blackberry
wine?  We
had to label it
because it and
Cranberry are
starting to look
very similar.  
Now Merlot
will be joining
in too.  (You
may notice
that I have my
rotary cutting
mat out, I've
started sewing
again.)
Last night I found another mouse turd on my kitchen counter--GROSS!!  And this
morning the cheese was nibbled off of one of the traps.  Sneaky damn rodents!  
We're still trying to be convinced that the electric cord cone we made is keeping
them out, so maybe this one was already in here.  Today, Friday Nov. 11th, is
Veteran's Day so the park is having a pie social at 1:30.  We're going to wait
around for it so Richard can indulge on free pie, then head to Roseville to have
dinner with Julie and Karrie again.  Hopefully when we come back, at least one
trap will not be empty.  Otherwise, I may have to get a cat.