Wednesday, June 13, 2018

More Poppies and Pests

Some volunteer poppies have grown in the little pocket park at the top of our street, the same place where the pot plant grew last summer. We always assumed the pot plant appeared because someone rolled a doobie while sitting on that bench, tossing the seeds on the ground. Do you think someone was sitting there more recently doing opium?

Probably not. I know nothing about doing opium, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't come with viable seeds. I like the poppies, though. That's the same variety I tried to grow in our garden with seeds from my neighbor, and for some reason, mine have grown no higher than about two centimeters. They're stuck in eternal sprout-hood. Yet these feral ones seem to spread effortlessly.

Yesterday as I was re-reading my blog post in the afternoon -- which I do sometimes when I go through my blogroll to read everyone else's blogs -- I realized that I'd made an ellipsis ( ... ) with four commas rather than three periods.

I corrected it, but good grief! Are my eyes that bad?! I think I've reached the point where I need to wear my glasses to work on my computer.

Here's another dramatic stand of poppies in the 'hood.

Not to drone on and on about our mouse situation, but we're up to ten or possibly eleven (I've lost count) that we've trapped in the house. And the other day, as Dave and I were watching TV with the back door open, one ran inside from the garden! I chased it back out again. I'd thought our peanut feeder might be responsible for a household mouse explosion, but now I suspect it's on a larger scale. Mrs. Kravitz told me weeks ago that she'd trapped six or seven in her house, and that was before we set any of our traps.

I wonder if it's related to Camden Council's rubbish collection schedule, which a little more than a year ago changed to once every two weeks for non-recyclables? That leaves a lot of trash sitting around for a long time. In theory, people are storing it in mouse-proof bins, and the vermin-attracting rubbish -- food waste -- is collected weekly to be recycled as compost. But I bet a lot of people don't bother to separate their trash, and even separated, some household garbage (paper towels, cling film, non-recyclable containers) is bound to contain traces of food.

A Camden "mouse surge" is kind of a creepy thought, but in the four years we've lived here we never saw or heard indoor mice until mid-March of this year, and since then it's been crazy. (We had seen a few in the garden, though.)

I'd get a cat, but Dave is allergic and Olga would never tolerate a feline companion.

Anyway, I think the situation is better now, since we've killed so many, locked up the dog food and rodent-proofed the peanut feeder. But stay tuned!


  1. Another factor that can drive a local mouse population increase is when the place they've been living is no longer available, such as a building or outbuilding recently torn down. They sure can breed fast, too, so it may be just a temporary lack of predators, the boom/bust cycle of wildlife.

    Those poppies are beautiful. It's annoying when stuff grows everywhere except the places you want it!

  2. Those poppies are lovely. Olga looks as if she is saying..." shall I water them Dad? "
    We had a problem with rats some years ago. Getting into the kitchen somewhere behind all the fitted units: coming into one of the drawers where the often food grimed oven glove was kept, and also chewing at bars of soap' getting into the rubbish bin under the sink, by chewing away at the plastic to give an easier entry! Poison under the sink didn't seem to do much good. They were also in the garden and used to sit in the bird feeder helping themselves. One once dropped out more or less on top of my schnauzer and next to the yorkie......neither of those 2 dogs....bred as ratters originally, caught it before it disappeared down a hole in the shrubbery!
    My husband eventually had to pull some of the kitchen units out and found a small hole in the skirting...once filled in we have had no more problems...touch wood! Luckily I am not freaked out by small rodents.....a friend of mine would have left home if it happened at hers! Now, if it had been large house spiders............. !

  3. Regarding the mice, may I suggest that you contact rodent control specialist Herr P. Piper at Hamelin Rathaus, Lower Saxony in Germany. Just make sure there are no children around when he arrives.

  4. You've got a place somewhere that those mice are getting in. That's just all there is to it. Are there suddenly fewer foxes? That would explain the population explosion outside. You may have to get a pro in to help.
    Pretty poppies! But yeah, I'm pretty sure that opium does't contain any seeds per se.

  5. The mice have figured out how to come and go. You may need some help in finding their tiny doorway. Love seeing those beautiful poppies. We grow them here too.

  6. Your mouse came in the house and had a litter. They are able to live in your house for a while before you detect them. I'd also get rid of the mice in your yard as they will keep coming in. don't leave doors open. It's a good idea to reread your own posts from time to time.

  7. wrong kind of poppies for opium. but aren't they lovely? I had some of that kind a few years ago but they didn't naturalize the way the common red ones do. be glad it's just mice and not rats.

  8. Sounds like you could use Dick Whittington's famous cat.
    I love all those poppies!

  9. I really like the annual poppies. I had some up north that naturalized over and over for years. For all I know they still are. I used to let the seed heads dry and then in late summer/early fall I'd shake them over the area where I wanted them to grow in the next year. The seeds survived those heavy New York State winters and thrived every year.

  10. Much to my wife's dismay, I can't help but sing "Mighty Mouse is on his wayyyyy!" She hated that cartoon show, I loved it. And Mighty Mouse could always save the day.

  11. Hi Steve, did you get my e-mail about the ankle boots you found? Even if you didn't I, have a very funny (tragic?) story about a mouse, but I don't like to impinge on your territory without your say so. Blessings

  12. I feel kind of bad that we've seen no evidence of any more mice after finding their "lair." Although maybe they're still around & we just haven't seen them. Time will tell!

    Love the poppies! We have a couple of kinds of poppy in our wildflower mix. It's been a lot of fun.

  13. Of course we feel sorry about the mice, everyone's got to make a living and all, BUT ...sorry. The poppies are lovely, my favorite flower for sure, and opium was my all time favorite drug! Bliss, so glad it is illegal and not readily available right out of the sticky poppy heads, I would be long gone. Olga (heart sticker)love

  14. Jenny-O: That's an interesting theory. We've had several houses in the neighborhood gutted and renovated in the past year. Maybe some of those were mouse havens?

    Frances: Well, I'm glad you found where they were getting in! Mice are no fun, but I think rats are even worse, although I'm not sure why. I probably should try to figure out where these mice are coming from, but I do NOT want to crawl around under this house! We haven't seen any holes in the kitchen but it's hard to tell what's going on behind and beneath our built-in cabinets.

    YP: I considered that, but apparently Mr. Piper is long retired.

    Ms. Moon: Yeah, I know I should invest some time in trying to find their access point to the house. I think that may be a job for an exterminator, if the problems become much more severe. I really do think we're on the downslope, though. As far as I know, we have just as many foxes as usual.

    Robin: Every once in a while I see California poppies in someone's garden here! I think, "You're a long way from home!"

    Red: Yeah, I think you're right -- someone had babies.

    Ellen: Are they?! I thought they were opium poppies, but what do I know. The field poppies definitely spread much more easily.

    Sharon: Ha! Except that in Olga's presence, the cat wouldn't have lived long enough to become famous.

    Colette: I think my seedlings might have stayed small because I sowed them in the spring. I should have done what you did -- scattered the seeds in the fall. Next time around!

    Catalyst: Ha! Lord, I haven't thought about Mighty Mouse in ages.

    Lesley: I saw your comment on the boots post, but I didn't get an e-mail from you. Do you want the boots? Should I run back and fetch them and mail them to you? Go ahead and tell your mouse story!

    Bug: I know, I hate the thought that I've driven out/killed them. But sometimes we have to draw a line, don't we?

    Linda Sue: I smoked a joint with opium in it once YEARS ago, and honestly, I didn't notice a difference!

  15. Mice breed very very rapidly and with all the food you provide, who could blame them?

    Maybe you all should go away for a day or two and invite a friendly cat to stay and mind the place.