Odds and Ends

My super-busy season has begun, and I’m so busy trying to keep up with everything that I’ve just not had time to write.  However, today it’s raining, and now that I have some time to sit at my desk and write, my creative mojo is hiding from me.  Not one single interesting or inspirational topic to share with you is coming to mind.

Regardless, there have been so many odds and ends I’ve wanted to share with you, but none of them worthy of an entire post, so I will ramble on and see where this goes.

odds and Ends

For example, for a while now a pair of downy woodpeckers has been taking turns going in and out of a rotten hole in a tree at the camp.  One parent sits inside the hole, head poking out, until the other parent arrives, and they swap places.

Odds and Ends
Mamma Woodpecker arrives for her turn

Odds and Ends
Mamma watching out

Odds and Ends
Daddy arrives for his turn – You can tel by the red on his head

Odds and Ends
Daddy looking down – see the red?

They never make a sound to announce their arrival, but sure as it’s raining right now, they instinctively seem to know when it’s time for the changing of the guard.  By now I’m convinced this is their nesting place and they must be tending to either eggs or their young.

Every time I go to the camp, I glance up to see if there might be some tiny down woodpeckers learning to fly from that hole.  When they do, I surely hope I’m there to see it.

Then there was the poor dewberry crop.  I only picked one batch, which were basically tasteless from the lack of rain.  I stuck them in the freezer and will probably make a batch of cordial with them when the inspiration hits me. The last batch didn’t turn out so well.  Guess I let it sit WAY too long!

Oh, there are baby figs on the fig tree!  And now that it’s raining, they should grow nice and plump for the picking later on this month or just in time for me to make my annual batch of fig preserves.

How about a bumper crop of alligators we’ve seen while out on tours so far this spring?  I have plenty photos of them.  I must note that I have never, in all my years of photographing gators, seen them resting one atop the other.  But this year, I’ve seen it twice.  Once in a past post, and then again as seen below.

Odds and Ends

My guess is that these are farm-raised gators who became really close friends at the farm, and now that they have been released into the wild, they are sticking close together for comfort.

Sometimes while the film crew is off during their thing in another boat, I hang around and take artsy- fartsy photos like this one of a rotten tree.

Odds and Ends

Wait, let me call it Aged Wood instead of rotten tree, since it’s an artsy photo!

And now for the tale I’ve gone back and forth with myself about whether or not to tell you.

I channeled Anne of Green Gables.

Well, it was a nice spring day working at the camp this week, but for the life of me, I can’t recall what I was going into the shed for when a bucket distracted me.  It wasn’t just any bucket.  It was a bucket into which I had put a big wad of Spanish moss and water in my first efforts to cure the moss for doll-making later on.  (I was inspired by a recent article I wrote for Country Roads Magazine to see if I might try my hand at the Houma Indian art of moss-doll making since it seems to be a dying art.)

Oh, yes, it was a shovel I was going after.  As I reached over the bucket for the shovel, I glanced down at the bucket and was reminded that I needed to hang the moss out on the fence to dry.  When I glanced back a second time, just before slamming the shed door, I realized there was a rat staring up at me, his panicked eyes imploring.

At that very instant, visions of Anne (with an e) pulling a drowned mouse out of the plum pudding sauce, (which she had left uncovered in the pantry), flew through my mind.  Difference is, this poor creature had not drowned but was clinging to dear life with only his head above the wet moss.

Oh no! What would I do?  Grabbing the bucket and bringing it outside, the frightened rat blinked at the bright sunlight.  It was gaunt and weak, and was surely on its last leg.  I don’t like mice, but I hate rats, so I don’t know what came over me.  I must be getting soft in my old age, or maybe senile, but there was no way I could put that rat out of its misery.  I just couldn’t do it.

As I pulled the moss out of the bucket, I realized the rat’s foot was tangled in the moss, holding it captive.  Yes, what I’m about to admit to you is insane, I know.  I lay the entire mess on the ground and proceeded to untangle the moss from around the creepy creature’s ankle.  (Do rats have ankles?)

Sparing you the oh-so-gory details, I pulled away all the moss I could, the rat’s tail flicking against my hand, giving me the heebeejeebies.  Oh, Lord, am I really doing this? I mean, I set traps  for these things.

Once free, the pitiful thing crawled across the ground, trying its best to escape.  Then the fable of the lion and the mouse went through my addlepated brain.

I said to Rasputin (yeah, I named the dog-gone thing), “Hey Raz, don’t you know your fables?  I’m trying to help you here” as I scooped him up with the shovel and tossed him out into a field of tall grass.

Hours later, when I dared look back at the place where I freed the rodent, it was gone.  I figure it either crept away to die a dignified death, became fodder for the wild cat that stalks about, or it was hiding somewhere, healing up in order to raid my shed again.

I once again channeled Anne, “Well, I suppose in the end it was a romantic way to perish, for a mouse.”

Oh yes, all you germ and disease freaks, I immediately washed my hands multiple times with Dawn and hot water.  Afterward, totally creeped out by what I had done, I busied myself maniacally with multiple tasks attempting to block the entire insane event out of my mind.

Well, folks, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  Really?

Now, you to tell me just how certifiable I really am, or anything else you might want to say in the comment section!

Depending on how you look at it, I am

Insanely or Humanely yours,



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  1. You are KIND. I would have done the same thing. I HAVE done the same thing–but I did use a crab net to get the mouse out of the water.

  2. And, you said you had nothing to write about! That story could be the making of a second children’s book. I just want to know if you saw the alligator’s eye in the Aged Wood?

  3. BW, I think you’re lovely. Rats are actually very intelligent animals; and anyway, you wouldn’t want anything to die through its leg being trapped. I really hope the rat managed to get away to somewhere it could recover.
    By the way, you have LITTLE figs on the trees? Here in France they are getting quite big now, and if we get a bit of warm weather this first crop will probably be ripe by the end of June. (The big second crop comes in much later, in September or October.) Did I ever send you the recipe for fig chutney? It’s such a brilliant way to use a glut of figs, and adds its distinctive sweet/spicy/sour note to cheese, hot or cold meats, beans etc all winter long. If I didn’t send the recipe, let me know and I will!

    1. Does your fig chutney use chopped/minced walnuts? I made some years ago and cannot find the recipe.

      As for the rat, I would have added a new door to the shed!!! I am terrified by rodents and that does include mice, rats, hamsters & guinea pigs. And I do mean terrified to the point I will pass out. Now a spider, big or small and snakes do not bother me at all.

      1. Cammy, isn’t it strange how people have different phobias? I told that story to someone earlier and she said she would kill a tarantula with her bare hand before she’d get within yards of a rodent. Go figure!! Oh, and i hate snakes!!!! But I guess i don’t have a fainting phobia over anything. yet!!!

    2. Yes, but please do me a favor? Go ahead and post it right here because others would like to have it. Then, later on, with your permission, I will make it and add it to our recipe list, if you would allow me to do so! Thanks so much for the sweet comment, too!

  4. The bad back has returned now that the chemo treatments are not as debilitating. Crapola. Been getting bunch of sleep making up for loss I guess. Been chasing bream with fly rod and mowing and gardening and scootering and fixing up new boat. So maybe my ‘down time’ is like your ‘down time’.

    Had big tree limb fall off on dead calm night. Various critters living in it were not happy. No woodpeckers though.

    Got some raspberries to plant….

    1. Sorry to hear about the back woes. Can’t catch a break, but it’s impressive that you’re keeping on keeping on! Bream on a fly rod! Awesome! Now, go plant those raspberries!

  5. Good on ya BW, I have hunted most of my life, but now that I am much older I have trouble killing anything. I even catch bugs in the house and take them outside. I do however eat a rabbit or squirrel now and then. BB

    1. Yeah, I just don’t have the desire to kill things these days, even though I was raised in a hunting family and my boys are avid hunters. I don’t like snakes, though and if I encounter a poisonous one, i might be inclined to dispatch it forthwith! Great hearing from you, Bill!

  6. I don’t fear rodents, although I have been known to have second thoughts after seeing those teeth on a nutria rat.

    Rats and mice are nasty dirty disease carrying yucky pooh dropping critters!!!!! You need some snakes to clean them out. King snakes are great.

    Neighbor just brought in a bucket of plums yesterday. Will be making jelly this weekend. It sure seems early doesn’t it?

    1. nasty disease carrying . . . hence the reason for the vigorous hand washing! Plum jelly sounds divine! Bring it on! never made it myself. is it early for plums? most everything else is late due to prolonged cooler temps . . . .

      1. While the feces o’ Rats, Mice, Raccoons…or just about any wild animal, can carry diseases, Rats are otherwise known to be very clean (especially “country rats” with more access to clean water). They wash frequently. Mates o’ ours have had pet Py-Rats for years (they’ve gone through a number as they don’t live long) and another mate frequently uses them in his “Geek Magic” performances (he breeds his to make up for the short lifespans).
        Pigeons are more likely to share disease with ye along with smaller biting creatures they carry.

        As for snakes…I hear they taste like Chicken.

        1. Clean, diry, doesn’t matter. He was a “drowned rat”, and I felt sorry for him since it was my unintended trap that hampered his ability to escape. Oh, did I mention we have a bumper flea crop down at the house this year? I guess because it’s been so dry, but I surely thought the below-freezing temps would have taken care of those pesky blood suckers. I have too much land to treat, so I have no clue how to be rid of them. I have dishpan hands from bathing the dog so much in Dawn, since flea shampoo costs more than mine. Any suggestions of an inexpensive natural treatment for the lawn–at least around the house?

          1. Two things ye can use…
            1. Diatomaceous earth, a type of fossilized algae that resembles chalk dust – it’s actually good (in food grade) for humans to eat, however it essentially dehydrates to the point of dust anything with an exoskeleton (fleas, bedbugs, mites, ants, cockroaches…).

            2. Pyrethrins – a concentrated derivative of Chrysanthemums! Least toxic to humans or pets (like any insecticide, read labels, wear a mask and eyewear when spraying). Something o’ a “universal bug killer”, great for wasps, hornets and other pests. “Billy The Exterminator” swears by it. PDF info

            Garlic & Brewer’s Yeast help keep fleas off the dog (crush and add to their food). Brewer’s Yeast can even be sprinkled on their coat…if they lick it, it’s not harmful.

          2. We used to bathe the dogs with Murphy’s Oil Soap. It did a number on fleas. I wonder if it would help if you were to dilute it and spray around the house with a garden sprayer.

            1. I planted garlic all around our property line out back because all the neighboring yards had/have dogs and cats in them and the fleas and ticks were horrible. I love the way it has cut the population down to almost zilch.

              Not only does it help control fleas and ticks but, I use the fresh leaves/spears for cooking along with the bloom once it starts to dry out. I gave some to a friend and she couldn’t believe how good that dried bloom was for cooking. I dig it once the leaves/spears dry up, rinse the bulbs (which are more of a green onion shape than cloves), let them dry and I have fresh garlic. I always leave some of the cloves/bulbs in the ground for next year.

              1. I forgot about garlic. We used to give garlic tablets to 2 of our dogs years ago. That was before getting the medicine from the Vet that covers fleas, ticks and Heartworms. BTW, garlic tablets are much less expensive! Try them. Can’t hurt and it might save you a lot of time.

  7. I love the photos of the woodpeckers — as much for the hole as for the birds! I just learned a couple of years ago that, if you want to attract certain birds to birdhouses, you have to be sure the hole is exactly the right size. Apparently some species are quite picky, like bluebirds. A half-inch too large or two small, and they’ll snub even the cutest danged house.

    As for the rat — your way of coping seems perfectly reasonable to me. Actually, I might sooner have a rat around than a nutria, but we all have our preferences. Just so you know, I’m the one who’ll pick up lady bugs and grasshoppers from a boat and carry them up to the grass, where they belong. If they want to go elsewhere, that’s their business, but I always think they’ve landed on that vast expanse of fiberglass and then thought, “What is this?

    Fresh peaches and blueberries at the farmers’ market today! I just pulled out the shortcake recipe. Here comes summer!

    1. The same is true for purple martin houses, and they have to be way high with nothing in the way of their flight path. I’ve not been successful in getting purple martins to nest in the house I’ve provided.

      As for the bugs – – that doesn’t surprise me about you. When we’re out on tour and a little tree frog hops out onto the deck and my customers shoo it away, I advise to leave it alone because somewhere in my boat has been that frog’s hoem for a while. If not, i still feel like it would fare better if it hopped off back at the camp than out in the scary swamp somewhere! Same with lizards! ummmm. Shortcake, yum!!!

  8. I landed here from a friend’s Facebook post that shared one of your stories. You are so awesome to help that rodent. Much better than what I would have done!

    1. Hi Lisa, and welcome to this bayou! Glad you hopped on over to check it out firsthand. you just never know what you’re going to find on this blog. I invite you to check out the older posts when you have time, and feel free to like my Bayou Woman FB page if you care to, and you’ll always know what’s going on down here! thanks again!

  9. I enjoyed “This and That”. I wish I had your Woodpeckers. I have a Woodpecker here that is looking for a mate. I sure hope he finds one soon! He’s driving me crazy. He pecks on the metal streetlight and our metal chimney. We were told that he’s looking for a mate when they peck on metal. I don’t know if it’s true or we have the dumbest woodpeckers around.
    Now about that rat. Let’s just say it was his lucky day he found your house and not mine.

    1. Seems like every time I write a story that might be controversial (like saving a rat) I think of you and wonder what in the world you are going to say! Why is that? I guess because you’ve been a faithful follower from the beginning, and I love you no-nonsense style! Like I said, i please temporary insanity. That’s the only way this makes any sense at all . . . because i do so hate rats!!!

  10. I also enjoyed your hodgepodge blog. Sometimes, inspiration just doesn’t come when you want it to and a rambling post can be fun.

    Lucky you! You were able to spot your Downy nest. I wish I’d known where mine was. I put out suet and have had downies visiting daily. The other day, I spotted three, one of which was having a spot of trouble figuring out how to hang on the suet feeder. A baby!

    Oh, ye gads….You rat saver, you!

    Mice don’t bother me, as long as they don’t get into the house but rats? UGH. We’ve got plenty of them, as we have several fast food places and restaurants nearby. Can you say ‘rat buffet’?

    Gus (the cat) has deposited two of them on our front mat in recent months. While I appreciate that he reduced the local population and wanted to show off his hunting prowness, I just as soon not step on one whilst taking out the recycling after dark. Ick.

    Still, I think I’d probably have done the same thing and saved that poor sucker.

    1. obviously the feral cat that hangs around the camp isn’t doing its job. At least Gus knows what to do with the pesky rodents! Yeah, I just felt so sorry for the poor thing, and guilty because I caused his dilemma. Next time, I will put a cover on the bucket so nothing else falls in. Oh, and did I mention that I really hate snakes!

  11. Hope you’re having a good weekend. “They” keep saying we’ll get rain and I thought several times yesterday that the bottom would drop out on us but nothing ever happened.

    We had some excitement this morning. Our lawnmower blew up. I mean, blew up. Pieces went flying in the air. We’ve had them simply lay down and die but we’ve never had one explode! Hubby had just made a few passes in the front yard, when ~~~BOOM~~~.

    At least the Father’s Day sales have started. We should be able to find a deal. If Hubby can resist the salesman’s bait and switch routine.

    1. Hope Hubby wasn’t hurt and y’all didn’t have any property damage.
      I thought they only put neckties and Recliners on sale for Father’s Day. LOL

      1. Nah, no damage, Steffi. Except to our cardiovascular systems. That BOOM sure jump started ours. I guess you could call it free cardio rehab! lol

        You should have seen the stack of Father’s Day Sale adverts in our paper today. Anything even remotely ‘man’ related was on sale.

          1. Nah, no damage to anything, other than the mower. No injuries.

            It was a self propelled push mower. He got another one that afternoon, though he ignored my advice about getting one of the ones on sale. Drat the man!

            Happy Father’s Day to all you dad’s out there.

  12. Our newspaper was filled with Father’s Day ads also. I spoiled hubby last year so this year, I get the goodies.

    We started mowing/cleaning yard/hedges, etc. this morning and before I could get the cord stretched to the end of the hedges, it started sprinkling. We hurried to get the front and sides done and was soaked by the time we shut down. It sprinkled steadily for 1/2 hour or so. Just enough that we had to wait for about 3 hours for the grass to dry off so we could finish. Sure was a nice cool breeze that came with the rain. Hope we get more. We need it really bad since we are in State 3 of water conservation here.

  13. I think its great that you rescued that little guy. Not a fan of rodents of any kind but I’d have done the same thing.

    As always, I adore your photos. Especially like the tree in the swamp.

  14. Somehow I keep missing back posts……I really like the story about you releasing the rat! I don’t think you’re crazy!