- Ted & Debbie (Photographers)
A few weeks ago I was under the house putting outgrown clothes into bins for boys who will soon grow into them. I came back upstairs to tell Ted that I thought I smelled a rat, a dead rat. Some people collect stamps as a hobby, others knit, Ted rats. He heard the word rat and immediately went down to check it out. His verdict was that we were rat free but that a baby opossum had made our basement his home. He made contact with him(in the form of a “robot claw” ) but he was small and wiggled out and away to safety somewhere under the house. Over the next few weeks there were two sightings but no contact was made. We pondered ways to rid our home of this member of the family of the only North American marsupial. We knew we didn’t want to kill him(rats are a different story), so our first idea was a havaheart trap. We definately didn’t want to spend $76 plus shipping to relocate him. Years ago we had tried to catch an opossum with a havaheart trap. It didn’t work. What worked, grossly and accidentally enough was Henry’s pail of soiled diapers out on our patio. We didn’t want to bait him with Simon’s diapers, so we kept thinking.
Yesterday morning there was another sighting under the house. He got away but in the chase Ted discovered two very dehydrated and long dead rats. I felt vindicated, my nose never lies. We gave up on the opossum and set about our day. At dusk, as I was doing dishes and looking out the kitchen window, I saw him edging along under the tangerine tree, making his way to the flowform for a sip of water before bed. I called to Ted who grabbed his work gloves and he and the boys all ran outside. The opossum did his best to run, but they just can’t. He waddled up a tree and waited for Ted to grab him. We then had to figure out what to put him in and where to take him while he “played possum”. The cooler and the Methodist Church down the block seemed like safe transportation and a safe haven. In ten minutes Ted was back with an empty cooler and we’re hoping we are oposum free at last and that there isn’t a mommy or some siblings wondering where he went.
Kids lose teeth. But wait, they grow back. Some of them at least. So far all our kids teeth have been lost without the help of pavements, baseball bats or skateboards. I found this interesting link to the traditions of losing teeth- it’s loaded with witches, magic and superstitions- When a Catanzaro boy loses a tooth he naturally puts it under his pillow along with is birthday fairy book. In the morning, he wakes up to a little poem penned by the birthday fairy along with a little trinket like a crystal or wooden figure. These trinkets will be put onto a homemade wooden mobile which hangs above their bed. So far 3 of our kids have lost teeth. I made Theo’s mobile this week out of his old Longaberger lunch basket lid which was beyond repair. They take a beating going to school everyday. It’s nice that I can recycle part of the basket.
I put a 1″ long notch in the middle of each cloud. This is where they connect to each other and form the apex for the mobile. Then it’s sand, sand, and sand. First with 80 grit, then with 150 grit, and finally with 220 grit.
Now it’s time to drill 2 holes on the bottom cloud. These I thread with clear fishing line or nicely colored thread. This will enable the mobile to hang at its apex. I then drill holes at random where the fairy trinkets will hang. I usually start with about 10 or 12. You can drill more later if needed. Clean out drill holes with horsetail plant. I learned about natural sandpaper from Yo Takimoto who teaches Japanese wood carving @ Tortoise in Venice. With my index finger and thumb I lastly apply a finish of beeswax and mineral oil, let it absorb into wood and buff out with a clean soft cloth. Repeat this step a minimum of three times.
In the alley where we do our recycling there is a blackberry vine with some nice tart fruit. I’m pretty sure it’s a “Himalaya” blackberry, then again it could be of the “Cascade” variety of Rosaceae. I’ve only noticed it here this past summer but it looks well established. It’s super thorny like a rose. Lately I take a small step stool to get to some of the higher berries.
Here’s a quick recipe that works equally well with blackberries (or any berries) from your alley, garden, or market.
Berry Crumble: 6-8 cups fresh or frozen berries,
1/2 cups oats
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick room temp butter
mix all ingredients(except berries) to make the crumble topping
toss berries with a tablespoon or two of flour and pour berries into a 9×13 ceramic or glass baking dish pour crumble topping over berries
bake at 375 for 25-30minutes or until berries bubble juices
great warm with ice cream or cold for breakfast!!