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Motor City Homestead

I don’t think Aunt Molly would appreciate option #3

September 30th, 2008

Nate:  Levi, do you want to come to Uncle Seth’s with me?

Levi:  Yes!  Can I be naked?

Nate:  No, you can put on clothes and come with me, or be naked and stay home.

Levi:  What if we went to Uncle Seth’s and were all naked together?

All Things Bright and Beautiful . . .

September 29th, 2008

Levi (in a sing-song voice):  I have to go poo-oop

Nate:  You have to go poop? 

Levi:  That’s a praise song.

Templeton bites the dust

September 23rd, 2008

I know it’s hard to believe, but Templeton has been springing 2 - 3 traps every night for the past two weeks.  That’s, at minimum, 28 brushes with death for the intrepid rodent.  I’m happy to report that last night death brushed too closely for Templeton to avoid.  Although, I’m pretty sure that if you catch one Templeton, it means there are lots more - like cockroaches.  We’ll see.  I’m continuing to set traps, but in the meantime I feel pretty good about increasing the score from 28 - zip to 28 - 1.

An economist in the making

September 18th, 2008

For background, I work in the financial industry.  Here’s some backstory - although if you take the time to read this, you might not feel like laughing.

Levi:  Dad, will you tell us a bedtime story?

Nate (exhausted):  Ok.  I’ll tell you the story of how the tiny Standard & Poor’s rating brought down the giant named AIG

Levi:  Oh yeah.  This is going to be a good one.

A Scientist in the making

September 17th, 2008

It’s 8:30 AM.  Eva has already had breakfast, and I find her in her bed with her special blanket, sucking on her fingers (her favorite bedtime routine)

 Nate:  Eva, it’s 8:30 in the morning!!  What are you doing in bed with your blanket?

Eva:  I’m testing it to make sure it will work tonight.

Small Town Problems, Big City Solutions, Part 2

September 13th, 2008

Yesterday, I checked the glue traps and noticed that one of them had been moved close to a bag of bottle returns sitting in the corner of the garage.  The other trap was not where I had left it, so I assumed Amy had moved it to a better location as well.  When I asked her about it, however, she said, “No one was in the garage today.  We didn’t move the traps.”  So, it’s now safe to assume that Templeton did in fact make an appearance in our garage yesterday.  The second glue trap is nowhere to be found, and the previously rat-sized hole in the siding is now considerably bigger.  A more accurate descriptions would be that it is now a rat-with-a-glue-trap-stuck-to-his-back sized hole in the siding. 

Templeton

I imagine all of his friends are making fun of him - similar to a bad haircut in middle school.  They are probably coming up with corny one liners like

“Hey Templeton, are you sticking around after class?”

“Wow, that book must be pretty good.  Templeton has been glued to it all afternoon.”

Is it wrong that I’m taking such delight in the misfortune of a rodent?

And my bionicle project is under budget too!

September 10th, 2008

Nate:  How’s it going, Gabe?

 Gabe:  Ahead of schedule!!

Small town problems, big city solutions

September 6th, 2008

So, we’ve got a new addition to the MCH.  Unfortunately, he only comes around at night, steals from the garden and chews holes in our garage siding.  It’s a rat.  And he’s a smart one.  After Gabe and Robbie proved themselves as stellar pest control officers last week, I put them on the case, with a $10 reward for catching the rodent.  Sadly, great enthusiasm and lots of running and yelling proved insufficient in this latest pest control venture.  Not only did we not see the rat, but he managed to spring all the rat traps we set over the course of a week, and eat all the bait.  With the traditional spring traps a failure, we moved on to glue traps.  They are absolutely my least favorite means of pest control, because once the animal is caught, it still needs to be killed.  That’s unpleasant.  My brother Chad recommends the “dip of death” with a youtube video demonstration, but I’ll spare you (more on that later).  For two days the glue traps proved they were only good for catching legions of ants.  Then, this morning I noticed one of the glue traps was askew, and something was definetly caught in it.  Unfortunately, it was a mouse, not the rat.  And, even more unfortunately, I had to give it the dip of death myself.  I used a bucket of water, Chad uses the toilet, and the whole thing is over in about 30 seconds. 

Clearly, the rat is attracted to the food in the chicken coop.  The rabbits are messy eaters, so they spray their pellets on the ground at night.  The chickens get table scraps, so there is often a watermelon rind or something on the ground that a rat would consider good eating. 

Now, on a real farm, I’d have an old tomcat that lived in the barn, a rat snake or two living in the corn crib, and we’d have no rat problems at all.  But, here in the city, I can’t just let a cat run free around the neighborhood.  So, we’re stuck with traps, and so far our own “Templeton” has proven impossible to catch.  Home Depot sells some live traps that I’m tempted to try - I’ll let you know how it goes. 

We’ve done lots of gathering, now let’s do some hunting.

August 29th, 2008

MCH has spent most of our time focusing on the gathering aspect of survival.  Even the chickens and rabbits are essentially gathered / farmed, instead of hunted.  All that changed this afternoon.  Staying with us this week is an extraordinary young man named Robbie, who has a gift for catching squirrels.  As far as I can tell, it mostly takes the combination of stupid squirrels and lots of patience.  The basic set up requires a cage, a long rope tied to the cage door, and some bait.  Then, the hunter (Gabe and Robbie, in this case) hides behind a tree or garage.  When an unsuspecting squirrel ventures into the cage, the rope is yanked, the door swings shut, and the squirrel is trapped.  Impossible, you say?  Think again.

squirre.jpg

My favorite part is the obviously panicked squirrel clinging to the side of the cage.  The kids were pretty disappointed when I told them we weren’t going to skin and eat the squirrel.  Maybe next time.

Does he know something we don’t know?

August 27th, 2008

Gabe’s friend Robbie, while retelling the story of Amy getting pulled over this evening:  “Man, I thought I was going to Juvi!”