Monday, January 30, 2012

A Better Mousetrap

I didn't want to buy the new kind of mousetrap (on the right) but it was the only kind at the hardware store, and I really needed them, and found it's a genuine improvement on the classic model at left. I catch a mouse every time I set one -- last week, four days in a row, so often I began to feel a little queasy. The new model has a large yellow plastic bait platform that supposedly looks like cheese (the instructions in Spanish say "queso"). This is supposed to attract mice without the use of bait. However, I never baited with cheese because peanut butter works so well. So it's not the fake cheese that makes the new trap better -- it's the size of the bait platform. On the original model it's less than an inch long and only 3/8 of an inch wide and so sensitive it was hard to put it on the floor after it was set --  the slightest tremor made it SNAP! The new model's trigger tucks under the cheese platform quite firmly and stays there while I place it in my meese's favorite spot (beneath the sink, where they used to nibble at the food traces on my potholders in there, and chew 'em up; I bought silicone potholders to confound them, but they come there anyway).

There are other mousetrap manufacturers but I like this brand, stamped "Woodstream Corp., Lititz, PA USA," because of the mouse-head graphic inside the red "V". It just gives me that thrill of blood lust.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Iced Waterfall

Temps are below freezing for really the first time during this snowless winter, so we are having a January Freeze instead of a January Thaw. The cliffs and waterfalls and creek on the property have started prettily freezing. This is half of the double waterfall situated about 50 yards up from LaBarque Creek. This plunge over the mossy rock and fallen trees is about eight feet top to bottom and those are some big icicles. This waterfall and several others here are much easier to see in winter when the foliage is down. I like to think that I have seen it when it will never be exactly this same way again. In fact that is the way I should look at everything. The mosses are always leafy and green no matter what the weather.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Great News About LaBarque Creek

I would lay down my life for this LaBarque Creek that has given me and all my human and animal friends so much sustenance and new kinds of happiness. A group of area property owners called the Friends of LaBarque Creek Watershed has fought development and other incursions with hard work and fundraising and just plain love. Some facts or information about the watershed: The creek is 6.4 miles long and the watershed is 13 square miles. 86 percent of the watershed is forested. The creek supports 40 species of fish. Rare plants, insects and lichens abound in it and on its banks. I have shown you some  of them in the 470 blog entries I have made about life and nature in this area.

So I was ecstatic hearing that two large tracts of land in the LaBarque Creek watershed have been purchased by the state of Missouri and now belong to all of us forever, the larger tract eventually to become Don Robinson State Park, Missouri's 51st state park. Across the road from me is a 330-acre parcel that borders on the Meramec River and for ten years I have wished to explore it. (I watched the wooden fencing around it fall apart, uncared for.) But that land was private. Soon it will belong to us all. The other substantial tract of 843 acres, the size of Central Park, not a half-mile from the 100-acre Divine property, was willed to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in 2008 by Mr. Don Robinson.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Taking My Self to Lunch

I only wanted to get the heck out of the clinic for bone scans and blood draws and after fleeing what I call the "Casino" (where you bet your life) I wanted to live it up, so I stopped at a Cracker Barrel on the way home and bought myself a double order of trout plus fixin's and coffee. I sat across from myself and said, "You've really accomplished a lot this past year. You took some chances and I am proud of you. You helped people out. You saw your family and friends often. You passionately loved. You've taken blows and punches to the gut quite gracefully, or if it was proper to fight, you fought. The mistakes were okay. It's all good. How lucky you are to be healthy and not dead yet like some folks. The best is yet to come. Shucks, I even like you a lot, and other people do too. You know, if I was you I'd be pretty happy."

I recommend that you take your Self to lunch soon. Or to a candlelight dinner. Tell yourself how good-looking you are and how much you love your Self. (Don't hesitate: It's the only Self you've got.) There's only one catch: Your Self has to pay the check.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Ankle Holster

For my birthday I got an Extreme Survival ankle holster. (Yes, I have a CCW license.) Before you panic, know that it is not unusual at all here to conceal and carry. I'm petite, and no conceal contraption, whether it be belly band, shoulder holster, bra holster or tactical T-shirt is able to conceal a firearm, even a tiny one, on my person, and obviously this one would show "profile" through my pant leg, but it's only for driving alone in dark or weird places. The holster is leather with shearling wool inside the leg. The rest is Velcro and the firearm is strapped in real good and tight, but can be freed with one serious yank, such as one would give it in an emergency. The object, though, of having a personal firearm is never having to use it, except on the practice range. Ask anyone who lives here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Battle of Pacific

At sunrise on Oct. 1, 1864, Confederate General William Cabell and troops set fire to the then-new and modern railroad facilities at Pacific, Missouri, burning them to char, and looted the stores for good measure. They also burned two railroad bridges. On Oct. 4, Union army troops commanded by General A.J. Smith came by rail from St. Louis up to the first burned bridge, and then marched into town to confront the Confederates. The Confederates held the top of this very high hill atop the Pacific silica bluffs, and shot cannons down at the Union army. The Union army shot back. Eight Union soldiers were wounded but none killed. The Confederates withdrew (the number of their casualties is unknown), their work of interrupting Union supply lines already done. Smith's troops then joined in Sherman's March on Atlanta.

About two years ago this hilltop was officially recognized as a Civil War battle site and is now Blackburn Park. The cannon is marked "Steen Cannons, Ashland Kentucky." There's a cannonball welded just inside of the cannon mouth so that it can never be shot.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Toast to the New Year

Reeve, my close friend who has 100 head of cattle, is usually very busy, but he took time out during the holidays and he truly does wish us all a very happy new year on this little blue dot of a planet.