Home > General > Open thread………………………………………….Friday, February 28

Open thread………………………………………….Friday, February 28

February 27th, 2014

ice treesNo end in sight yet.  Winter has a firm grip on us.  Every week we seem to get more  snow and arctic temperatures.   The few warm days we have had are simply teasers…something to taunt us.

The vernal equinox is a little over 3 weeks away.  Day Light Saving Time begins in less than 2 weeks, on March 9. We might need a dog sled for St. Patricks Day.

Have people been sicker this winter?  Had more colds?  I am finishing up cold #2 this winter.  I hadn’t had a cold in 5 years.  I am ready for this horrible winter to be gone!

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  1. Wolverine
    February 28th, 2014 at 00:29 | #1

    Enough is enough. First head cold in a decade at least.

  2. punchak
    February 28th, 2014 at 08:12 | #2

    Nope – no cold yet. BTW, Anchorage’s temp right now is 36F!
    Scandinavia is balmy with Oslo at 38, Helsinki 36, Copenhagen 43, Stockholm 41.
    Even Moscow has 36!
    I don’t mind the cold when the sun is shining; got long underwear!

  3. February 28th, 2014 at 08:46 | #3

    I don’t mind cold. I don’t like bitter cold.

    High 20′s are ok with me.

  4. February 28th, 2014 at 16:09 | #4

    @Wolverine
    My wife ended up with the flu….first time in decades. And she had the shot.

  5. Lyssa
    February 28th, 2014 at 17:19 | #6

    I just read that the cold winter may have killed the stink bugs. Something positive.

  6. March 2nd, 2014 at 15:21 | #7

    @Moon-howler
    She’s back to work. Now we’re fighting colds.

    • March 2nd, 2014 at 16:08 | #8

      Welcome to my world. I fought and lost. The cold just kicked my ass!

  7. Rick Bentley
    March 3rd, 2014 at 08:29 | #9

    Lyssa, here’s hoping (about the stink bugs)! I hope a few squirrels don’t wake up also.

    • March 3rd, 2014 at 09:11 | #10

      The squirrels are all over in my yard, breaking into my huge bag of sunflower seed.

  8. punchak
    March 3rd, 2014 at 13:24 | #11

    Hope you keept the seed far away from your house. Squirrels
    in the house = no picnic / maybe for them but not for the owner.
    Cost me $5000 after some took residence in my attic!

  9. Rick Bentley
    March 3rd, 2014 at 16:39 | #12

    I had some in my attic, on a couple of occasions. One died behind the wall and resulted in a couple of weeks’ worth of maggot flies in the kids’ rooms. Years later, it took some real trapping effort to get a family of four out.

    Once they are in your attic there is only one thing to do. Buy a trap, learn to use it, and trap them one after the other. After trapping them, you can take them 10-20 miles away and release them – I’ve done this with many squirrels that I caught over the years. And I think that some managed to find the house again from 10 miles away. Better yet, drown them and find somewhere to burn the bodies. I can’t find a straight answer on whether that’s legal in Virginia, or not. But I recommend doing it.

    • March 3rd, 2014 at 18:58 | #13

      Oh totally gross. How did they get in there in the first place?

      I had some in the attic many years ago. We sent the cat up the attic and then we moved.

  10. March 3rd, 2014 at 19:38 | #14

    Did you leave a forwarding address for the cat?

  11. Rick Bentley
    March 4th, 2014 at 08:00 | #15

    The squirrels were tearing in through weaker spots in wood, and getting in though the fascia. I had it repaired twice by carpenters (a real pain – it’s four stories up, no deck) with “squirrel-repellant wood” and squirrels came in again both times. It took many hours for them to tear in each time; frustratingly we could hear them doing it but couldn’t stop them.

    I now have vinyl covering the wood, and it’s hard for them to chew through it or maintain a foothold so as to try. They COULD if they wanted to. So part of the equation was to make sure the ones who had lived there and want in are SIX FEET UNDERGROUND.

  12. Not Bernie Madoff
    March 4th, 2014 at 10:14 | #16

    Squirrels are persona no grata here also. We enjoy seeing and hearing birds very much so Mrs. NBM keeps a bird-feeder well-stocked. She’s tried everything to keep the squirrels away, including buying a trap. The squirrels ignored the trap and went straight to the bird-feeder. She and my teenage son have formed a sort of vendetta against the squirrels. He has become so inflamed by them and passionate about getting rid of them for his mom I started calling him Bill Murray after Bill Murray’s role in “Caddyshack” with the groundhogs. RIP Harold Ramis – one of the funniest guys ever.

    • March 4th, 2014 at 15:31 | #17

      I have mixed feelings. Squirrels are hungry also. I buy peanuts for them to lure them away from my bird feeder(s). The day I planted all my pink bulbs last fall almost did me in. I went out the next day and the squirrels had dug every last one of them up. It looked like they had bowled with them.

      I doubt if there will be a single pink daffodil after those ^U&*(IO) squirrels!!!

      They also turn up their noses at the corn cobs I bought them. They don’t like something unless they can steal it. My grandmother who lived to be 105 hated squirrels with a vengeance. She left a high powered water pistol near her feeder to blast them.

  13. March 4th, 2014 at 11:50 | #18

    Squirrel problem?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQeYYmy0yhg

    Suppressed .22.

  14. March 4th, 2014 at 11:52 | #19

    OR this. No need for a silencer.

  15. March 4th, 2014 at 12:02 | #20

    Sorry. Didn’t know that it would embed.

  16. Censored bybvbl
    March 4th, 2014 at 12:13 | #21

    I used to have a border collie that responded excellently to the command “chase the squirrels out of the feeder and come right back”. My current collie would head for the hills or the neighbor’s pit bull instead – bypassing all squirrels in the process.

  17. Rick Bentley
    March 4th, 2014 at 12:36 | #22

    Not Bernie, the traps work. It’s just a case of having them properly baited – peanut better on the swing trigger works for me – and resetting it repeatedly when it goes off without catching one.

    If I can do this, anyone can. And I have become confident in my ability. I’ve caught 20 to 30 of them in the last 5 years.

    It may seem as if they are outsmarting the trap, but they are not. Their brains are small. What they have working for them is just instinct and caution. If you lay that peanut butter out there, they’re going to come eat it – even if they’ve seen the door go down, probably even if they’ve seen another squirrel trapped in it. You just havfe to keep at it, and outthink them, which is not hard to do.

    One thing I’ve done when they’re hard to catch is to put peanut butter just inside the door but not on the spring mechanism, for as many as a few days in a row, so they don’t get trapped and get less cautious about going inwards. And eventually put a big glob of peanut butter all the way in the middle, and there’s the squirrel. You “lead” them where you want them.

    Whenever they see the trap for a few days and it doesn’t go off, they’ll get less cautious about it. They’re dumb little things. Rodents.

  18. Lyssa
    March 4th, 2014 at 14:17 | #24

    testing…testing squirrel….

    We have an albino squirrel in the neighborhood.

    • March 4th, 2014 at 15:24 | #25

      See, you didn’t land in moderation! nah nah nah nahhhhhh nah

      Does the squirrel have red eyes?

  19. Not Bernie Madoff
    March 4th, 2014 at 15:25 | #26

    @Rick Bentley

    Rick, we tried the peanut butter with no success even leaving the trap out for a few days as you suggested. Maybe they are some sort of mutant high IQ squirrels. You and Cargo have trapped and shot all the dumb ones. Natural selection at work.

  20. March 4th, 2014 at 15:30 | #27

    @Not Bernie Madoff
    If the peanut butter isn’t working they must be Minnesota squirrels, try baiting the trap with beer.

  21. Not Bernie Madoff
    March 4th, 2014 at 15:36 | #28

    @Mom

    I get the reference. Not as subtle as you might have assumed, but funny.

  22. Rick Bentley
    March 4th, 2014 at 15:49 | #29

    NBM, what was happening? Were they ignoring the trap, or managing to get the peanut butter and set it off but not get caught in it?

    If the former, I’d recommend more or fresher peanut butter. If the latter, it’s probably a big one and has part of its body outside the trap when it eats – so I recommend smearing some PB up on the roof of the trap, get it reaching once it walks partway in.

    If the peanut better is being eaten but the trap doesn’t go off, it’s probably managing to lick it off the thing in the middle without setting the trap off. Again, some peanut butter smeared around on the inside roof will probably tempt it to move inwards and set off the trap.

  23. Not Bernie Madoff
    March 4th, 2014 at 16:05 | #30

    @Rick Bentley

    Rick, I’m sure but Mrs. NBM bought a trap at Home Depot, and she and my teenage son have been acting like Bill Murray in “Caddyshack” with no success. It’s a good sized trap. If the squirrels couldn’t fit into it I think we should all start preparing for our future of being ruled by giant, high-IQ mutant squirrels.

  24. Not Bernie Madoff
    March 4th, 2014 at 16:06 | #31

    Sorry, I’m NOT sure

  25. March 4th, 2014 at 16:34 | #32

    @Not Bernie Madoff
    I haven’t killed or trapped squirrels.

    I like them because they aren’t getting into my house. But if they did……..

  26. March 4th, 2014 at 17:11 | #33

    @Not Bernie Madoff
    Sublety was never one of by strong points, just testing to the waters to see how far I could go before Moon threw me back in the naughty chair.

  27. Emma
    March 4th, 2014 at 17:15 | #34

    My neighbor feeds the damned squirrels, so they run across my roof to get to the goodies she places on the fence. We can hear the pitter-patter of their little feet in our upstairs bedroom. We’ve had conversations with her about this before, trust me. I might have to get even by finding a way to attract moles into HER yard.

    Our real problem is cats. They love my yard and have decided that my front garden is a litterbox. We were instructed by the City to use a trap, which we have done, and two of them now reside somewhere in Fairfax County. There’s one remaining tabby who poops in our yard and scratches up my car hood, and we haven’t been able to trap the little bastard yet. He hangs around yowling and driving my cat (who is always indoors) crazy.

  28. Emma
    March 4th, 2014 at 17:17 | #35

    Moderation?

    • March 4th, 2014 at 17:40 | #36

      I have no idea why. I took squirrels out of being a trigger word.

      You are out now. If it happens again, I will try to figure out why.

      I see now…my upfavorite word in the world. Hint: its a palindrome.

      Any other word is acceptable, including the raunchy ones.

      Bastard is also fine. Great word. I know, I know, I am very weird. My kids think I am insane but they learned not to question me when I made their friends go home for saying it.

  29. March 4th, 2014 at 19:55 | #37

    @Censored bybvbl
    Too funny. How did you train it so well?

  30. March 4th, 2014 at 19:58 | #38

    @Mom
    No naughty chair for MoM. It apparently was filth I had never heard of. MoM gets to live to gross me out another day.

  31. Emma
    March 4th, 2014 at 20:17 | #39

    @Moon-howler Ah, I see it. I’ll use a more delicate term next time.

    • March 4th, 2014 at 21:47 | #40

      I know…I am a twisted sister. Say sh** all you want but not the kid word…..

  32. Wolverine
    March 4th, 2014 at 20:30 | #41

    It is my understanding that it is illegal according to state law to capture nuisance wildlife on your property and release them somewhere else. In fact, according to the VA fisheries and wildlife site, it is illegal to release wildlife anywhere in Virginia. It seems that it has to be killed. Apparently this is also a law which has to be followed by pest removal services with permits. One ad I saw said that, if any pest service tells you that they will release the troublemakers away from your neighborhood, they are not telling the truth. They have to kill it. I hear that this is because removing such a critter to another area is considered cruelty, ostensibly because you may be separating it from a nest and from food caches. Can anyone confirm?

  33. Emma
    March 4th, 2014 at 20:32 | #42

    We complained to the City of Manassas about the cats. The official advice we received was to trap them and set them loose elsewhere. I though it was weird, but that was the only solution the City had to offer.

  34. Censored bybvbl
    March 4th, 2014 at 20:53 | #43

    @Moon-howler
    That border collie didn’t dislike other animals (unlike my present one) so he just liked to chase. He was also afraid of an air horn. He even knew the word “air horn” and its initials. So I started by telling him to chase the squirrels and come back. If he didn’t return, I’d tell him I was going to get the air horn and he’d race back. Soon I didn’t even have to mention the air horn because he was quick to return. I could just open the door and tell him to chase the squirrels. One time I was gardening and he squeezed under the fence and went up the road with some of the neighborhood dogs. I blew the air horn and he came right back.

    • March 4th, 2014 at 21:46 | #44

      That was one smart border collie!!

      I used to have to spell “call the dog” in front of the old schnauzer. He would run off like you had called him otherwise.

      The schnauzer I have now is dumb as dirt.

  35. Wolverine
    March 4th, 2014 at 21:02 | #45

    Emma — Feral cats may be another thing altogether. We had a similar problem. The pest service captured a whole bunch of the males and turned them into cat eunuchs. After awhile, far fewer feral cats.

  36. Censored bybvbl
    March 4th, 2014 at 21:05 | #47

    @Wolverine
    I’ve heard pretty much the same thing. Animal Control will put down possums and raccoons trapped by homeowners because of the incidents of rabies they’ve found. They’ve told me the same that you’ve heard about relocating animals – they don’t know the environment or food sources in new areas. And I suppose there may be a disease issue as well.

    I’ve never heard of Animal Control suggesting trapping house pets or feral cats and releasing them elsewhere. There’s a City Animal Shelter on Dean Drive and I believe the task may have been handled by a local vet before. Usually a trapped domestic animal’s owner, if known, is fined and the animal released to them. If the owner gives the animal up, he probably still has to pay the fine or go to court. Animal Control has the option of putting a surrendered pet up for adoption.

  37. Rick Bentley
    March 5th, 2014 at 07:50 | #48

    Wolverine, I think the law is a grey area. Some would argue that it’s cruelty to kill squirrels … in fact a couple of years ago or so it was a national news story that some guy in another state was drowning one and his wife called the police. A whole national dialogue emerged where no one was standing up for the guy’s right to drown them.

    The animal control sites for Virginia, and all online references in state law, that i looked at with a fine toothed comb a few years ago really dodged the question of what to do with a trapped squirrel. I think the most reasonable interpretation was that you should take them away from civilization somewhere and release them.

    Which I did – and I am pretty sure that one found its way 10+ miles back and then insistently dug her way back in through $1000 of new fascia wood. So I began my new approach of trap them, drown them, and find a place to get rid of the body. Which is the approach I recommend for anyone.

    Interesting theory that the pest control guys secretly kill them. They definitely told me, years back, that they weren’t killing them and that in fact they weren’t allowed to – that state law prohibits it. Which is I think a valid interpretation of state law.

    Seems like it’s don’t ask, don’t tell on what you do with these creepy rodents.

    • March 5th, 2014 at 07:54 | #49

      Notice to animal control: I will never give up Rick Bentley. If you come here I will burn your subpoena.

    • March 5th, 2014 at 07:57 | #50

      The only reason Rick gets special protection is because I have a giant animal living under my wooden porch. I could see the body tracks in the snow. I don’t know what it is but it might have to meet with misfortune also.

      Meanwhile, I will continue to give the rodent bastards peanuts. They aren’t inside. I have not forgiven them fully for the pink daffodil bulbs though. If any bloom, I will get peanuts for next year, if not, they can starve for all I care.

  38. Rick Bentley
    March 5th, 2014 at 08:00 | #51

    I eventually replaced my fascia wood with vinyl covered aluminum … and haven’t had to worry about these creatures for a couple of years now. Knock on vinyl.

    Because of the money they cost me, and the inconvenience to my family, I do hate them and wish that I could drown each and every one. I would also be happy to hit a few with my car.

    • March 5th, 2014 at 09:38 | #52

      You need to combine efforts with Lafayette. She drowns a few in her pool each year. Dead bodies floating.

  39. Lyssa
    March 5th, 2014 at 20:45 | #53

    You can trap them or you can hire a “professional” trap guy to get ride of wildlife. That’s done frequently. Yellow pages.

  40. Rick Bentley
    March 6th, 2014 at 12:45 | #55

    The pros want $50 or more to take each trap away (and that was 6 years ago). That would have cost me $1000 over time to trap 20 if I hadn’t learned to do it myself.

    The guy I hired years ago told me frankly that it was going to be worth my while to get my own trap and take them away myself.

  41. Lyssa
    March 6th, 2014 at 18:54 | #56

    Sometimes the “taking away” is the tough part.

  42. March 8th, 2014 at 23:39 | #57

    I just want to put it on record that colds freaking suck!

    Wife and I both have bad ones. We’re doing our best to keep darling daughter from catching them.

    I hate this winter. I haven’t had a cold like this in years.

    aaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggghhhhhhh!

    • March 9th, 2014 at 04:37 | #58

      Cargo, I am going to have to agree with you. I hadn’t had a cold in 5 years. I got 2 of them this winter. Then to add insult to injury, I got one of those flu bugs that just puts you flat on your back for 2 days. I am just crawling out now and its after 4 am on Sunday morning. I haven’t been this sick in 25 years. Geez.

  43. March 9th, 2014 at 14:44 | #59

    @Moon-howler
    I’m sorry to hear that. Make sure that you drink a lot of water.

    We are on our backs just with the colds. Heck, the Wonderful Wife ™ had the flu just two weeks ago. Of course, the minute she wasn’t flat on her back, she went back to work, promising to take it easy and come home early……yeah…like that’s going to happen.

    And…..she then caught the cold because her system hadn’t recovered.

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