At lunchtime I went out into the garden to check on the chickens. As usual, I had to turf Stratus and Cirrus out of the nest box. As I tried to move Cirrus, I realised how dirty she was. Her previously snow white feathers were approaching a mid-grey with brown muddy flecks. On impulse, I brought her into the house and using a spare bucket partially filled with warm water, I gave her a quick bath. She was really rather patient with the whole process, only occasionally shouting in annoyance when I tried to gently wash out some of the dirt. Wrapping her in a towel, I gently tried to get the worst of the wet off. By the time she began to wriggle, I thought it would be better to put her in the inside cage for a bit to finish drying off. I don’t think Cirrus was impressed with being put in the cage but got busy drying herself off.
Next, it was time to go across to the allotment. I had initially planned on just sweeping out the shed but a chance discovery changed the afternoon. In moving a few bits and pieces around, I found small pellet-like deposits and out of the corner of my eye, spotted a flash of brown fur and a bald tail. A mouse! Whilst I have no grudge against mice in general, I do object to them in the shed. They make such a mess and have a nasty tendency to eat things. So commenced a massive move out of everything in the shed. Once everything was out, I swept the floor and dusted to ensure no more mice droppings.
The question really was, how to protect the things that need to be kept in the shed over the winter without having them chewed? Strong plastic storage boxes sprang to mind. But where would be best to get them from? In the end I decided Home Bargains would probably be the best bet. Imagine my disappointment when I got there to find hardly any storage boxes! None of the right sort of sizes or with lids! Frustrated, I went next door to Dunelm. Upstairs, I found the storage box section which contained three different sizes which I thought might work. Question really was, what size would fit in the fuel cupboard and the kitchen cupboard? I guessed and went for two of the large green boxes and two small grey ones. Lugging these home took some doing and I was relieved when I could put them down in the shed!
Unfurling the sail sunshade, I checked it over for holes. This was the favourite chew toy of the winter last time the mice got into the shed. Fortunately, apart from some deposits, it was unchewed. Folding it tightly, with only millimetres to spare, it went in one of the big boxes. But this was only partial success – the main concern was had I judged the size so that I would fit in the fuel cupboard? Easing it in, it fitted perfectly! I breathed a deep sigh of relief! With the sail protected, it was time to move onto the kitchen cupboard where we keep cutlery, cooking utensils and my special stash of hot chocolate. Piling in everything that didn’t need to be taken home and cleaned, I slid the box into place. The same thorough checking of my bee suit followed and I just about managed to get the suit into one small box and my boots into the other.
Replacing everything back into the shed took a while but once it was done, I was rather happy with it. True, we probably need some more storage boxes to put everything out of mouse reach in the next couple of weeks. But for now, it would do!
Before I left, I went down to the bottom bed section and began to try to weed it. The bind weed this year has been incredible – not in a good way either! It’s everywhere and everyone has struggled with it! I also began to fill the builder’s bag Cliff has lent us with all sorts of odds and ends to try and clear some of the rubbish off the plot. Tomorrow morning, I will go down early to finish getting rid of the remaining rubbish so the plot is clear.
Back at home, I was greeted by a very indignant squalk from Cirrus. She had entirely dried herself off and was back to being brilliantly white. Pleased, I put her back with Nimbus and Stratus and left them to it.