Subzero Sunday

OK, it’s only subzero here if you use the Centigrade scale; in good old American Fahrenheit it’s been up to 16º or so (about -9ºC). Since the wind is calm and the sun is shining, it’s a warm cold, which we appreciated when shoveling.

Small Dog MkII, conversely, stood in the door shivering and giving us that, “Hey, I put up with a lot from my trained feeder ape, but this is ridiculous,” look. We resigned ourselves to a puddle of poodle piddle, and perhaps a petite pile of poodle poop, on the kitchen floor.

The flying squirrels are back. Hearing one in the eaves a couple of weeks ago, we went through the early Kubler-Ross stages (with a heavy focus on denial). But shoveling the walk, we saw proof — squirrel tracks that began about thirty feet away from the house, and then scampered to a tree. One supposes we could jacklight them (really, blacklight them with the PEQ-2), but rather than explain to the gendarmes why the quiet Smalltown night is being punctuated by muzzle blast, we’ll ring the exterminators in the morning. They don’t actually kill the flying squirrels — they kill the deer mice, which the flying squirrels eat. Then the squirrels decamp to some neighbor’s house and eat his deer mice. It’s doom for the mice one way or another; a mouse is Atlas, bearing the whole food chain on his shoulders. Or it’s a protection racket and the exterminators and flying squirrels are in on it together.

After shoveling, Your Humble Blogger was hungry. Time to expend some of the leftover pre-Christmas 24-hour-sauce with some Trader Joe’s cheese ravioli and plenty of leftover meat, and it was good.

We’re not sure what this week portends. A lot of new releases are coming at SHOT show, but we also want to tell a (fictionalized) tale of Daniel Boone and describe where that tale fits in to our new, bleached-out nation where you can’t say “masculinity” without the prefix “toxic” or at least “problematic,” and where kids’ stories are ones where everything is magic and all you have to do for anything is just want enough. There’s an interesting new 9mm being released tomorrow, seemingly optimized so that fans of Glock and 1911 will both hate it. If we get clear of the embargo in time, we’ll have the story tomorrow. But for all the SHOT breaking stuff, try Ammoland for the press releases (unfortunately, they strip them of the links) or The Firearm Blog for more depth and detail. Go to YouTube if you want thirty seconds of information compressed into ten minutes! Or hang out here, we’ll still entertain you.

25 thoughts on “Subzero Sunday

  1. Alan Ward

    -21C here with only a few flurries to blow off with the leaf blower. Supposed to dip into the -30s for a couple of niights this week.
    You could try a doggie coat and booties for SDII. Pain to put on but better than poop patrol!

    Reply
  2. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

    I’m not buying any whinging out of you folks in such balmy climates.

    We’ve been sub-zero for over a week every night of the week, in Fahrenheit, with daytime temps in the low-mid single digits. Our lowest evening nippy temp was lower than -20F.

    Starting a diesel in this weather has been a bear, moving snow in this weather is damn difficult work.

    Reply
  3. Bert

    Could you expand on the flying squirrel/deer mouse relationship a bit… Google is not giving me much.

    I am at the SW side of the flying squirrel’s range in East central MN, a bit S of Hinckley. I almost never SEE the little guys, once or twice on the deer stand at dawn or dusk. But we have TONS of deer mice.

    I assume the squirrels are eating the winter nest larders put up by the deer mice, rather than the mice themselves? I find these caches regularly, filled with soybeans, field corn and the feed from my chickens, ducks and turkeys. Occasionaly I trap them out of our buildings, and I do NOT usually hunt the local coyotes as they eat a lot of mice, I just make sure my domestic animals are well secured and let the wild kingdom go on around them.

    2 years back, severe weather and deep snow drove the really big great gray owls down South to us. I saw one dive down and blast through at least a foot of powder snow to take a mouse right outside the fenced in/netted over area with my chickens and ducks during the day, and more big wing marks in the snow from similar attacks around the place.

    There are coyote and fox tracks round and round the bird’s enclosures, every night they were out catching the fat tasty mice coming to steal feed. Distinctive marks in the snow from canids doing a “face plant” for a rodent snack abound all around…

    One of my summer crew guys came by this morning and told me he saw a big wolf cross the gravel road about 1/4 mile away from here on the way in. Have not seen one in daylight for a few years, but they eat plenty of rodents too, more plentiful, easier and safer summer food than deer or cattle.

    Reply
    1. Steve M.

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to look up flying squirrels through Google. I know they live in CT, but I haven’t been able to see any. If they eat mice, I would love to get a few. Last year, I hardly saw any mice. It was great until I saw the rat droppings. The rats required traps and copious amounts of poison.

      Reply
  4. Tom Stone

    53 degrees here in beautiful Sonoma County.
    A bit damp, damp enough that it looks like I won’t be able to make it back to the homestead for a few days due to a significant mudslide and a few downed trees.

    Reply
  5. Keith

    Snowed between 4″ and 9″ depending on your location here in NC with temperatures from 12F to 28F. Sun out half of Saturday and all day Sunday and supposed be out most of Monday. Temps not supposed to get above 32F here till Wednesday. Snow flurries predicted for Tuesday.

    Keep your powder dry and your faith in God.

    Reply
  6. Loren

    I’m watching the Packer game down here in OZ. Sure looks cold in my home state but nice in Perth at 30C or so. One of the things I’ve done right in life is spend most of the last 30 winters down under.
    Go Pack.

    Reply
    1. Tom Stone

      We have some nice sized wolf spiders and woods scorpions, but rabid quail haven’t been a problem.

      Reply
      1. John Distai

        I’ve always thought it would be fun to hunt those “insects” at night with a UV light and a .22 pistol.

        Reply
  7. Brad

    “There’s an interesting new 9mm being released tomorrow, seemingly optimized so that fans of Glock and 1911 will both hate it.”!!!!!

    :-D

    Reply
  8. W. Fleetwood

    I doubt if the Squirrels and “exterminators” are actually in cahoots. Raccoons, on the other hand, are the original gangstas of the animal world and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have written contracts with the not-really exterminators around here. It would certainly explain the known facts.

    Wafa Wafa, Wasara Wasara.

    Reply
  9. DaveP.

    Bats. Did you know that bat urine is corrosive, and dried bat feces (like as in, in the attic over the summer) can powder and become airborne and create all kinds of health problems?.
    Also, since bats are a protected species, you can’t just exterminate them: even attempting to move them along nonlethally is considered molesting or harassing them. You have to seal of the attic they’re in, except for one one-way-only exit, and hope they get the point.

    Reply
    1. John M.

      OTOH, if they live there long enough, your descendants could start a lucrative guano mining business.

      -John M.

      Reply
  10. LSWCHP

    I just got back from a week in what was the New Hebrides and is now Vanuatu. Over 30 degrees C and 28 degree water for swimming in to cool off. Cold beer, cocktails, lobster, sashimi and thick steaks….

    …and a hot redhead to keep me company. Boy howdy, I sure am enjoying this southern hemisphere summer. :-)

    Reply
  11. Al T.

    20ish degrees yesterday and today (lows), actually had to turn on the heat. Luckily, a high of 70 is predicted for Thursday. More Global Worming please.

    Reply
  12. Trone Abeetin

    googled Flying Squirrels and found no mention of them subsisting on mice. are you pulling our leg or what?

    Reply
    1. Hognose Post author

      As God is my witness, exterminator says they are omnivores and enjoy their rodent little cousins. I have one in my freezer who came through the toilet vent and couldn’t climb out. Definitely a flying squirrel.

      Reply
      1. Trone Abeetin

        lol, round these parts I got me an infestation of groundhogs. you know they’re out of control when they are nesting under your front steps.
        got me a .22 Discovery air rifle. they look at me as if to say “is that all you got”?
        going to get a .35 or .45 air rifle and play catchup on them critters come spring.
        I know, you guys are saying “why not use a .22 Lr?” i live in a city and can’t. I also live in a state that doesn’t allow silencers. sooooo it’s air rifle time. i’d give my right, well you know, to just go to town with my many and myriad boom sticks.

        Reply
        1. Steve M.

          Trone,
          I had a Gamo something or other and ended up selling it. The spring noise alone was quite loud and the alloy pellets with their sonic crack were unacceptably loud. CCI Quiet .22s out of a 24″ barrel proved to be quieter. They move a 40 grain lead round nose bullet at an advertised velocity of 710 fps. Folks inside the house can hardly hear anything when I’m shooting outside. That being said, it is still a firearm being discharged within city limits, xxx feet of an occupied dwelling, etc. Your mileage may vary. I dunno if this is of any use to you or not….

          Reply
        2. Mike_C

          >they look at me as if to say “is that all you got”?
          Haha. Shades of Cooper’s “… if you shoot them, and they find out about it …” [paraphrased]

          Reply
  13. Mike_C

    >The sheer size of the spiders sometimes gets a bit horrible.
    The first time I was in Taiwan I was shocked by the size of the invertebrate life (e.g. multiple 30-cm long earthworms on street after the frequent rainstorms; not to mention cockroaches almost the size of sparrows — almost). I kept nervously looking for proportionally-sized predators, but did not see any 10-kg toads or anything.

    >bat urine
    Unable to read this phrase without thinking of Monty Python’s The Oscar Wilde Sketch.

    >I sure am enjoying this southern hemisphere summer
    Yeah? Well, uh. Um. […] Hell, that sounds like a great vacation :-)

    Reply

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