So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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Plague

This year has been a good one for mice. In one of our holiday houses, they’ve been coming in since the beginning of September. They’ve got in the water meter reading station.  Eaten my apples in the cellar right down until there’s just a mark in the crate. Fighting with the birds for the peanuts. They’re big mice too. When I asked the chimney sweep, he says it’s like this all over the Lungau.

‘It means it’s going to be a very cold winter,’ he said in tones of deep foreboding.

But is this plague not simply the result of a very successful breeding summer for the mice? They couldn’t possibly grow so big if there hadn’t been a lot of food and the right conditions? Or maybe in the past, a warm summer was followed by a colder winter? Often local sayings are right, so I’m off to buy some more fire wood…


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Stupid Bird and Mouse wars!

I really shouldn’t call him this, but he did look it at first.  A few weeks ago we could hear the usual yelling that denotes some fledgelings have fledged and are still waiting to be fed.  Only this time, the baby Greenfinch was dumped. Parents cleared off after a couple of days.  Now maybe he was a late  litter and just not strong enough to follow, but he sat, fluffed up on the bird table, pecking randomly at the seeds.  He must have eaten something because he’s survived.  He now has the nack with the small seeds, but not quite got it with the sunflowers. He shouts at the Tits when he’s sat on the table, and sometimes they ignore him, others, they just shove in. He’s never far away. Last night, another Greenfinch arrived and after some initial sparring, they were both sat on the table.  There must be hope for him yet!

It’s now early October -and no sparrows, only a brief visit in September and they went away again.  The family of Tits are dependent on the table and for that I feel guilty.  I only fed Peanuts late in the summer as the parents were hanging about, maybe the insect population was affected by the odd weather. So now, this family prefers by large the Peanuts, I counted 10 last night. What would happen if I stopped the nuts?  They must feed elsewhere surely as I did leave the feeder empty for a while in between feedings deliberately.  What do you think?

September sees the spiders and mice looking for somewhere warm to stay for the winter.

To my shock one morning, I saw six mice on the bird table, scaring the birds away.  So I chopped down the honeysuckle that grows up the Pole, but the little blighters just shimmied up it.

So Dave has now put an upturned plastic flower pot around the pole so the mice can’t get round, seems to have worked.  There’s plenty on the ground for them if you think I’m being cruel………