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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the first edition of the New Improved Baja Manitoba Free Press.

Long before I started keeping mousies, I was married to a person who fancied himself to be a Southern Gentleman, and he complained how I had dragged him off to the frozen northlands of Minnesota. One morning, about a month ofter we arrived in Minnesota after a nuptial flight from Maryland, he was heard to exclaim, "eighty degrees below zero" while listening to our local news and weather station at 6:30 in the morning in December 1983. Yes, children, it was The Real Thing; colder than a titches wit; cold enough to freeze your eyeballs if exposed for more than about two seconds. (We'd been married for about six weeks, and he had forgotten that he'd asked me if I wanted him to move back to Minneapolis, Minnesota with me.) It had snowed a foot the day we arrived in town, and then it snowed another foot. Our engine block was frozen solid, so we were out on New Years Eve, busing to and fro for a New Year Eve party.

You see, we pride ourselves, here in Minnesota, on carrying on regardless of the weather or the economy. At 85F below zero, (our Zero is already 32 degrees below the point at which water freezes) we waited for a bus at about 12:45 am on the first day of January, 1984. a car stopped, rolled down the passenger side window, and the driver yelled, "Jeez, are you insane?! Get in and I'll drive you wherever you are going!!"

Of such things are Minnesotans and mousekeepers made. It was about 15 years later than the mousekeeping started. I'd just gotten my first computer, and had come to the conclusion that I had no comfortable use for a mouse with no fur. I was stranded here to face another Minnesota winter all by myself. I needed something warn and furry, and my husband was 1400 miles away, back in !998, when my daughter caught a wild house mouse. She wanted to keep it, so we broke out the little plastic tank that had been occupied by a gecko or chameleon for a couple of weeks until...nvm. So we kept the mousie, but I made her let it go after about two days. The poor little thing was not going to ever survive happily in captivity, so we took it outside and let it go, after which I agreed on a trip to a pet store to check out the available stock.

And, now, here I am, eleven years later, airing my thoughts on an international mouse forum. Those first two mousies were so wonderful; two girlies, one of whom liked to be handled, and another who like to be handled on the off chance it might be able to escape. Ah, those mouses...gotta love 'em. One was black and one was champagne. I thought my mousie desires were fulfilled. And then I saw a tank full of about fifty (way too many) big meeces of every color I could imagine, and then some. Someone had dumped a whole mousery, it seemed, and I was to be the beneficiary. The shopkeeper was also selling 10 gallon tanks that had minor cracks, and I stopped on the way home with my 20 new meeces and got material to construct tops, and a mousery was born.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, that's how it is in Washington, DC. as well. They don't even have snowplows! We have the widest range of temps in Minnesota of anywhere in the world. I've seen temps ranging from 105 F above zero to 45 F below zero (85 below when you count the windchill.) I'm glad you enjoyed my writing. It must be the Irish in me, but sometimes I just have to sit down and tell a story at my keyboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It rained just about all month in October; dang: We had four inches of snow and of course that was the only night I left my car out in months. Grrr! Now, of course, that I've put away all the summer clothes, we are due for Indian Summer with temps in the seventies pushing eighty (F).

We made a day trip heading northwest 225 mi. to Alexandria, Minnesota on Saturday. Nate had a gig there (he a musician on the weekends) paying bass for a rockabilly and do *** trio. Stopped at our favorite restaurant on the expressway, fabulous diner serving great American style diner fare. The sky cleared so we had a lovely twilight with a nice sunset with the clouds clearing off as we drove west. The club he was playing at had a Halloween costume contest. It was a fun and friendly crowd with a lot of dancing and tomfoolery. The trip home after closing time was okay until about the last half hour between 3 AM and 3:30 AM. The brain wants the body to rest, and the city lights were brutal. The eyes wanted to close. Must not let eyes close when driving.

Got up at the crack of noon with a lower back spasm and spent the resst of the day doing as much of nothing as possible. Number One Son had taken care of the meeces just before we got home so I didn't need to crawl upstairs to deal with that until later Sunday night. Spent the day reading and eating pastries from Nelson Brothers, the diner we ate at the night before. Their meals are huge, and there's no way to do dessert other than take it to go. Yes, the cream filled fudge covered bismarck was just as incredibly good as I remembered from the the time before. It was the size of a small cake and I could only eat half with my morning java, had to save the rest for later.

I found one new litter of yellow tris when I finally checked the mousery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's been quite a week in the Mousie 'r' Us corner of The Quarter of Muse here at Curious Manor. Nate played both nights last weekend with David Carroll at local clubs, so I got to spend a lot of quality time with my herd of meeces. I've just about gotten through a whole new cycle of breeding, with only one more doe to deliver, and dozens of little eekers in various stages of growth. Much joy in the mousery.

On other fronts, I'm cranking up my desktop publishing stuff to meet an order for more copies of the CD 'At The Edge of The World' by Howard Kranz, the first of the two albums I've produced. The other 'Water Over the Bridge' by Nate Bucklin, my spouse, needs some more insert material printed at the same time, so I'm going to be busy with that for a few days with printing, cutting, stuffing the cases, etc.

Nate is an accomplished musician and songwriter/composer with six albums, five of which are still available. As long time members of the SF and Fantasy community, he and I are both heavily into making music happen both live and recorded. We perform as a duo at most of those type of gathering, which we call 'music circles'. It's a folksy kind of thing with the emphasis being on folk, with a wide variety of material being presented putting the 'folk' in the music where they belong. Nate has small but loyal following mostly in the US, but including Britain, and Australia, and South America. My instruments are bass and voice.

I'm also getting back into turning artwork into prints and calendars and T-shirts, oh my! I'm frustrated by finding that my desktop pubbing program will not run on my newer computer...grrr....I have the program on the comp my husband uses for his job (he works as a medical transcriptionist here at home) and I'm thinking of getting him a different computer and taking that one back, as I originally got it for myself. He doesn't need one with all the bells and whistles I got on that system. Besides, he treats all machines like toasters; he uses it, ignores it, and then when it starts to smoke or whistle or whine he picks it up and shakes it....except for the car, which is too big for him to do that. I love him dearly, but he has a special talent for anything electronic- these things all exhibit problem of the sort the never show up when you're trying to fix the dang thing (technicians of all types call these glitches DNOIS for 'does not occur in shop' *sigh*)

We are working slow but steady on getting hunkered down for the winter. No one knows what to expect fo the weather anymore; I think it's a global problem, really. We had November weather in October and now we're having October weather in November. I can handle as long as it doesn't get so warm again that my spring bulbs try to start up before the long winter's nap they need to bloom next year.

My gift card from Home Depot came today so I get to go shop for materials to improve my mousery. I'm going to mouseproof it which will also make it cheaper to heat this winter. My mousery is in a nice sized walk-in closet upstairs that has fiber board in most of the walls. I'm going to put in flashing, baseboards. an oak threshold, and a fan venting into the crawl space. I also need to do a little repair work on the floor where, at some time in the past, the upstairs was a separate apartment, and the closet was a bathroom, thus there are holes in the floor for plumbing, etc. We are oing to do some field expedient repairs to the cement slab in our garage filling in the gap between the bottom of our new insulated garage doors and the cement. The new door won't do much good if the wind can whistle through underneath. We hope to get the cement redone in there and all around the outside sometime next year. There's always something when you own a house.

That's about it for now; thanks for reading my babbling and nattering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
juliezoo, it's mostly shelving and tanks from floor to ceiling, or kneespace, where the eaves come down. I have all my necessary items on shelves outside the mousery, more or less in order depending on how recently I tidied up. There are about three bins full of tubes and wheels and all sorts of things that could be used in a mousey fashion. then there are tins full of various foods, cleaning, pest control supplies, etc. etc. etc.

Too much stuff, really. Like a box full of unopened packs of rings for Toobz, when get chewed up pretty quick when in use. I bought about 20 of 6 packs of them when I saw a good price a couple of years ago, and I still have about 10 packs of them. Then there's cardboard of various sorts that I use for making mousie furniture from, and wooden things I buy at thrift stores to put in for the little darlings to climb on, nest in and reduce to sawdust.

My daily mousework (nightly, actually) takes about an hour, but I usually spend considerably more time since I have to play with and enjoy a portion of my little herd every night, especially the babies.

I'm glad you are reading in this thread. Thanks for the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sometimes I just have to write; I've tried my hand at writing fiction, but I don't seem to have the knack. I have always enjoyed expository writing, and journaling seems very natural for me. I wrote a good bit during the vacation we took last winter. the Irish in me gets me in a state when I have a drink or two, and then the words just flow out of me like Beam's Choice. I've tried my hand at fiction, like I said, but reading what I write is a trial, as bad as listening to recordings of my voice. I want to sound like a 'good' (My friend Becca, for instance) singer and not like myself. I'm told I sound just fine, and sometimes I feel I really nail it down and do it just right.

My personal thoughts today are centered on the feed mill where I buy a half a year's worth of oats and wheat adding up to 100's of lbs. I sort the grain in order to clean out stray bits of this and that and I had been finding, on occasion, small black round things that I picked out when it was convenient, along with kernels of corn and bit of rock and dirt. The latest batch of grain had morn corn in it, and I took to sitting down and sorting it while listening to TV or music, and I found that there were a lot of bits of broken kernels of corn. I was not happy...and then, while sitting under a good strong light, I noticed that the little black dealies I thought were weed seeds mostly came in two sizes and were perfectly round. I haven't confirmed it yet, but I cut a couple of them open and they are metallic, and now I am really perturbed. I grew up in the country with a father who brought home lots of game for our table, and think I know what I'm seeing, and....and....GRRR!,,, the thought that plague me as I wonder if I've been inadvertently poisoning my mousies with lead...very upsetting.
 

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I'd be horrified to find so much contamination in with my animal feeds, I hope you are having strong words with your suppliers! I was irked enough to be picking thistles out of the hay bale I opened today, let alone lead shot!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I got home early enough today to make the call to the feed and they will replace it free of charge; I'll broach the subject of the expence of driving about 60 miles each way when I get there. they were very nice about it, and I should have called sooner, but I'm not a naturally confrontational person. But I'd do almost anything within reason for my meeces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This last six days have felt like they lasted a month. I wish people would be little nicer to one another, in general, and think before they write. It seems to me that some folks say things on forums and in chat rooms that they'd never say to anyone in person. I try to be careful, and I know I'm not perfect, but I do try to be good.

On the home front, we had a scare when the furnace on my son's side of the double bungalow wouldn't fire up. Turned out to be a door switch, and covered by our service program. Then I got an order for some copies of a CD I produced and we've been flailing around trying to find the cheapest solution to an incompatibility of my newer computer with my desktop pubbing software. Solved the problem with a reconditioned HP/Compaq tower that runs Vista; nasty but it'll work for Nate. I have several projects that I need that system for, actually.

This Forum has been somewhat of a problem in that it doesn't load at all some of the time, and other times it just kind of freezes up when I try to post. I am no longer getting notifications of replies. That, combined with a lack of interest in the type of investigative breeding I am doing, has me wondering if this is really a place I should continue to occupy. It's a bit demoralizing to admit that mean people get to me, but then, I'm a more natural person than I was when younger, and don't like being hurt. And I do try to be good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here's hoping that folks come back after the brief spate of ill humor. We really need to stick together, that's how I feel anyway. There are very few outlets for folks with such relatively off-the-wall interests as we find in this Forum, and I hope this one doesn't become another example of what happens nice people just get tired of seeing devisive and negative content in a place they love. I'm sorry for whatever part I have played in that, and hope we can put it behind us and get on with the mousing and all that goes with that pursuit. Now we go to our happy place....

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's been almost two weeks since my last entry in this journal. Ain't it punk when real life interferes with your hobbies? Well, posting about the hobbies, anyway. It has been very, very busy in the mousery with litters growing and needing to be photographed, then needing to be sexed, rehoused, etc. The mousies are always a high priority for time and energy. and I am still honing my methods for every part of their care. I've decided to nuke the grain I give them instead of freezing it. The meeces seem pleased with the result, but then they seem to like almost any new thing I do in the way of feeding them.

Nate's band played both nights this last weekend at a club called The Refuge which is about 60 mi. northwest of Minneapolis, on the edge of the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. I tagged along Saturday just for the heck of it and it was so quiet in that club, so empty...kinda spooky. Counting the band and the folks that worked there, we outnumbered the customers. It's not good a band so I brought a book to read, but unfortunately I have a problem with music. I can't ignore it, I have to listen critically, The lead singer should be playing rhythm guitar on all the songs, and only does on a couple; she's not a very good singer to start with. The emptiness of the club created poor acoustics. It was pretty annoying, all in all. Nate and I have a good time on day trips, or in this case, a night trip.

We have a statewide ban on smoking in almost every building that's considered public, and it's hard to say how it's affected the business at bars and restaurants. I think the poor showing was mostly due to the fact that it was Thanksgiving weekend, during which most people visit family, and/or watch lots of football, and begin Christmas holiday celebrations. And shopping. Don't even get me started on how commercialized Christmas has become.
 

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we have the smoking ban and businesses are saying the same.For the first time ever I have done nothing for Christmas.My whole focus is getting all ends tied up leaving me free to cope with the soon to arrive pups.Panic will set in re Christmas shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My kids are grown up, so we no longer have panic or any kind of big deal during the holidays. We just put up our tree, have a nice dinner, and sit around nibbling treats nad drinking whatever. It's nice not to have a ton of stuff to do. My son is learning how to cook stuff from scratch (my daughter really ought to ask for lessons too, poor thing) and is becoming quite good. Having puppies has to be some kind of chaos. I've raised a puppy (boxer!) so I can imagine what having a litter of them is like!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
'Tis the season, and the weather agrees; it's snowed twice in the last week. Not huge storms, just a few inches here and a few inches there. A couple of my clients thought I'd cancel and stay at home, but nothing short of glare ice or total blizzard keeps me home during the winter. Nate and I drove to Alexandria (Minnesota) Saturday evening for a one night gig with It's about 200 miles, which is a bit far for this sort of thing, but we both like traveling, and a day trip (or night, in this case) is fun. The guy Nate was playing bass for was not feeling well, so Nate got sing lead on a few more songs than he sometimes does with this combo.

The trip home was not as much fun, but the lateness of the hour was relieved by a stop at Nelson Brothers. It was two in the morning, and I decided we needed gas and decided to check to see if they kept their bakery and coffee bar open all night. I got some black coffee,an 'elephant ear' cinnamon crisp, and a fudge frosted cream filled bismarck the size of a hat, and Nate got a cinnamon roll as big as a small coffee cake. I saved the bismarck for nibbling along with the Sunday paper as it's not the sort of thing to eat in one sitting, and certainly not a travel friendly snack. We got home a bit after three in the morning, and took about 45 minutes to settle in for some sleep. Sunday was spent catching up on the snow shoveling before the next installment which fell over night.

Shirley Buggins and Adam Antsy have a new litter of 12 that was born sometime during the night Saturday. Adam was placed with another tri doe a few days before this litter arrived. The pinkies were squeaking vigorously when I checked on the mousery. James, my son, fed and watered the mousies for me so I didn't have to do that, thank goodness!

We lost my cuddlebuddy, Granite a couple of night ago. He was just found dead in his tank with no sign of illness as a warning. Diamond Stud died yesterday, and that was not unexpected as he was quite old, and showing it over the last month. Every now and then I think keeping mousies is just to sad, as their lives are so short. Then I see a new litter and realize that it's alright, life goes on as it should.
 
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