Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How Not to Catch Mice + Choosing a Tea

Recently they have been audibly nibbling behind my kitchen wall. Over the holidays, I saw the Balanchcine Nutcracker (Pennsylvania Ballet production) and I agree with Clara - they are not in the least bit cute and cuddly. Would that a Nutcracker would kill the Mouse King at my house and get rid of them all!

Cup of the Day #57
by Gwyneth Leech
Colored ink and white-out 
on white paper cup with printed band

We proceed with traps and bait, but I have come to the opinion that putting out bait must surely just attract more of them, creating a net flow of the creatures into the apartment. This view was vindicated yesterday when, with the kids back in school, I embarked on a frenzy of New Year cleaning. Getting down on hands and knees in the kitchen, I looked under the cabinets. There in the baseboard - A mouse hole! Several!! And strewn under all the cabinets were the remains of multiple blocks of blue seed-laced mouse bait I put out months ago and forgot. What a scene - they have feasted on the stuff for weeks and lived, no, thrived. New York City mice are not ordinary rodents - but evolved bionic mice that eat poison bait for fun.

So ensued a day of cleaning with masks and gloves, vacuum and mop until no trace of blue or seeds remained, and the mouse-holes were stuffed with steel wool.

Cup of the Day #57, verso
by Gwyneth Leech
Colored ink and white-out 
on white paper cup with printed band

Midafternoon, with the winter light shining almost level into the kitchen, I sat down thirsty and craving a cup of tea. I am out of Scottish Blend and can't get it around 9th Avenue anymore. I have tried replacing it with Taylor's of Harrogate, Ahmad afternoon tea, Barry's and Lyon's Blend. They are all strong and full-bodied, but not the same. I must go down to Myers of Keswick on Hudson Street in the West Village to restock.

I don't know what it is that makes Scottish Blend my favorite brew - aroma, body, the size of the leaves? I once visited a tea plantation in Kerala, South India. After strolling across the bush-covered hills we visited the curing plant and learned there that the choicest and most flavorful tea leaves are reserved for export to Britain, the strongest blackest tea is sent to Russia, and the broken leaves and floor sweepings go to the USA. Ha! I knew it!

Today I opt for Lyon's blend. I Brew a cup, add some milk and sit at the kitchen table eating Bretton Butter biscuits (a Christmas present) without dropping so much as a crumb on the floor.

Facing off with the mice
The Nutcracker
Pennsylvania Ballet, December 2010

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