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Saturday, July 18, 2020

Batty Bat Bats! Plus Weaving and Apple Pies

Do we have bats in our belfry?

Are we going batty?

Do we need to call the Batman???

YES to all of the above!

Earlier this year, Steve had been up in the attic removing all of the old insulation on the south attic portion of the house. At that time, he could tell there had been bats for quite a while up in that attic. We had been told by the previous owners that they had them eradicated and there shouldn't be any more up there. We couldn't tell if it was new or old bat doodoo, but there was a lot of it up there on top of the old insulation.

Steve had gone around and sealed up everywhere that we figured they could have been getting in and thought we had the problem handled.

But then, a few weeks ago, Steve and I we were up replacing the siding on the front gable of the house.  Then I was painting over the new siding and older window frame and attic vent to "pretty up the place".   Steve even replaced the screen on the vent and things looked nice and sealed up.

I had noticed a piece of trim that was loose and there was bat poop dangling down out of it. We sealed it up tight and thought that was the end of that.  (NOTE: at the same time, I washed that window both inside and out, so it was clean and clear) ....

I think when we sealed up that entry point, we evidently sealed a couple bats up there that couldn't find their way back out!!!

Much to our dismay, a few bats must have been trapped.   We didn't know it until two of them managed to crawl down INSIDE of the wall and appeared underneath the staircase in my she shed ...  Flapping around and making an awful ruckus!!!

Steve was the hero and got them chased out the door each time. We looked closely at that nice clean window, and now the inside was covered with bat pee streaks and new bat poop sitting on the sill inside.  Yup... we still had bats!

Now it was time to call in the experts.

Who do you call? 
The Batman of course!

Ryan came and did a complete assessment around the house, and located every single point of entry that he felt that the bats were getting back in. He found 5 or 6 that we missed. Then he erected little external cages with one-way doors. The bats can get out, but not get back in. He sealed up everywhere that he saw that was an entry point. It was interesting to learn about the bats and the spaces they can get through. Their bones are hollow like birds and they can squeeze themselves down flat and get through openings smaller than a quarter of an inch!!

He even found spots along the chimney
that they were squeezing down between
the bricks and the liner.

He also said they leave a little trail of their bat poop (guano) or a trail of pee at the entry points to mark where they are getting in. This signals as a "roadmap" for other bats to also find their way in.

He put up all the gear and left the house set for two weeks to make sure all of the bats were out before coming to remove the cages with the one-way doors. This was the trickiest part of the house in the pic below. He got in a tiny one-way door in the opening up near the eave.

Ryan also suggested that we remove the rest of the insulation in the northern part of the house. That old insulation is actually tiny styrofoam balls and is a real mess to deal with. We were going to kind of ignore it, but Ryan said it's full of bat poo and pee, accumulated for many years. It's another road map to signal those bats to come in and find a way to a safe haven.

We contacted a company to come and give us an estimate of using a big vacuuming device to remove all of the old styrofoam ball type insulation. It's similar to the same stuff that's inside of bean bag chairs ---  in other words, dealing with it is a real mess!  On the 13th day, Steve was up in the attic with the insulation guy, to investigate changing out the insulation on the older side of the house and guess what they found????   One more bat!

Ack!  They only saw one. They had disturbed it's sleep, because it was the middle of the day. It was squeaking and squawking at them and trying to snug itself up tighter into a corner of the attic.

So we called the Batman to let him know there's one more up there and to leave the one-way trap doors on a little bit longer. He came over and double-checked and said yes, it's best to leave it on just a little longer.

Once all of the bats are gone, he will seal up the last space where the one way door is. Then we are guaranteed for a whole year that the bats will not come back. What a nice way to get rid of them without any sprays or poison or killing them.

Bats are valuable and keep down a lot of the insect and mosquito population. That is fine. We just don't want them in our attic!!!

So our next big project will be having the insulation guys come and suck out all of that messy stuff on that north side of the house and blow in all new insulation on that side up to an R50 value. It's such a low roof height on that side, so it's hard to roll out more batt insulation.  So we will opt to have blown in insulation done instead. They said they can get it all done in one day. They suck it all out directly into a huge covered dumpster and dispose of it. At the same time we will be adding a second layer of batt insulation to the new insulation we put on the south side of the house which is at R35 right now. There is more headroom there and we can easily unroll the batts ourselves.  That way everything will be snug and tight and sealed in. And hopefully, no more bats!

On my weaving front, I just completed a very interesting rug. Originally, I was just making it to sell in my Etsy store. But as I started weaving it, I realized I was really, really liking it. It was making a visual pattern of interest, and also I realized it was matching our stained glass light fixtures that we have throughout the house.

So I decided that I'm going to keep this one.

Steve was outside walking around in the dark (LOOKING FOR BATS!!!) and he snapped these pictures looking in through the window of me working away on my loom in the she shed.  It's kinda cool looking in the big windows at night from outside.

This is such a comfortable cozy room. We spend a lot of time down here, more than we ever do up in the living room or the kitchen or the dining room. I'm so glad that we converted over this attached garage and mudroom into the she shed. It's almost more like a family room with a craft corner?

What's nice is that my looms can be set up all of the time, as well as my sewing machines and my big quilting frame. I don't have to put away all my stuff in between working on projects. I think it lends itself to more impulsive and creative work, because I can just pick up right where I left off --- instead of having to unpack and reset everything each time.

Yesterday, the rug was now done and cut off the loom. I triple fold the hems over and sew them on this very sturdy Singer sewing machine. I own three newer fancier machines and none of them can sew through the thick hems like this good old Singer.

It was a gift to me from my grandmother many years ago. One day, out of the blue, she told me to come up to her house and she had something to give me. This sewing machine made many, many of her quilts over the years, and also my Aunt MaryJane and Auntie Elsie had sewed their school clothes and even their high school formals on it.

It's from 1942. I still have the original manual book that came with it. I just love the formed bentwood case over the top. It is such a rugged but classic Singer.

For a while, I had lost the key to it and that just distressed me so much. For a couple of years, I had to open the case with a tiny screwdriver jammed in the lock. One day, we discovered the key had fallen back behind the cabinet shelf where it was stored in the old buffet at our old house. We pulled the key back out with a magnetic wand and now I keep it securely clipped to the handle on the sewing machine case. Then I will never lose it again!  You can see the key in the photo below, hanging off the end of the case which I had just unlocked. As soon as I was done taking that photo, I took the key out of the lock and clipped it back up to the top handle!

The rug is now hemmed up and put in front of our two mission recliner chairs in the She Shed. We sit here all of the time to look out the windows, play cribbage or Yahtzee,  or curl up to watch a movie.

This is what we sometimes watch out of the windows....

I also hemmed up two other rugs that are going up for sale in my Etsy store.

This one I think I'm going to call "A Walk in the Woods". The colors just seemed to suggest little flecks of sky peeking through the green leaves, the gray and brown of the tree trunks as you walk past, a bit of tan in the middle of a foot beaten path through the center of the woods. And then the colors go back off into the trees again with flecks of blue in between the greens on the browns.

This other one I'm thinking is more like the waters on a beautiful northern Wisconsin lake in the middle of summer. You get the dark colors of the trees overhanging the water reflecting on the ripples. The bright blues are the summer sun shining down and reflecting off the water, as well as the darker blues of the deeper sections of the lake. I think this one will be called "Northern Wisconsin Lake" rug.

Both will listed in my Etsy store later today: 


Earlier this week, my little baking assistant was here to help me get rid of a bag full of big green Granny Smith apples.

It's her job to make them go round and round! I just love this apple peeler corer slicer. There's one version out there that clamps onto the edge of a countertop. This other version is the type that sticks to any smooth surface with a big suction cup that I can engage by pushing a lever over. I like this one better. I've had both kinds over the years and this design I think works better overall.

That little stinker had all the apples done in no time flat. I have to help her remove the center cores, because that's a little hard for her to disengage them, but the rest of it she does all on her own.

Her bonus, of course, is to eat all the long stringy apple peelings. Well, not all of them, but she gobbles down quite a few.

I cut the slits in the top crust with the knife, and she sticks her finger in to widen them for air vents.  She thinks that is kinda funny...  I have started baking my apple pies now in a deep dish pizza pan. It prevents them from running over the edge and dribbling juice all over inside of my oven.

She carefully sprinkles 
the cinnamon and sugar on top
 before we start baking

We popped the pie in the oven and waited until the house was filled with wonderful aroma of fresh-baked pie. Yummmmm


Later on in the day, her parents came over for dinner. She was so very proud to show her mommy what she had made.

This very proud little girl 
served apple pie 
to everyone for dessert!

We had great big thunderstorms come through early this morning. The thunder was rumbling and lightning was flashing --- soon our power flickered. Happily it came back on, because I was baking apple turnovers in the oven to go with our coffee. Otherwise I would have had to wade through the storm to put the half baked turnovers out in the propane oven in the motorhome.

I made a little video of my rain chain working, with the buckets just overflowing from the huge deluge of downpour.

It didn't last long.

We are now out on the front porch enjoying a little bit of the cool weather this morning before the heat rises later today. The heat index will be well over a hundred, and I'm sure our air conditioning will be chug chug chugging away to keep the house cool. For now, we'll enjoy a little bit of the cool air on the front porch before things change.

Another big storm is to come through later on tonight, and that will bring in a cold front and things should cool down again. We hope.


  1. Glad you are getting the Bats out of your Belfry. LOL!
    Your Rugs look amazing.
    Cute that your Granddaughter is able to help with Baking.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. I'm not a fan of bats, though I realize they are good for getting rid of insects. They just freak me out. Hopefully you've seen the last of them.

    Love the rugs, and your granddaughter is just a sweetie. Great helper!


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