I hate rats and mice and making mistakes in this column. I’ll get to the rodents in a minute but first … my bad.
Thanks to Linda Hemsley for not only reading last week’s column but also for pulling a can pumpkin out of the cupboard to make my grandmother’s pumpkin bread. But an even bigger shout out to Linda for realizing that, wait for it — the pumpkin was missing from the recipe (Face palm emoji here). So here, real quick, is the complete (pumpkin and all) recipe for
Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread
Mix together well and set aside:
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup oil
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 cup pumpkin (you can reduce the oil to ½ cup and increase the pumpkin to 1 1/2 cups)
In large mixing bowl sift together:
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon each: nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
Directions: Take 1 cup of the dry ingredients and toss in 1 cup raisins and 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans. Add the dry mixed ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Fold in coated raisins and nuts. Grease and flour four coffee cans or four 8-by-4 inch bread pans; fill about halfway with batter. Bake at 350 degrees checking at one hour and baking up to another 20-minutes if needed.
OK now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk rodents. I can deal with rattlesnakes, spiders and the occasional marauding bobcat. I once saved my cat from one by first hitting it upside the head with my flip-flop then grabbing it by its scruff and tossing it as far as I could but, that’s another story and right now, we’re talkin’ rodents.
When I bartended in San Francisco they were doing sewer work in the neighborhood which drove all the rats out of their hidey holes and into local establishments. Going down to the basement to get bar supplies required carrying my weapon of choice — a sturdy broom — so I could beat them back to get the bottles of vodka or gin or rum or cases of beer. It was horrifying, having to fight my way past those beady-eyed, long tooth, nail and tail filthy uninhibited suckers.
Once walking in Oakland’s China Town after hours when all the garbage was on the sidewalks waiting early morning pick up, Manhattan Jake casually pointed to a pile of garbage right next to me and said “Rat!”
I went from walking on her left side straight into the middle of the street in one super hero (super coward?) bounding leap. Cars screeched to a stop as I stood, rodent-sighting paralyzed, in the middle of the road with horns honking and Manhattan Jake screaming, “Honey I said CAT not rat! It’s a cat!”
Oh. I was chagrined.
I dislike rodents so much that I own three cats. Yes, three. I am on the verge of becoming the Crazy Cat Lady. Except I’m going to have fire my three cats as, I discovered this week, they are clearly not getting their job done.
My little Honda was dead in the driveway and it wasn’t the battery. I had it towed to my buddy Jack at J & J Automotive. Jack can fix anything even the unfixable.
Turns out the starter had pooped out but also, upon further examination, that a family of mice had made their home all up in the car chewing through Lord only knows how many of the wires that help make cars go. It was the proverbial rat’s nest in the form of a literal mouse nest (ewww, ick, gross, disgusting).
Once I got over the creepy woogies of knowing I’d been playing chauffeur to a band of rodents (ewww, ick, gross, disgusting), I went into shock over how much monetary damage those nasty little suckers can do.
Jack got everything fixed and spiffy again for me and I came home and had a serious conversation with my cats — Pudge, Mal and Purrl — about their rights and responsibilities for all the good it did. They just lolled about at my feet, blinking their big eyes and asking for belly scratches. Useless, adorable, but useless, absolutely useless.
So now I’m doing research on mouse eradication and how to teach cats to hunt them. Like I have time for this in my life.