Posts Tagged ‘garlic’


For the third time since we moved to the Mendocino Coast, we’ve had an expensive car repair caused in part by mice chewing on the electrical cables. Time for another garage clean-up, and time to get serious about deterring the little darlings. We hied ourselves down to Mendocino Hardware to check out our options. Mousetraps? No. The field mice have a right to live, just not inside the building. Tony spied a gizmo that emits an ultrasonic squeal, which they’re supposed to not like. I was dubious; ultrasonic stakes installed in the vegetable garden a while back had no effect whatsoever on the gophers and voles. I picked up a can of something called Nature’s Defense. Organic, the label said. I scanned the ingredient list. Garlic, cinnamon, clove, white pepper, rosemary, thyme, peppermint. Hmmm! Interesting combination of smells. We decided it was worth a try.

 On opening the can, we discovered that the smelly material was in granules that tended to clump together. The next challenge was how to contain it under the hood. I remembered that when I was a child, a favorite gift to sew for my grandma was a lavender bag. While the clipped lavender dried in the shed, I would rummage through my mother’s box of fabric scraps, drawing pieces of voile and dimity through my fingers, feeling their softness, hearing their colors sing to each other. I would stitch my neatest stitches to make a tiny bag, decorated with fragments of lace and a ribbon to draw in the top.

Mousebag installed under the hood.

I figured the mice wouldn’t appreciate dimity and lace. But there was an old undershirt of Tony’s in the rag bag. I pulled out my sewing basket, threaded a needle, and set to work. Memories came flooding back as I sewed.

 Filled and tied with string, the little bags are now fastened with duct tape around the engine. The car smells a bit garlicky, especially when we switch on the fan, so we’re trying to remember not to. It’s too early to tell how effective the repellant will be. I’ll let you know in a few months.


I planted garlic this afternoon. I’m running a little late. My friend who lives at Comptche, inland from here, and grows beautiful garlic, likes to plant at Winter Solstice and harvest at Summer Solstice. But I figure January 2 is close enough. Anyway, the solstice was rainy, and today was sunny and mild, an excellent day for being outdoors. After spading in compost from a well-matured pile, I selected a good-sized head from last year’s crop, broke it apart, and dropped each fine fat clove into its hole.

The rest of last year’s crop hangs in a decorative sheaf by my kitchen window, where it’s convenient to clip off a head when I need to replenish my Wild River Pottery garlic jar.  I haven’t yet figured out how to make garlic braids like my friend in Comptche. Maybe this year …