Nature’s surprises

This week I started to hear strange noises from the underside of my car. We were on the slow morning crawl into town when we started to hear odd metal pinging sounds beneath us, like rivets snapping, then something like springs creaking and later on an odd grinding noise when we started from stationary. When I got home I tried to peer underneath the car, but I couldn’t see any problems. No dangling exhaust, no loose plates. I was worried about driving the car without knowing what was going on though, so I booked it in at the local garage. Unfortunately, they were very busy and I had to wait three days to get a slot.

Meanwhile I was fairly stuck at home in the village. The family started to complain about lack of choice of fresh food etc. The weather was continous rain for at least one of those days, but I did manage to get out into the greenhouse to do some overdue seed sowing: tomatoes, chillis and sweet peas. Also, for the first time and with some trepidation (over their toxicity), I sowed castor oil plant seeds. They are very beautiful looking seeds.

castor.jpg

Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’) seeds

Whilst I was in the greenhouse I noticed, with some joy, that the katsura tree seedlings that I germinated last year have made it through the winter and are just coming into leaf.

cercid

Over-wintered Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) seedlings

The same is also true for the pomegranate tree seedlings and the small alcea cannabina plant that over-wintered in the greenhouse. Both are now showing some lovely new green leaves. So that was some cheering news.

I was less cheered by the news from the garage who told me that they had tested brakes, steering etc., but had found nothing wrong with the car. They had heard the noises that I described however and on opening up the car had found ‘hundreds of hazelnuts under the bonnet lining and all over the inlet manifold’. They took pictures (and thought it hilarious I think). Here’s the photo they enclosed with their report:

golf

My debris-covered (chewed damson pips) engine!

So something has spent the winter chewing through all those surplus, fallen damsons (not hazelnuts), inside the warm confines of the engine of my car. I am thinking that it is mice because I’ve seen them in our garage and found similar debris there. The noises I heard have been attributed to pips dropping down on to the metal base panel and rolling around. I don’t quite understand why the noises only just suddenly started to happen, when it is clear that the feast under the bonnet has been happening for some time. Maybe the piles reached a critical threshold?

Anyhow I paid my money and now have a noiseless, pip-free car. I doubt there are any more damson left to chew, so I am not expecting to have any further trouble this year, but what do I do about next winter??????

bits

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About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
This entry was posted in Nature, Trees, Wildlife, Winter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Nature’s surprises

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Didn’t see that coming! Glad the car is ok.

  2. Tina says:

    I hope they didn’t charge too much, but it’s good you were able to solve the mystery.

  3. susurrus says:

    Lovely seeds. I wonder what happened to the mice? My Mum once had a similar experience – she took her car into the garage to check out strange rattling sounds. The mechanics pointed out she had a big box of children’s percussion instruments (shakers, tambourines etc) in the boot.

  4. Oh that is funny, glad your car is ok and pip free not, you’ve just reminded me to sow my Ricin soon.

  5. lyart says:

    🙂 food hall under the hood…

  6. How funny, first I’ve heard of a motor being used as a mobile diner for mice. Better that than a dormitory? Uh, oh. I shall have a peep under our bonnets, woodmice are endemic in our neck of the woods.

    • I like that notion. Meals on wheels! Hopefully you are all clear. Our problem is largely because of the huge quantities of damson stones lying around (and their high energy content through the winter)

  7. inesephoto says:

    That is so funny! Looks like a whole family of mice used your car as a diner.
    The seeds look like artwork.

  8. Eliza Waters says:

    Little devils! My sister had a mouse die inside the dash and the smell was god-awful and really never went away. Hopefully, this will be the last of your problems, but you may have to lift the bonnet every night to keep them from nest-building come fall. (My neighbor has to do this as his barn is riddled with mice.) Good luck!

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