Category Archives: Battling Nature

A Better Mousetrap at last!

Over the course of the last year, we have been plagued with mice both inside and in the back yard. Mice, of course, bring diseases, so we’ve also had more than our fair share of animal illnesses.

Kitty isn’t interested in chasing mice, but the Puppers have caught three large rats in the last month or so. There is even an owl that uses the background as a mini-hunting ground, which totally freaks out the Puppers.

Mice were still getting in the house, however, and causing a ruckus. I tried spreading lavender around as a deterrent but the mice just pushed it out of the way and carried on. So we tried some mouse traps. 

First we tried the sticky traps. Sure enough, mice were caught. Only it was icky to dispose of them and the traps only could be used once.

Then we put out the regular old spring traps baited with peanut butter. Again, we had moderate trapping success, but it was still icky to clean up.

In desperation, I ordered these humane mouse traps from Amazon. They came four in a set. We baited them with cookie bits. The first night we caught three mice. My son took them up the hill and released them into the wild. 

The second night, we caught three more. This time my husband bashed their little heads in. He said that they just come back if you don’t. The third night, we only caught two. My son got up extra early to run them up the hill before my husband got up.

These traps work so that once the mouse enters and moseys on down the tunnel to the food, it triggers the door to close behind it. The mouse still gets to eat the cookie and seems quite content to wait until it is released. My son said that the mice often give him a side-eye stare when he releases them before scampering off. 

I’m not sure how long this mouse trapping is going to last. Or if more mice will be executed or pardoned. I guess it depends on who gets up first in the morning. However, I’m feeling better about having fewer mice leaving poop trails on the countertop. Wouldn’t you be too?

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Surviving a Windstorm in La Yacata

A windstorm can have winds more than 55 km (34 mi) per hour in short bursts or longer periods of sustained winds and can cause death, destruction, and general mayhem.

In 2015, Mexico was hit by Hurricane Patricia. This storm had sustained winds of 215 mph (345 km/h), breaking the record for the highest ever one-minute maximum sustained winds. When the hurricane made landfall near Cuixmala, Jalisco, the windstorm still registered up to 150 mph (240 km/h) making it the strongest landfall hurricane along the Pacific coast of Mexico.

The village of Chamela was completely flattened in the storm. In the town of Emiliano Zapata, winds tore roofs from homes and businesses, stripped the hillside of vegetation, toppled concrete power poles and crumpled transmission towers. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and 7 deaths occurred as a direct result of the intense winds. The total damage has been estimated to be more than 5.4 billion pesos ($323.3 million U.S. dollars). More than 59,000 acres of crops were damaged or destroyed in Jalisco alone. In Colima, the banana crop loss was estimated at 500 million pesos ($30.2 million U.S. dollars). Because of the extreme intensity of the storm, the name Patricia was retired from the hurricane list by the World Meteorological Organization.

In Mexico, one of the primary causes of injury or death as a result of a windstorm is falling billboards.

Here’s just a partial list:

In Metepc on March 10, 2016

In Fray Servando Teresa de Mier on June 26, 2016

In Mexico City on July 22, 2016

In Puebla on August 29, 2016

In Culiacán, Sinaloa on March 8, 2016

In Mexico City on April 18, 2016

In Mexico City on August 30, 2016

In Periférico Norte on March 12, 2015

On the Mexico-Queretaro Highway on March 10, 2010

In Tlalnepantla on Apr 24, 2013

So I would say that surviving a windstorm in Mexico would require that you stay as far away from a billboard as possible. Fortunately, there are no billboards in La Yacata.

Make sure to secure your tinaco!

Make sure to secure your tinaco too!

Other things that you might want to do as prevention including removing dead trees and overhanging branches, loose roofing materials, tie down outside furniture and garbage cans. In Mexico, it might be securing your tinaco (water storage container) as well or risk it flying off as happened in our neighboring town of Uriangato.

Park your vehicles inside if possible. If not, move them a safe distance away from objects (like billboards) that might fall on them. Stay inside, away from windows, doors, and billboards. Make sure pets and livestock are in a sheltered area, far from billboards.

Following these simple precautions will help you best survive a windstorm in La Yacata.

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Surviving a Volcanic eruption in La Yacata

Mexico is crossed by the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, known also as the Sierra Nevada, which covers its central-southern section. Interestingly enough, this belt defies logic and does not run parallel to the Middle American Trench and many of the volcanoes are located at an angle to the highest peak in Mexico, Pico de Orizaba (18,491 feet), also known as Citlaltépetl which is currently dormant, but not extinct.

There are currently 43 active or dormant volcanoes listed for Mexico, but that’s not to say that one might not spring up in your back yard. That’s exactly what happened just a hop, skip, and jump away from La Yacata near Uruapan, Michoacan in 1943. It grew over a period of nine years, with lengthy periodic eruptions which completely destroyed the town of Parícutin. Three people were killed, not from lava, but after being struck by lightning generated by pyroclastic eruptions (See Surviving a lightning strike).

Other Mexican volcanoes that have erupted in the last 100 years include Volcano Barcena (1953), El Chichón (1982), Nevado de Colima (2016), Popocatépetl (2016), Socorro (1993), and the Tacaná Volcano (1986).

Of course, all of these eruptions may not be natural in origin. There is some speculation that aliens are controlling the timing and intensity of Popocatépetl‘s eruptions. (See Surviving UFO invasion in La Yacata)

So, being in the vicinity of active volcanoes (UFO triggered or not) means learning a bit about volcano safety.

The number one tip is to STAY AWAY FROM ACTIVE VOLCANOES!

It’s quite the thing to hike or climb the impressive peaks in Mexico with Iztaccihuatl being the most popular volcano to hike. However, as some of these are still active, they are technically closed for tourists. So don’t risk it.

More safety advice:

If you happen to be in your house and a volcano erupts near you, evacuate if you are in the direct path of lava, mudflows or flying rocks or debris. Before you leave the house, put on long-sleeved shirts and pants, wear eyeglasses or goggles, and put on an emergency mask or hold a damp cloth to your face.

Ash can damage vehicle engines, so avoid driving. If you must drive, stay below 35 miles per hour.

If you are not evacuating, close windows and doors and block chimneys to prevent ash from entering your home. Wear protective clothing when removing ash from your roof. Bring pets and livestock into closed and sheltered areas.

Stock up on the normal prepper supplies such as food and water. The effects of a volcanic eruption could last years leading to drought (See Surviving Drought), and civil unrest (See Surviving Martial Law). The great civilization that once inhabited Teotihuacan is thought to have been torn asunder after a massive volcano caused global climate change (See Surviving Global Climate Change) leading to an extended drought causing the starving inhabitants to overthrow its government. (See Teotihuacan)

Knowing what could happen and being prepared is half the battle when it comes to volcanic eruptions. The other part is just using old fashion common sense and staying the h*ll away from high-risk zones.  Of course, it’s come to my attention that we live closer to a high-risk zone than I previously thought.  In February 2017, a crater appeared in the small lake town of Cuitzeo, not so very far from La Yacata.  The ensuing dust cloud caused considerable health issues for residents and affected the air quality all the way to Moroleon for several weeks.

And then, of course, there is the suspicious amount of pumice stone found in La Yacata which makes me wonder if we are far enough away from a risk zone.  Well, I guess we’ll just have to take our chances on this one.

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