when mothballs make me cry

“There’s a tear in my beer
Cause I’m cryin for you, dear
You are on my lonely mind”

Hank Williams

(a sack of bat deterrent, aka mothballs, Julie Cook / 2017)

When mothballs make me cry…

No, I’m not writing a new country song, not about mothballs anyway…
I’m literally talking about real mothballs.

You may recall that I’ve had problems before with bats wanting to roost under
the awning on my back deck…
and since this is where my cat Percy spends most of his daylight hours…
well, I can’t have bats hanging out where we and the cats hang out.

I tried stuffing dryer sheets up in their little crevices,
I tried squirting them with hornet spray…
I tried poking them with a broom…
but they kept coming back—

So I had a brilliant idea.
I’d hang up mothballs.

Well, I suppose I can’t take full credit, I think I read somewhere on
a critter catcher’s website that mothballs were a low tech deterrent.
I wanted to try something humane as I know and appreciate how beneficial bats
are in the yard and poking them with a broom just made them squeak at me and
spraying them with hornet spray is probably not
exactly good for them.

Back early in the Spring, I ventured to Home Depot and bought a box of mothballs.
Once home I hung up two bags on opposite ends of the deck, just under each corner
of the awning, where the bats had hunkered down to spend their days napping.

(my little neighbor who needed to move / Julie Cook / 2016)

Here it is late July and I’ve had nary a bat.
the mothballs work.

Mothballs are meant to be in sealed-up containers where things like old books
or sweaters are stored as they are actually a pesticide for what else…
sweater eating moths and paper eating silverfish.

The smell is, well, toxic.
Hence why they’re suppose to be in bins and boxes and not necessarily
out for breathing.

But I figure we’re safe as I’ve hung the bags up high and downwind from where we sit.
and in just the right spot to fumigate the hiding nooks of bats.

Mothballs, like dry ice, dissipate over time when exposed to air.
So yesterday I noticed my little mothball sacks were now empty.
Meaning my mothballs had evaporated and I needed some refills.

Another trip to Home Depot and I returned ready to rehang bags of balls.

As I opened the box I was suddenly hit with an overwhelmingly pungent and
most familiar odor.

They say that scent, odor or smell is one of the most powerful triggers for memory.

Suddenly, I was a little girl rummaging back into the deep recesses of my
grandmother’s closet.
She had mothballs strewn all on the floor, in the way back, of her old cavernous
closet. I was immediately informed right fast not to touch the poisonous mothballs.
This being in the home where my mom and her sister Martha had grown up.
My mom and Martha.



Seems I can’t even hang up some mothballs without remembering this heavy
heart of mine.

(Mother,the not so happy bride along with her not so happy 13 year old maid of honor..
seems Martha had been obnoxiously silly, embarrassing Mother the night before at the rehearsal dinner, so they weren’t speaking this otherwise joyous June day 1953…sisters….)

Time to que the country music…..

Lord, I’ve tried and I’ve tried
But my tears I can’t hide
You are on my lonely mind.
All these blues that I’ve found
Have really got me down
You are on my lonely mind

Hank Williams

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

18 comments on “when mothballs make me cry

  1. Ilze says:

    Try hang Aluminium foil. Aluminum foil hangings not only produce a chime-like sound but also they bling as you light up the area. Both the sound and also the light reflection disturb bats. Use this technique at the entry point or at their nest

  2. atimetoshare.me says:

    Your aunt Martha must’ve been so proud of you. You sound like her clone with your great sense of humor, your compassionate soul and sense of mischief. I love the story behind the wedding picture. Lovely post❀️

  3. Citizen Tom says:

    Critters do have a habit of being where we don’t think they belong.

    When I was in the Air Force, I was assigned to Clear AFS, in the middle of Alaska. In the summer time, cliff swallows nested by the thousands on the sides of the buildings. During the day they made a fair amount of noise. So, given that lots of people worked at night, you would expect people to shoo them off. Nope! Because cliff swallows eat lots of mosquitoes they were honored guests. Thanks to those birds, we did not have a mosquito problem. In Alaska, that’s saying something.

    Not sure what kind bats you have, but as you say some are beneficial. If you still want them nearby, you can build (or buy) a bat house. If you don’t want to be exposed to their dung, it is probably best to put it on a pole in the open and not to close to your house.
    => http://www.nwf.org/Garden-For-Wildlife/Cover/Build-a-Bat-House.aspx.

    Beautiful picture of mom and her sister Martha. The story that goes with it definitely fits their expressions.

    • No mosquito troubles in Alaska is something indeed–ours are brown bats and as we live on the edge of some woods- it’s not like they don’t have plenty of places to nest– but my mothballs are working for now! πŸ˜‰πŸ¦‡

  4. Lynda says:

    Your mother and Aunt Martha look so beautiful – if not cheerful! I’m nine years younger than my sister and I can certainly relate to this photo as she was not always thrilled to have me around! It has been such a sad time in your life recently but tears are indeed healing in some strange way. We who can openly mourn are blessed for so many don’t allow themselves to do so. Blessings on your day.

    • My brother was 5 years younger then me so that made for lots of aggravation and most likely misery for mother πŸ™‚
      I usually heard, even later in life how martha got on mother’s nerves so I’d just stay tickled

  5. I’ve never used mothballs, but now I know when I will need them and what to do with them. Glad the bats are no more….

  6. SLIMJIM says:

    Wow what a trigger the smell of mothballs triggered.

  7. I expect you are a lot like your Aunt Martha. So she lives on in you. I love that picture! πŸ™‚ ❀

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