Thursday, July 18, 2013

RV Maintenance - over and under The Palms

First, I have to show you this little Rufous Hummingbird that has taken over my feeder.  I have a hummer feeder hanging in the Pinyon Pine tree right outside my window and he has gotten very territorial.  There are two other hummers that try to feed from time to time, but little Rufous isn't going to hear of it.

I thought I had seen and taken pictures of a Rufous before, but this is definitely a new hummingbird for me.  His coloring is so pretty, and he also has an iridescence around his neck.  I saw it when the sun was shining just right, but didn't get a photo of it.

This Rufous Hummingbird isn't in my Birds of Arizona Field Guide, so I added him and a little box that I checked off.  (Of course, I'm not in Arizona, but usually any birds I see here in New Mexico are also in the Arizona Field Guide.) 

And this little one below is a female Rufous, I think.  

Along with my friend, Hazel, I've spent the last couple of days checking The Palms and doing some relatively easy repairs, but super important for The Palms and also for my peace of mind.

I was convinced I had a nest of mice in the A/C unit on the roof.  I climbed up there in a mild wind the other morning, and I could hear scurrying around under the A/C cover.  I called Hazel and she came over to help.  I had no idea what we would find when we removed the cover, so I had everything I could think of available on the roof:  Sticky paper, flypaper, ice pick, ant/roach spray, my Grabber, etc.  I was afraid there would be a moving mess of mice and babies running all over the place and I wanted to get as many as I could.

So...   we were ready and unscrewed the four screws holding the cover on.  Removed the cover, ready to pounce, and  - - -  nothing was there.  It was clean.  Turns out there was an 8 x 10 piece of thin fiberboard that was glued to the side and it had bent in half and the half that was no longer attached by glue was quietly flapping back on forth on the unit and the cover, making a scratching sound.  I swear, it sounded exactly like a nest of mice.  Whew.  What a relief that was.

While we were up there, though, Hazel checked out my roof for me and noticed the putty around the refrigerator vent was cracking and needed to be taken care of right away. She said she was surprised I hadn't had leaks in the kitchen.  Thankfully, there have been no leaks at all in The Palms.

Yesterday we got back up on the roof and removed the vent cover.  Then we took denatured alcohol and scrubbed off as much of the dirt/dust on the putty as we could get off.

We used a big spoon to hold a little alcohol at a time and dipped our paper towels in it, then rubbed and rubbed until the putty was pretty clean.  You can see the difference - that little spot by the spoon was the last to be cleaned.  Then we cleaned the sides of the vent and the area around the putty about two or three inches out for the EternaBond tape to adhere to.

Then we measured, cut and applied EternaBond all around the area, covering the sides of the vent and all the putty, out an additional two inches.  It looks like it will last forever.  I sure hope so.

Here's the A/C cover with no nests underneath, and the fridge vent on the right, all cleaned and sealed up around it.

Late in the evening after we drove/walked the Greyhounds around the park, Hazel and I got under The Palms looking for any holes the mice could use to get into the motor home.  We found some, I don't know if they would have given mice access to the inside of The Palms, but surely there is at least one hole that is allowing entrance. Katie and I had another mouse in the cab while we were in Gallup.  That's the fourth one we've trapped (and we've had two others that left the rig, and we drove away without them, totaling six mice in all) and the reason I thought there must be a nest somewhere.  Since we didn't find a nest, there has to be a hole they are using to get in.

Hazel did most of the under rig checking with a flashlight, she's done this with her own rig and knows what to look for, but I got underneath The Palms, too.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I'm a little claustrophobic, not too bad, but enough that I'm careful not to be stuck in small spaces.  The bottom of the rig was far enough off the ground, and light was coming in from all four sides, so it wasn't too bad.  We stuffed steel wool into the holes, and got the driver's side, the rear and half the passenger side done.  I have a little more to do, then I'm going to check the engine compartment.

After that, I'll check out the inside of The Palms for any holes that can be seen from behind the drawers, cupboards, etc. Then Hazel is going to double check for me, to make sure I didn't miss anything.

When that's done, I should have a motor home that will not be accessible to mice.  I had a nightmare about mice running over me in my sleep the other night and woke up trying to scream, that's when I knew I HAD to do more than just set traps.  Wow, that was an awful dream!

I sure appreciate Hazel offering to help when I need it. She's been RVing all her life and has so much experience and knowledge.  It's so nice of her to spend her time and muscle to help.  How many females do you know who would offer to climb up on your roof, and then the same day, crawl under your RV?  Thanks, Hazel!  :)

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday, everyone!  :)


  1. Friends like Hazel are pure gold! I hope you've solved the mouse problem. I just hated it when I knew I had them but didn't know how to fight it,

  2. Those rufous hummingbirds are very aggressive. They fight to keep the others away from the feeders and then none of them get to drink. It's fun to watch them.
    That was nice of Hazel to help you out. I wish I could get over my fear of getting on the roof.

  3. It's always nice to have a helping hand. Some things just need two people. Nice that she was there when you needed help. I have the perfect solution to the mice problem..... Here kitty, kitty. I just dare them to come in and stay a while....

  4. That was a great move, Barb, using the Eternabond tape up on the roof. Those areas you covered should be good to go for several years. Though, you'll still want to periodically inspect things up there just to make sure.

  5. Makes you wonder where all the baby ruffous hummingbirds come from.

    What a good friend Hazel is. We all need a gal-pal like her!

  6. Yes good friends like Hazel are a true blessing. Not only are mice dirty they are so destructive. We had a camp host here that had to put a new wiring harness on his truck after the mice chewed though several wires. I hope soon the mice will be only OUTSIDE.

  7. Oh forgot to mention your hummingbird. So cute. Have never seen one before. He sure looks a tuff little guy sitting there defending his feeder :)

  8. I sure hope that's the END of your problems with those awful things. Oh My, I have such a phoebia !! I also sealed every little opening I could see.

  9. If you do any reading about "Hanta Virus", you'll hate mice even more. Seems there are some places in the world where it's more feared/deadly than Ebola or some of the other deadly viruses, since it's not something that can be seen, and is easily inhaled by its victims.
    Something to do with mouse urine and feces eventually drying out, and then the virus becomes airborne, and completely invisible.
    Good luck with the mouse eradication.

  10. Hi,
    First, I really enjoy your blog so thanks for sharing your stories.
    Second...I had a mice problem at home and after googling for a natural remedy, found and had great success with peppermint oil.
    I just mixed up some essential peppermint oil with water in a spray bottle and sprayed a round my roof space , under the house and a little around the inside the house and car shed.
    Haven't seen nor heard a mouse since :-).

  11. In case you ever need to know, that is caulk you covered not putty. Most likely the Dicor brand of self leveling caulk.

  12. Glad that roof job is done! How nice of Hazel to help! I once had an apartment that was over run with mice. I did actually have one (or ore) run over me at night. I got a cat. When that didn't work I moved away! LOL! (Took the cat with me though.)

  13. Hazel sound like our daughter Jojo. It is so nice to have a go-to person when things are tough. I am so pleased you have Hazel as a friend.


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