Long Time Readers will know that we have made a concerted effort to naturalize our suburban home and property. We grow native plants, use virtually no chemicals on our lawns or gardens, and compost as much as we can-even importing hundreds of pounds of organic matter a year. All of this means that in some extent we have become a small .5 acre sanctuary for the displaced fauna of this former farm field.

We have achieved a saturation level of about one vole per 200 sq ft of garden bed, and each fall field mice families burrow into the ready made winter habitat of our compost and worm bins. Running up the food chain we now have garter snakes in the prairie and a Kestrel uses our home for hunting. All of these things are taken as sweet fruits of our labors over the past years-the 2-3 low hanging tomatoes that I lost to the voles were a small consequence compared to the joy of seeing them scurry out from under the basil during harvest.

I am also a huge proponent of hybrid automotive technology, driving my 2001 Honda Insight with pride and preaching to everyone that won’t walk away that I get 70mpg with plenty of power, etc. I love my car.

Last week both of these worlds collided. I had been rearranging the garage for winter to fit both the cars, the new trailer and the 6 remaining whiskey barrels. For a week or so the Insight sat out of doors at night. During that time some of my little friends took an interest in it. One morning I fired it up, and it ran like hell. I limped it to work and then home, but the next day it was a harrowing drive to Madison to get it looked at. It was only running on 2 of the 3 cylinders with no electric assist. The Insight makes 63hp on its gas motor with another 17 from the electric. As the electric motor gives sick torque at low rpms the tranny is geared very tall for good mileage. A 40 mile drive on 35hp and no electric assist with those tall gears was…. interesting. For once it was driving like all the naysayers think it does.

Verdict? Field mice had eaten thru my engine harness taking out a few fuel injectors in the mix. The Insight will be out of commission for a week as the parts get installed, and we have set up some live traps for my, ahem, friends.


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