I don't know about the "speak softly" part, but "carry a big stick" seems to be working. At least it was partially successful yesterday in keeping Percy and his band of thugs at bay. I'll give the little boogers E for effort; they're determined, but so am I. Poking the stick into the tunnel, I actually made contact a couple of times and I think they finally decided, "Oh crum, she's serious." Further forays were fewer and farther between. It had the desired effect. Mice that had been scared off by the bullies started coming out for their cereal and a slurp of milk. It was nice to see my little friends again, and it was definitely more pleasant and faster to get through the milking.
No fireworks are permitted in El Dorado county, which is a good thing because of the fire danger, but I do miss the ooh and ahh of that wonderful display in the sky on the Fourth of July. Down in West Sac years ago, Steve and I would climb up on the roof and watch fireworks from towns in all directions. We couldn't have bought any better tickets to watch the show, and there was the bonus of families setting off the home-style stuff in the streets below. Deb sent photos of the festive red, white, and blue decorations she and Craig put up in their backyard in preparation for a party they're hosting today; made me want to stand up and salute. Me? The best I can do will be to fly the flag from the pole out on the deck. Hopefully that will be enough.