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Electric Owls and Giant Rats: Pest Control at Pastime

Pest Control at Pastime Hardware, ink & watercolor, 5x8". Sketch of artificial owls and other pest control devices
Pest Control at Pastime Hardware, ink & watercolor, 5×8″

When we made our annual sketching pilgrimage to Pastime Hardware on a cold winter evening I picked the Pest Control department. I was attracted by the big, ugly, inflated hanging rat and the artificial owls who seemed to be discussing who was going to nab the rat.

The names of the products seemed inflated too: Pest Chaser Pro and Sonic Pest Chaser (both made me imagine cartoon critters that jump out of the box and chase critters away). And then there’s the Tom Cat Mole Trap (contains cat? that chases moles?) and Cat Stop (do you need Cat Stop after you’ve released the Tom Cat Mole Trap?)

I know someone who is courting real owls by putting up owl houses in her yard. That solution might be worse than the problem. My son has a family of screech owls living in a tree across the street from him and they keep him awake, screeching all night long.

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Sketching at Pastime Hardware, El Cerrito

Wire Winding & Measuring Machine, Ink & Watercolor
Wire Winding & Measuring Machine, Ink & Watercolor

The crew at Pastime Hardware remembered us from our previous night there last year and treated us like honored guests. Cathy tackled the wall of spooled wires (see our Urban Sketchers site) but I fell in love with this ancient machine (above) for measuring long lengths of wire. Nobody there knew what it was called. Behind it is a rack of copper tubing.

Orion Key Grinding Machine, ink & watercolor
Orion Key Grinding Machine, ink & watercolor & collaged piece of Ace brown bag

While I sketched the key grinding machine, an employee swept nearby, preparing for closing. He showed me his dustpan full of gold dust, explaining it falls from the key machine. I’m still battling the stupid landscape-format Moleskine that makes drawing and painting standing up difficult (for me, anyway). I had to completely surrender to wonkiness on this one but was glad for the handy nearby stool I sat on for drawing the wire winder.

I’m also glad for some upcoming vacation during which I will bind a new journal and sketch like crazy to finish this one.