You see, the sailboat fetched $1,200 at auction, which will be donated to some worthy cause--one of those "donate your car or boat" deals--and the new owner called us and asked if we had the motor, and if we would be willing to sell it. The answer is "Hell, yeah!" so Mom and I spent part of our morning--about the last hour or so--getting it out of its tomb.
So much of the stuff that entombed it was sheer junk that it turned into an excavation of that corner of the garage.
The sailboat originally came with a 9.9 HP Honda outboard, which was a pretty decent motor; but that one was stolen off the back of the boat one fine evening. We had another motor, an 8 HP Chrysler 2-cycle outboard, for the 14' jon boat; Dad had it converted to the long-shaft model and...well...we never actually used the sailboat after that.
Anyway, so the Chrysler had always been kept in the garage, and so we still had it--only I hadn't thought to hook it onto the boat or dig the thing out of storage to include it when the boat was picked up.
So we're going to offer it to the guy at the incredibly low price of $100--an 8-hp outboard motor runs about $1,000 new, these days, but this motor is no less than 24 years old and hasn't run since at least 1993.
I'm not actually sure the thing has been lengthened, so I think I may tell the guy that he should put it on the boat and measure it before trying to use it; if the prop doesn't fall below the waterline, it's too short and can't be used, in which case I'd buy it back. (For the jon boat!)
It should start and run, though. But I don't know, so $100 isn't a bad price.
With the motor we're throwing in the other things we found for the boat while cleaning: anchor rope, a life vest, a fishing net, two inner tubes, an inflatable boat, and a couple of pumps for the latter. (No idea if the inflatable is any good, though.)
I'm going to recommend that Mom keep the guy's number. We may find other things as I excavate further. I'd rather give it to him than throw it all away.
Anyway, the actual topic...
The motor was stored atop a very old chest of drawers, vintage 1900 or so. Once the area was cleaned up enough to permit it, I looked through them. And in one drawer there was something that didn't make any sense to my eyes, at first.
Then I saw rib bones and realized I was looking at some dead--long-dead--mice.
Their spines were exposed--and their rib cages, of course. What confused me was their skulls; their skulls appeared translucently thin with no flesh covering them. They looked like brown parchment bubbles, a lot thinner than they should have been. They looked too big to be the skulls, so I figured maybe these odd structures were the result of whatever killed them, maybe. But looking again I saw how they might be the skulls. I didn't have anything to compare them with, having never seen a mouse skeleton "in the wild", so to speak.
Anyway, there were two or three of them clustered in one spot, with another not far away; it looks to me as if they froze to death one cold winter night--it's as good an explanation as any, because we've had some cold freaking winter nights since the last time that drawer was opened...which was probably some time in the 1980s.
The flesh that was left was mummified. I didn't take a very close look at the corpses, so I have no idea why the tops of the mice were gone and the bottoms were mummified; it didn't look like ants, but I don't really know--or care.
It was pretty creepy and disgusting, but it was also kind of cool, since you don't find mouse skeletons every day.