I hope you had a lovely fourth of July!  We invited some friends over from our church and then watched fireworks from a vantage point near our house.  It was low key, but everything July 4th should be…burgers, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, sparklers, and friends.

Other than that, I’ve been doing some projects around the house, like finishing the front garden, helping Jeff with organizing the garage (he’s building shelves and then I organize), trying to fix/install a new doorbell (which has been more challenging than one would have thought), making multiple trips to Home Depot for materials and supplies, and working on an unexpected, totally not-fun project that popped up on July 3.

If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you know I had a funky smell in my van and came to learn it was emanating from a dead mouse.  I know!  I absolutely could not believe it.  I have never in my life even heard of rodents getting into cars much less expected one to be in my van!   I removed “the body”, but have been dealing with removing the smell ever since.  After Resolve, Febreeze, vinegar, lemon oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, coffee grounds, baking soda, and finally, the big guns – Nature’s Miracle, I think I’m ready to claim a tentative victory.   I have worked on cleaning every nook and cranny of the van for hours, though, so it’s been a real time-hog over the past few days.

The  bright side is that I have a really clean van and some of the messages I received through Instagram gave me a sense of humor through it all.  I learned having rodents live/die in your car isn’t that uncommon and I could’ve had it much worse.  The bad news is I will always be a little jumpy when I’m unfolding our back seats!

Anyway, onto happier things!

As I shared in a previous post, we have two cherry trees (and an apple tree) in our yard.  I wasn’t expecting fruit tress in a suburban yard, so it was a nice surprise and like a little gift from the previous homeowners.

The cherries were ripe and ready, so Marshall and I went out one morning and picked some.  He loves climbing trees, so he was excited to get up in the tree and gently lean on the branches, so they would be low enough for me to reach.  We picked a nice basket full and they were so pretty!

I am about 95% sure these are edible cherries, but I didn’t know for sure, so I e-mailed pictures to the DOA extension to see if they could identify the species and confirm the cherries are edible.  I haven’t heard back as of yet.  Unfortunately, the squirrels and birds have now picked the tree clean (another sign they would probably be fine to bake into a pie or jelly!)

Hopefully, we can identify the tree before next year’s season, so I can bake with some and give some away.  Calvin’s already talked about having a pop-up tart cherry stand to make some money!

Even though we didn’t get to eat them (it just wasn’t worth assuming they were okay to eat), I enjoyed picking them and taking the pictures.

I’ve got some recipes for tart cherry galette and slab pie in the hopper for next year.



  1. Sheila

    I’m just wondering why you think you can’t eat them? Ornamental cherry trees have no fruit. And if they did, you can eat them if they taste good. Because they’re cherries! A member of the genus Prunus, cherries are edible! Sample away!

    • Marian Parsons

      Everything I read seems to indicate they would be edible, but there was always a caution to not eat them unless the species is identified by a professional. My guess is they are edible, but I wanted to get that confirmed before I fed them to anyone!

  2. Teresa

    Oh my those cherries look so delicious…I hope they are edible! As far as the dead rodent is concerned, usually its during the winter months they look for warm refuge in garages, cars, etc but maybe he had been there a while and once it warmed up you noticed the smell. I remember a friend of mine who lived on a farm had a family of mice make a home in the back seat of her van.

  3. Holley

    You could just freeze the cherries to use later, in a sauce or jam. I’ve never heard of a cherry that is not edible.

    • Marian Parsons

      Everything I read seems to indicate they would be edible, but there was always a caution to not eat them unless the species is identified by a professional. My guess is they are edible, but I wanted to get that confirmed before I fed them to anyone!

  4. AnnTn

    Looks like the North Star Cherry.

    I tried to include a link but my reply wouldn’t post because it was thought to be spam.

    • AnnTn

      Or Mortmonrency Cherry..

      I don’t know my cherry trees or types of cherries. Just upon looking at pictures.

  5. Renata

    For the odor in your car, buy some Moso air purifying bags on amazon. My daughter had some mice living in her car and the smell was horrible. These really worked and are inexpensive. You have to “recharge” them once a month in the sun, but really worth it! Give them a few weeks to really work to remove the smell.

  6. Janet

    Looks like Montmorency cherries to me, or sour pie cherries. Probably too sour to eat out of hand but terrific in pies and such.

  7. Mary in VA

    Marian, I’ve never seen such beautiful pictures! You could sell those for sure. The cherry tree and the cherries in blue and white towel are stunning. I’d buy one of these! Glad you had a fun 4th, but sorry about the mouse, what a nightmare. I can’t get the link for the painting to work, I’ve searched all over the top of the site. Is it me (I can be techno challenged 🙂

  8. Margaret Robinson

    I’m blown away by some of the comments. You should always check on things of this nature, if you’re unsure. There are indeed certain cherry trees that produce poisonous cherries (despite the fact that birds/animas may be able to eat them; not a true resource for humans). Some cherries, if not lethal, can cause upset stomaches, et al. Please do check before eating – you are a wise woman.

  9. Darcy

    Oh man – I too had a mouse in my van this summer. (Actually, two if I’m being honest.) We live on a cattle ranch, and it’s just one of those things you deal with….I always say I’d rather have one in my car, than in my house. And now I just keep a small bar of mouse poison under my rear seats. They are always down (so nothing can get into it that shouldn’t) and that has taken care of the problem. I’ve found that open air and sunshine eventually gets the smell out….but if they’ve made a nest in your car, you may need to change the internal air filter. I’m not sure what kind of van you have, but sometimes they’re located within the dash – your service repairmen can change it, you can YouTube how to change it, and sometimes you can pull out your glove box/jockey box and it’s behind there to replace. About a $15 filter, but closer to $75 if you have to take it in. Good luck!!!

  10. Dana

    The only thing that makes sense to me is that they’re edible! Why would the previous owners plant poisonous trees in their yard? Maybe there’s a way to contact them to be 100%

  11. Pat

    We had a family of mice move into our car one winter. They did considerable damage – chewed through the windshield wiper fluid tubes and wiring etc. Ours were living under the hood. I have no idea how that happened and I was skittish for months about driving that car. Lol. Since your smell did not dissipate with removal of the body, could there be a nest with other bodies in the engine area? Just a thought based on our experience. Hope it isn’t the case and hope you get resolution soon. Another product that is phenomenal at removing odors is Odoban. We get it at Sam’s Club. Good luck!

  12. Cherylan

    And one more thing about the van and odors. We learned from car dealer friends this: push bounce dryer sheets under the seats into the springs or other supports.
    Set up an electronic air filter which has an ionizer function inside the van and let it run overnight . This ionizer function is considered not good for humans but works in this instance. This technique was used to remove. Smoke odors from cars for remarketing. I am making note of your other odor eating techniques to get odors off of wicker armoire which that I bought out of a storage barn .

  13. claire

    Marion, perhaps your paining has already been given away? I went directly to this website following the link and they have Belinda Bell’s name in the gray bar. I am confused.

  14. Mary W.

    I learned from my dad to put out a shallow dish of real vanilla extract to get rid of odors overnight. It works in cars, too!

  15. mary m

    A bag of granulated charcoal stuck somewhere might help. A gallon of milk spilled in my Explorer years ago.
    We ended up cutting out the piece of carpeting it was soooooooo bad. My husband is a stickler about keeping
    the garage door closed. Easier said than done………… Also lavender spray is a repellant. I think it is Meyer’s
    that is sold in the grocery store along with their natural soap etc. It is very strong smelling. I spray well and then spray a piece of paper toweling and put it in the offending drawer where they love to take up housekeeping.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, that’s who I contacted. They did get back to me and confirmed it’s a sour cherry tree, but they technically aren’t allowed to confirm if they are edible or not. It sounds like it’s okay, though!

  16. Kathleen

    Odor X It works really well for strong, bad smells ! I used it on an area rug that had a full glass of milk spilled on it. I tried everything and Odor X It did the job. It is made locally (for me near Cincinnati) but I could not find it in a store so I ordered it on Amazon….lol !

  17. Kathlee

    I followed the link for your painting and it says win a painting by Belinda?

    The cherries look so pretty I hope you find out they are edible. Did you put them back out for the birds?😀

  18. Lolly

    When I don’t know if a berry or fruit is edible, I crush one between my fingers. Non edible will be nasty smelling. Edible will be sweet and yummy smelling….like a berry or fruit should smell.

  19. Susan

    RE: Mouse

    Try liquid Downy fabric softener! Just mix a good amount with water, dip a cloth in, wring out and wash the area where the smell is coming from ~ it works every time. Good Luck!

    Love your blog.


  20. monique odman

    Beautiful photos of your cherries, they are very photogenic and ready to be the models of a next painting?
    Unluckily when we arrived in the country place our cherry tree was cracked in two. We heard that a strong
    storm on june 4 th damaged lots of trees, this one had branches loaded with so many fruits, like never before, the weight brought it down, so the cherries were easy to pick. Today we cut it all down, sad. They are a bit tart and are called Montmorency.
    Do not be afraid to eat yours even though they are not the type you’ll find in a store.
    But, you can always paint a little cute picture.

  21. phyllis

    As always, your photos inspire me and remind me of the tart cherry tree in our backyard growing up. My mom used to can the cherries in juice to make pies during the winter, but my favorite use for them was her tart cherry jellies and jams. They look spectacular on the towel and I’d purchase a print or two from the pics you have shared.
    PS- the link you posted is for another artist. Have we missed the opportunity for a chance at the lemon painting?

  22. Debra

    Absolutely edible sour cherries! We live near Pittsburgh, Pa. and drive to Erie when cherries are in season to get ours. Basically make the most delicious sour cherry wine! Enjoy!

  23. Anna M. Adkins

    As for your van smell… try activated charcoal and close up your van. It even will absorb the smell of cat pee. You may need to keep the charcoal closed up for a couple of days.

  24. Chris Moore o

    Take a sample of the leaves and fruit to a garden center that has a lot of fruit trees. They can tell you NOW so you won’t have to wait.

    I love the cherry photo of the glossy leaves and the three cherries dangling. Any chance of a painting from that?

  25. Helene

    A mouse in my husbands car chewed an oil line. We had to replace the engine$$$Fortunately our car insurance covered all but the deductible..A friend had the brake line chewed. You can buy a plug-in device that sends out a signal to repel them. I have one in the garage and the basement.

  26. Vickie H.

    We are huge fans of ZERO ODOR for EVERYTHING smelly! They have their own website and I can’t be without their products!

  27. Rhonda

    Cherry trees need to be sprayed for insects every year, I’m not a cherry tree expert, but we had a cheer tree on a rental property once and so enjoyed the fresh cherries that it produced. Unfortunately after making and consuming fresh cooked cherry sauce over vanilla ice cream did I discover the cherries were full of worms!! Just a little extra protein for the ice cream sundaes! I then learned that cherry trees need to be treated with something so they don’t get wormy! Just in case you didn’t know:)

  28. Joy in Alabama

    Someone left a large package of hamburger in my cooler when we go home from Sam’s. The cooler sat on the very hot carport for a week before I found it. It smelled like someone had died! So I put an opened bag of charcoal in it, closed the lid and left it for awhile. Like new cooler!! Then we moved to a parsonage where the people before us had unplugged a fridge in the garage but didn’t clean out ….wait for it…the hamburger. Charcoal to the rescue again. This time I put some in a paper bag and just left it for about a month. We were able to use the fridge again!

    • Kimberly

      Something similar happened to a friend of mine. She had gone to the grocery store and purchased steaks, which had fallen out of the bag in the backseat and slid under the front seats, likely when she was braking for one of our crazy L.A. drivers. It was summer time, and she didn’t find the steaks for a day or two. She went to open her car and it instantly reeked of dead body smell! I have no idea what she used to get the reek out, I think she took the car in to be professionally cleaned. Good to know charcoal works, in the event something similar happens again!

  29. Amber

    Hi Rhonda! Just responding that cherry trees do not need to be sprayed for insects every year. We have 100% spray-free cherry trees on our homestead. This area was cherry and plum orchards for miles year ago and many large trees are still thriving. We pick loads of cherries and have never sprayed. I think this year, while pitting, we found one worm in the whole crop. We have several helpers roaming, including wild turkey populations, domestic guineas and hens that are allowed to free range and eat bugs around the trees. Neighboring farms use hanging traps as well as practices (such as allowing poultry to do bug clean up and not allowing any dropped fruit to remain on the ground). Once you have an infestation, it can be hard to overcome, but keeping on top of it with natural practices can be effective. Hugs! (And Marion, do plan to bake all the pies and cakes next year!)

    • Jan M Brunette-Hunyady

      Exactly. We have never sprayed a cherry tree in our entire life. We do net them and you will need to do that to keep the birds from eating them all. Net early and do not wait until they are almost ripe. The birds can eat all the cherries in a day or so.

  30. Sherill

    What happened to winning a Miss Mustard seed original oil painting 😞

    • Marian Parsons

      The giveaway wasn’t showing up on the page any longer, so I think it ended! I wasn’t running it, so I didn’t know the time it ended.

  31. Sue Anderson

    Our family home had a large cherry tree compliments of a previous owner. Us kids would pick the cherries and sell them door to door in the town. They were gone in a flash. And every cherry had a little white worm that we would just remove along with the pit. Result? The best cherry pies in the world.
    Big demand for sour cherries that you almost never see in a grocery store–one year Whole Foods had them briefly. In Colorado we can travel to the western slope to buy them directly from the farmers.

  32. Rhonda

    Amber, thanks, like I said I am no expert on cherry trees, and this was almost 40 years ago. I was mortified after we’d already injested a bunch of delicious cherry treats! Someone had said to me that they needed to be sprayed to keep the insects off so I thought I’d put it out there to make sure MMS’d family were spared the grossness! I knew someone would know and respond:)

  33. Miep

    About the cherries, perhaps a little call or mail to the previous owners would be the esiest way to know if you can eat them ? Just a thought 😉

  34. Cindy

    I hope you paint some of those lovely cherries with the blue and white background!

  35. Diane Barger

    Thirty years ago this month (when I was a wee lass!), I picked up some fresh shrimp at the docks on Gulf of Mexico for dinner. The cheap styrofoam cooler cracked before I got those beauties home. Shrimp “juice” soaked into floor mats of my NEW (one month old) car. In July. In the Deep South. It was so bad you had to hang your head outta the car to stay in it!’ After unsuccessfully trying everything under the sun to kill the smell, my elderly neighbor came over to investigate the hub-bub. He had one word for me…charcoal. Like, for a grill. Six hours with a pie plate of charcoal shut up in the car later…perfection!!

  36. Elizabeth Vdovjak

    About the dead mouse smell, I found a really good product called “Zero Odor”. It’s amazing. I have an old cat with the beginnings of renal disease. Need I say more? I found Zero Odor at Bed Bath and Beyond. Fantastic. It’s a spray. I have used it on antique HARDWOOD FLOORS! My house is 144 years old and I freaked when I smelled what was happening. One spray and odor is gone. Try it. They sell it on amazon too.

    • Kimberly

      Elizabeth, so sorry to hear about your kitty with kidney failure! I lost my beloved cat at almost 18 years of age, she had renal failure the last 2 years of her life. You may want to have your cat checked for high blood pressure, that is what precipitated my cat’s illness. Just like in humans, high BP can damage the kidneys. My cat was put on BP meds to stabilize her pressure and hopefully arrest further kidney damage.

      If you are not already doing the sub-cutaneous fluids on your cat, please consider doing them. Start now, and do them every day even if the cat seems to protest at first. They eventually get used to it and tolerate treatments well. YouTube has plenty of videos on how to do sub-cutaneous treatments on your cat. It’s unnerving at first, but you will become a pro at it in no time!

      My sweet little girl was a tiny, petite little 5 pound Sable Burmese, and she was the most loving pet I’ve ever known. Because of her tiny size, she was prescribed 100 cc of the lactated ringers solution per treatment. Your cat will likely have different needs due to size/weight, but don’t inject more ccs of fluid or do any additional treatments other than once a day on your cat unless otherwise prescribed by a vet. Giving them too much fluid at one time or doing treatment too often in a 24-hour period can be hard on their little hearts and lungs.

      I am just passing on this information to you because I’m a cat lover and hate to know of any one of them suffering, and also as way to honor my little girl. (RIP Slinky!)

    • Kimberly

      Also wanted to add, Elizabeth, that I would dose my little girl with Azodyl, a veterinary supplement made by Vetoquinol. It is used “to support kidney function by providing natural enteric dialysis and slows down uremic toxin buildup.” That and the sub-cutaneous fluids will help your cat feel a lot more comfortable, and aid the kidneys in proper elimination. Your cat will very likely stop going potty outside the litter box or in places s/he is not supposed to go.

  37. Jennifer

    Oh no, the mouse! We once had a cat sneak in our car during one hot summer day. He was fine, but he did leave a very smelly mess. Gross! We had to take it to be detailed and it was still pretty bad. Love the cherry pics!

  38. Laurie

    We recently bought a camper and I saw on Pinterest that Irish Spring soap deters mice. We have place several bars in the cabinets of our camper and so far, so good. You may want to try it in your car.

  39. Laurie

    I meant “placed”. Typo!

  40. shell shockers

    The cherries look so good, I love the fruit



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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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