27 March 2009

Creature Discomfort

Thank goodness Tim and I don't live in the 1800's that all I can say because we would be dead. We are incapable of trapping or shooting anything it seems. In my last post I poked fun at my outdoors-manly brother-in-law, but I do have to say I appreciate him far more than I think he knows. None of the other men in my life share his skill set (well Tim's dad does too, but I want him to think that I'm super smart and cunning so I don't bother him with stupid questions) so he comes in very handy at times like this morning.

Our house sat vacant for about two years. Now I didn't think that was too bad. There was a house down the road from where I grew up that sat for over thirty years before someone refinished it. However, I guess that two years is plenty of time for creatures to become familiar with a house. It seems once they are happy with an area they don't like to move.

I can co-exist with mice. Growing up our farm house always had mice. When they started running around the living room at night while you were watching TV it was time to put out the traps to discourage them a little. We do that here. Last winter we had our first rat. For awhile we told ourselves it was just a really big mouse we hear moving in the walls, but when it started hijacking diapers from the pail we had to confront reality and take care of the situation. We tried multiple kinds of traps and bait with no success. Finally I broke down and let Tim get out the poison.

With bugs it's always that big rush in or out in the spring and fall. For a few weeks I look at them crawling over every available surface on the south side of the house and think I should get out the vacuum, but I mostly just wait until they've found their happy place and then sweep up the dead relatives.

When we first bought the place there was a skunk family that lived in the crawl space in the back of the house. We generally ignored them, having to deal with the stink only when we started up a particularly noisy power tool. When we moved in I decided they had to go so we tried trapping them. We did end up with one right away (since discovering our trapping skills over time I've come to the conclusion that he must have been suicidal), and then nothing again. Tim sat out on the porch for a few nights with a shot gun we had borrowed from his dad with no luck. At this point I was glad we lived on a quiet road because it was probably something that would have generated talk at the local bar had he been seen. So the first couple of years living here we and the remaining members of the skunk family coexisted. A crying baby must have been too much though because shortly after we brought Molly home we never smelt them again.

Two falls ago Tim tore down the old grainery to build his shed. We knew that a woodchuck lived under the thing. We'd see her out and about in the evening sometimes. We just assumed that she would go on her merry way and find a new place to live. Well she did. It just happened to be in the old skunk hole under the back of the house. We figured it out last spring and spent most of the summer trying to trap her.

So last night Tim get out of bed and heads down stairs with out a word to me. I assume he's going down to check his sugar and have a little snack. Well he takes his sweet time so when he gets back I ask what he was doing. "I heard something downstairs." He says and rolls over to go back to sleep. I, of course, ask, "What?" "You don't want to know." He replies. Well he was right. It was the woodchuck. It seems it has transitioned from the crawlspace in the back of the house to the basement area in the middle of the house. What Tim heard was her banging on the duct work at the bottom of the furnace. I guess when he opened the basement door she gave him a less than friendly greeting.

So the rest of the night I had nightmares of her eating her way through the basement door and gnawing my leg off. I must save the children! When Tim called this morning about something he said, "Yeah, I figure I'll come home tonight and they'll be this really fat woodchuck staring at me in the middle of the kitchen." Because you know she's gotta be hungry because there's nothing down there to eat. And that is exactly what we are hoping for. We put a little left over rat poison down there and hopefully by tomorrow night we'll have a dead woodchuck in our basement. Yes, it looks like poison is becoming the Newton family weapon of choice. Now the only thing that's got my pickle (if I lived in the 1800's I'd say that a lot more I'll bet) is that Tim thought someone was in the house and didn't say anything to me. If you are reading this dear, I would like a little notice when about to be killed so I can enjoy the last few minuets of my life. You know, panicking appropriately.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Hey Becky,

I don't want to pile on and add to your fears, but here is my story regarding groundhogs:


As a banjo player, I sort wanted to actually catch one because supposedly their skins make excellent banjo heads. Of course I have no such skills in how to actually skin or deal with anything either!