Being at FAR Manor, an in-law freakout wasn’t necessary to cut my staycation short and get me home — they were right there, after all.
The last few days, basically the weekend, was spent being farm labor. The poultry company decided to try putting four houses’ worth of chicks in two houses, the idea being it would cost much less on heat and they could move half of them after they got a little bigger. Sounded great on paper, but the crowding caused a rather large die-off — about 3000 chickens per house, more than usually die in an entire grow-out, croaked in the first week. Thus, much of the weekend was spent getting the other two houses ready; Sasquatch and Jar Jar were there to help as well. But a chicken house screw-up, as long-time readers probably know, is not unique or even much noteworthy.
Saturday afternoon, I was getting ready to take a nap when Mrs. Fetched piped up: “Call Dad, ask him if he’s going to feed the cows and see if he needs you to help him.” ARRRRRRGH!!! The timing is… incredible. How do they do that, and how do you make it stop? Anyway, the drill is that the helper goes down in the truck to open the gates. So I went on… and found eight cows already in the hay barn. I opened a gate and cussed them out, which got two of them out right away. Six to go… I climbed up over the hay, nearly falling down a hole of unknown depth once, and cussed out the other ones. Three of them left right away, leaving the three all the way down at the far end. I climbed across the hay and got them moving… and the $#!@$%!!! stupidogs chased them right back in! Lather, rinse, repeat. By the time my father-in-law got there with the tractor, I was entertaining thoughts of butchering a cow with my bare hands and BBQ’ing it on the spot, and launching dogs in a trebuchet to entertain myself while the beef was cooking. We got the dogs away, got the cows out, and fixed as much of the fencing as we could before it got too dark to see. I hadn’t planned on making any New Year’s resolutions, but I thought about resolving to eat more beef this year.
Went to bed Sunday night, hoping to get some sleep and get a good start back at work. But at 4:30 a.m., I was awakened by a plink plink plink sound from the bathroom.
“Oh, crap,” I said, waking Mrs. Fetched. “The toilet’s backing up.” I got up, not putting on my glasses, and went to see if I was right and how bad it was going to be. The water level was normal, but there were what looked like two “floaters” in the bowl. But… one was swimming.
“It’s a rat!” I bellowed, and slammed down the lid. “Or two of them!”
“How big?” Mrs. Fetched asked. “And how did they get in there?”
“I don’t know.” I was already looking for something heavy to sit on the lid, in case one of them managed to get to dry porcelain and tried to get out, and found a magazine rack. I dropped that on and went back to bed. I considered flushing for a moment, but was afraid it might clog the drain… and who’s to say it wouldn’t climb right back up?
“How do you think they got in?” Mrs. Fetched asked again.
“No clue… but I haven’t seen any rat droppings in the house. Maybe they got in through the drain vent — or maybe it was a squirrel that got in — and they came up from below.”
A thunderstorm an hour later pretty much put the kibosh on my getting any sleep, especially when Mrs. Fetched’s alarm went off at 6 (she had to be there to greet the chicken moving crew). Since the plink noises had quit a while back, I figured whatever it was had drowned, but I wasn’t taking any chances — I slipped a piece of glass between the lid and bowl, then raised the lid to find:
One small squirrel, not exactly alive. I grabbed the fireplace tongs and a bucket, and got it back outside where it belonged. I also managed to feel a little pity for a brief moment… but that was all. Not only had he taken a third of my night with him, he’d gone crawling into someone else’s den.
Only at FAR Manor.
I’m sure if I stuck my face in a squirrel’s nest, I’d get it bitten and scratched. Think of it as evolution in action.