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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

When Animals Annoy

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:

Dead squirrel in toilet

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.


  1. Ugh! I'm glad to hear that you didn't sit down for a poop! You've got far too many critters at Far Manor. I'll remember not to complain anymore when I have to clean that damned turtle bowl.

  2. It's a good thing it didn't end up in the guest bathroom… if DoubleRed had seen it, you probably would have heard it all the way to NY!

  3. Just remember the rest of us if you are going to BBQ beef!
    Hubby Dearest has taken up trying to control the squirrel population here. He bought a "toy" that does nicely to chase them away. We have had them climbing all over our house and trying to claw screens during the summer when we had windows opened.

  4. Hi Mrs. M! The Boy used to hunt them with a BB gun, and usually brought one back. Mrs. Fetched's mom cooked 'em in gravy (but not this one!). What's the toy? If it works, it works, right?

  5. It's a pellet gun. It does very nicely to definitely control our squirrel population. I didn't think squirrel would provide enough meat for a meal?? Or does it take a lot of them to make a potful?? Don't know if I could eat squirrel, though. Maybe if I was starving!! LOL!!

  6. Gee Far! That would have had me going too! Kinda like having a bat fliter through the house! ha!ha!

    We've got a rather large squirrel population around the house, as we do feed them along with the birds. We've got them in our walls, damn! Good thing our fire insurance is up to date! However, never had they manage to get into the house!Heh! Heh! Kinda reminds me of National Lamphoon's Christmas Vaction! ha!ha! Guess, you got lucky in that respect...

  7. Mrs. M, it was more like a side dish… squirrel dumplings. If you go with the notion that the meat is to flavor the dish, rather than to be the dish itself, one should be sufficient. It's not bad, once you get past the idea of eating tree rat. ;-)

    Yooper, the closest to that was the wren that built a nest in our garage! We have mice of course, and probably a squirrel in the attic, but not in our walls… thank God.

  8. Thank god it was just a squirrel, poor little guy, you're probably right, he came down the drain vent.

    Tell you in-laws that you already have a job, and they can take care of their own crap. As much as you work during the week you deserve a nap when you want to take one.

  9. Does the old M-80 in the pipes trick work on that kind of critter? Or does that just result in broken plumbing?

  10. Hey all!

    Yeah, Olivia, "eek" (or some variation) is what I said. ;-)

    Solar-bro, happy b-day! Unfortunately, the in-laws are too old to be doing a whole lot on their own now. Mrs. Fetched has a conniption when her mom does much of anything.

    Nudge, broken pipes. They're plastic. All I had to do was close the lid, anyway. If it was smart, it could have gone back the way it came… but if it was smart, it wouldn't have gone down there in the first place.

  11. FAR,
    I thought a great big YIKES for you on this one, especially with the wayward tree rat. I hate em, and they deserve whatever foul fate they get. Still, what a nasty incident to wake up to ... we had some rats come in our basement a few years ago when the tweakers lived next door but some strategically placed D-Con took care of them, but finding them was always a freak out!

    Now that the place next door is totally empty (remember, holes in the roof, hehe), the usual mice we have come in in winter have abandoned us and are probably thriving in droves over there!

  12. IVG, I figured the tweakers would have been leaving mouse-sized bits of food around for them to eat… at least they're not at your place.

  13. OMG. And I thought the squirrels were bad when they try to destroy my plant and nap in the cool dirt.

  14. Oh poor little squirrel you could have saved it and put it outside - oh wipes tear away........


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