Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mischief in the garden*

I have a little problem.

Actually that statement is incorrect on two fronts;
  1. it's not just my problem, it's my neighbours' problem too
  2. I don't know that it's that little's certainly a 9inch problem & probably a 10 X 9inch problem...
We have a rat, don't panic, it's not in the kitchen....

Ratty was first sighted by me a couple of weeks ago at the front corner of our garden underneath the bird feeder which was loaded up with yummy seeds and peanuts to tempt all the pretty birds around here. The rat sat underneath this metal pole next to the metal fence, paused for a moment and then quicker than you can scream

"Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttttt!"

It had scaled the fence and sat itself in the tray of bird seed.

Needless to say, it didn't get to stay there long.

Since then I haven't seen the rat in our garden, why should it risk coming in here now? I've removed the food and started starving the dog so that he'll hunt for food***, I think having a garden that smells of dog is probably a good deterrent, the next step up would be a cat but Simon (the big meany) says no, it'd also take a while for a cute little kitten to grow into a lethal, rat killing machine, so we'll have to make do with dog patrols.

Not that the rat has disappeared from view, oh no. I've seen it 3 times since and always in the same place and at about the same time.

Let me paint you a picture;
We (the children and me,that is, Simon is a variable in this house what with his global wanderings this year - Sweden last week, Japan this, I'm keeping track of his airmiles to work out his carbon footprint at the end of the year and see how many trees he owes the planet!) get up at 6.25am on school days, I throw cereal and apple juice at the children and they sit watching German TV on the fridge (cool huh? A big American style fridge/freezer with a TV in 1 door and an ice machine in the other, the kids love it) and I sit at the end of the breakfast bar near the kitchen window, in front of this very laptop trying to wake up with a cup of caffeine (it takes at least one to kick start me into anywhere approaching human)

It's been while I've been sitting here, in this very spot that I've caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eye, I've turned and seen the rat, running as fast as it's little ratty legs will carry it along the footpath the other side of my neighbours' laurels, it really is so bold as to run along the path and not along the dirt under the laurels (it's a miracle really that I've seen it, my eyesight is not 20/20 by any stretch of the imagination (I need to go to the opticians and get my eyes retested but I'm scared they'll tell me I have to wear glasses all the time and not just for driving and reading) and it's early in the morning and I'm only half awake)

Anyway, as I said, I've seen the rat in this same place 3 times now and so we've told the neighbours (Jas had actually shared the info with them after we'd seen it eating the bird food, but at that time they quite probably dismissed it as not their problem, but now it's been sighted in their garden) Axel has spoken to rat control and was advised to find the hole that they come from/go into and then we can get something done about the problem, so we're on rat watch, Katja from her house (she gets the better view, what with it running along her path) and me from mine and of course the damn thing has gone to ground. Not a single sighting for a week, is this a good thing (i.e they've found someone else's garden to run about in) or have we just missed seeing it? Maybe it's going home earlier because it's getting lighter and lighter in the mornings now?

The pressure is still on though, because until we find the location we don't know where to put the trap and with small children in one garden and a stupid dog in another we don't really want lots of rat traps lying around, and so the rat patrol continues - you'd think with the men of both households working in the electronic/sensor industry that they'd have cobbled together some motion detecting camera thingummy by now wouldn't you? But maybe it's just easier to leave the spying to the women folk who are clearly used to twitching cutrains all day long....because we have nothing else to do (these last 7 words are dripping with sarcasm)

* a group of rats is apparently known as a pack or a mischief (I think 'mischief' is a much nicer term, although 'pack' is probably more appropriate) and as my loving brother pointed out to me (a little too gleefully it has to be said) for every one on the ground there's 10 back in the nest...thanks for those well meaning words Ed**)

** that's Ed as in Edwin, my little (as in less years, not lacking in height) and not Ed. as in Editor

*** Joke! I know he needs to diet but Logan is way too daft to think of catching food to eat in order to satisfy his hunger pangs, he'd rather turn into a vegetarian and eat grass...this is afterall the dog that thinks snow is food, what can I say other than he's very blond.

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