Monday, 5 December 2016

Feeding the Birds

Getting Ratty

It all went wrong when Helen asked me to feed the birds.

Firstly, it turned out that this little mouse had taken up lodgings in our mouse-proof bird food bin.

Of course, a self-caught mouse is no problem for Daddy.  Just a quick climb over our back fence with the bin in hand, and little miss mouse was soon relocated to a hedge far, far away.

However, at some point, I must have stood in some dog doodoo left by those lovely dog walkers on our back field. This got trampled liberally all over the whole downstairs of the house before we noticed, so, after cleaning up the cat vomit from the kitchen, I proceeded to scrub and mop at the rest of the floor.

In the evening the decorator phoned with the happy news that their next job had been cancelled at short notice. "Can we start tomorrow?"

Given I was likely to be up most of the night anyway, it didn't seem like too big a problem for Super Dad.

The room got emptied out, and we went to B&Q the next morning to choose and buy paint.

To keep the cost down, we had an agreement that I would cut and fix the skirting, and that he would caulk and paint it.  I'd only just started when they arrived...

Still somehow it all got done on time, with me as a temporary member of the decorating team.

For a couple of days before the decorators arrived we had been hearing some disturbing noises from the loft.

I initially thought this was a bird, and on one particularly icy day I proceeded to climb 20-25 ft up to the gable end to fill a couple of gaps with expanding foam... getting foam all over the deck below (this stuff is reminiscent of impossibly sticky candy floss, and once stuck nothing will shift it).

Still, the deck is a problem for another, not too distant, day.

There are voids between our roof and the outer wall of the house, and at the ends closest to the gable on both sides there was evidence of nesting materials. I broke these up with a broom handle and sucked it all out with the vacuum cleaner. Next, being a clever and enterprising individual, I bought new loft insulation from B&Q to fill these voids and thus ensure there wasn't any space for critters to get into the loft proper.

Unfortunately, the insulation material turned out to be wet (they must have stored it outside in the rain), it had soaked up water like a sponge and only seemed to start depositing it when I arrived home and was over the hall floor.  After trying to dry out the insulation for the rest of the day, I stupidly went ahead and used it in the void any way to stop the intrusions.

Suffice to say the intrusions continued - and our ceiling is still drying out.

A quick ebay order for a possum trap and we were in business.

3am, two nights after the decorators had left - CLAP!  The trap door had shut, and it turns out that our visitor was a feisty rat!

All would have ended well there.  But on my return from the woodland (after rehoming our friend) I left the car lights on, and now the battery is flat. Plus, I've just noticed that the birds need feeding again...


  1. Prior to today I would have been tempted to ask why do they sell possum cages in this country? I now know the answer -- to trap Ratski! He (The Interpretation Act 1850 (13 & 14 Vict. c. 21) stated that the masculine includes the feminine thus enabling "he" to be written instead of "he or she") is a heck of a lot bigger than our kitchen mice!

  2. Yea - it sure puts the odd mouse into perspective.

    One of our neighbours a couple of doors down has chickens, and there's speculation on the row that that may be the cause.

    A few weeks ago I actually saw a rat in broad day light run past our patio doors. Hasn't occurred to me until now that this could be the same individual.

    We're hoping that will be the last of our troubles with animals (except of course for our lovely pests... ooops, 'accidental' typo, meant to write 'pets') at least for this year!