Friday, July 6, 2007

Rats and Snakes


Last evening was a crawl space evening. We wanted to get in there and continue, if not finish, our work of cleaning out the large rocks, small stones, random leftover wood scraps. We started off in the crawl space that's the middle third of the house's footprint, since we'd done half of that space last week.

We dropped a light into the back corner of it by way of the access hole in the basement, then we clipped up a light at the entranceway outside the house. Suited up and crawled on in, took the metal rake with us. On our bellies, we raked a lot of the small stones off to the perimeter trenches, filling in where the earth slopes down to meet the foundation walls and footer walls. Then, I went into the basement and Erika passed the large rocks and debris to me through the opening. In no time at all, we had that section of crawl space cleaned up. Feeling good and comfortable with our new techniques, we decided to head on into the second crawl space (which is a little messier and a little harder to maneuver through).

We opened the door to the rear crawl space and put the light in. Surveying the area and developing a plan. I was noticing several fresh green hasta leaves strewn about the area. Hmm, wonder why that is...and then, the answer: Rat! Pretty big...fat squirrel-size. Just sitting in the middle of the crawl space, half backed into its nest of pink insulation, eating its leafy dinner and cleaning its paws and face as it went.

It was pretty cute. But it was the Rat. I wished aloud that I had a pellet gun, or at least a slingshot. Where's my slingshot? It has been out of commission since the cow pasture paintball days of my youth. Erika continued to think it was cute. I wondered why my reaction against this mammal was so strong. No real reasons to feel disgust towards this creature, my feelings are based solely on its species. I guess that's not very fair. (Later analysis determined that I am a ratsist, guilty of ratsism.)

Okay, the Rat won this round. We weren't going in to flush it out. Thought about sending Toes in after it, but Erika objected based on what the typical outcome would have been: Toes would've run in there, the Rat would have gotten away, and Toes would spend the rest of the night just sitting in the crawl space and refuse to come out.

I put the door back on the crawl entrance and we backed off. A few minutes later, the other crawl space door fell open. I went back to fix it and as I reached for what I thought was the piece of rebar that holds it in place, it moved. Not rebar, but a snake!

So there was a large black snake slipping out of the crawl space that we ourselves were just slithering around in! Had it been in there with us all along? Erika got some chills. Wow. We watched it leave the first crawl space and slither along the house and start to go into the rear crawl space. Go get that Rat, Snake!

But the snake didn't follow through. We watched it for a while, but went on with our work as it slithered around towards the back of the house. Guess we'll have to buy a Rat trap after all.


We used the rest of the dusky light to begin clearing the large rocks from where we dug up the side yard, and did some raking and thinking about how to bring back some greenery to this part of the yard.

We also picked a place to toss all the rocks and thought about the possibilities of having "living" stone walls that just grow out into the woods, pruning as we go, and eventually having some snaking walls/trails.

I pruned around the newly forming stone wall area, and continued to prune branches above the slab where the furnace will be placed in a few days.

We put together our order for the furnace after dinner.


- John

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