Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hunting In the Holler

When Rachel’s family comes to visit, they sleep in an outbuilding that Larry used to call the “rat shack” because what we thought to be rats’ nests covered the space between the ceiling and the roof. The building had been abandoned by all but the rodents for some time before we bought our Tennessee Mountain Home. Rachel insisted that it could be turned into a nice cabin, which her family proceeded to do, putting up insulation and wall boards, and furnishing it with bunk beds and country curtains. They now lovingly call it “Morrissey Manor.”

Rachel and family hadn’t been to their little cabin for many months, so the critters, once again, set up house keeping in the overhead crawl space. Upon the Morrissey family’s arrival, they discovered that all their linens had to be laundered to remove liquid golden gifts that had streamed down the walls onto the air mattress. Rachel changed the sheets while Larry packed the spaces between the rafters with poison pellet packets; and they called it a night.

The family finally got nestled all snug in their beds, when the “rats” declared war. Larry jumped up, determined to eradicate the enemy. With much fanfare, he began tracking the rodents, giving frequent updates to Rachel, whose only wish was a bit of sleep. Larry was determined to identify the intruders, so Rachel suggested that he photograph them to keep her from having to go into the below freezing temperatures on rodent patrol.

The next morning, a bleary-eyed Rachel reported all of this while we waited for Larry to appear with pictures of his prey. It turns out that the rodents were squirrels. Scott immediately got online to identify the type of squirrel – flying-- and the best method for disposal. It was now time for a Lowe’s run to get a trap. Scott became the great squirrel trapper while Nick wished that the rodents would turn out to be chinchillas, so we could make some money on the ordeal.

Meanwhile, Rachel sent Miya and Sarah on dead rodent patrol, afraid that one of the five dogs in residence may eat a poisoned pest. The outside of Morrissey Manor looked like a picnic ground. It seemed that the squirrels had greatly enjoyed their feast, but didn’t want to litter their space with the empty packets. The bright yellow paper was strewn all along the area of the entry door. There was no sign of the squirrels, alive or dead.

Scott and Richard returned with a squirrel trap, and Scott baited it with peanuts. The following morning, the peanuts were gone, but still no sign of Rocky the flying squirrel. Miya suggested that since they were flying squirrels, maybe they flew in, grabbed the peanuts, and flew out; and that’s how they avoided tripping the trap.

Such excitement! That’s the closest to a big game hunt we’ve come at our House in the Holler.

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