The house was quiet. Skippy skippy hoodahs started as one, two, three rats came into the house via the ring beam on top of the walls, joined also by one single mouse at floor level. It is not a pleasant experience to hear rats above one's head. Lester was most upset this morning when he was telling me this. He has fought the fight, has Lester. During our first winter in the house, which was two years ago, there were loads of rats running along the tops of the walls. I think it must been an ancient highway for them, like the M25. And like that monster of a motorway, round and round the rats used to chase, like I used to do when driving along the M25 back in the time when I lived in the UK.
So I held the ladder for Lester as he clambered up it to lay poison, yes poison, along that ratty M25 highway on top of those walls. No use laying traps because the rats are not daft and avoid those traps. We know because we tried using them. Didn't catch one single rat. But the poison did. Job done. For a while. Intermittently we still have rats coming in, but normally singly, not it a gang. As I am sitting writing this blog there is movement in the house. I keep stamping my feet to keep them away from me. I don't think I shall be writing for much longer. I think I need to go join Lester, who has gone to bed early, in the Half Barn, which is rat free but not mice free. But it is one mouse less because we trapped one yesterday. We do lay mice traps. We can catch mice in traps. Bit of bread seems to do the trick.
'Vvvvveeeeerrrraaaa!" yelled Hubs / Head Cowman / Head Shepherd. I was with my extended roller, waving in the general direction of the ceiling hoping that the paint would not drip into my eyes again. Down came the roller. When Hubs yells, it is best I obey toute suite.
Ah, Elise again. There she was, standing in the drive, defying Hubs to get anywhere near her. Well at least the sheep and goats were in the Sheep Paddock, I thought.
"Go and get me some grain will you", yelled Hubs, "She won't come near me....."
Obeying these instructions, off I went. Only Elise had eyeballed me and I had eyeballed her back, and I think that she remembered our set-to last week, when Hubs was in Paris and her and I had a ding dong of a battle and I won because I left her out in the field all night. Because as soon as I was out of sight she charged flat out across the drive, on into the door of the Tall Barn, and then into her enclosure. Lester said that he had never seen a cow charge like that. He said that he thought that she was running away. He said that he was worried in case she was leaving home for good. I think it was because she saw me. I think that she knew that she could mess about with Lester, but that when I turned up she thought 'Oh crikey, don't want to mess with her, best get to bed before I end up in that field for the night again'.
One of my tasks today was attack the gunk on the cooker. It is a donated cooker. It is an old cooker. It is devilishly difficult to clean because the surface seems to like absorb muckiness effortlessly easily. This condition is not helped by the twice a day pot boil of pig food, which almost always overflows, turning the soggy, pulpy, grain into baked on gunge.
Normally vinegar works. Didn't seem to today. But I found a miracle product. Bicarbonate of soda. I keep it for our tummies, and the sheep's tummies, and for baking if the recipe requires a spoonful. But oh what a miracle. It cut through the gunk in no time. And the marvelous fizz that happened when I added some splashes of vinegar to it was quite fun to behold. Didn't add too much vinegar though. Didn't want to blow us all up.
I had another jolly bit of fun later on. Rained yesterday so sheep and goats in the Sheep Barn for most of the day, so the harvest of sheep and goat poo left on the floor needed to be picked up. But first, the slosh through the muddy muck in front of the barn had to be done. Squelch, squelch, slurp. It was a mighty sticky mess of a muck. But job done. Two buckets of poo picked up.
Then it came into my mind to see if I could do something about the numerous little puddles which made up the mucky mud. So I joined them up to make little streams. Then as they started flowing, I joined those stream to make a little river. To make sure the water kept on the move I used my hoe. It was fun. Instead of little puddles I have one bit puddle. Ah well, I tried to improve matters.
Oops, things quieted down for a while, but now I hear movement in the house. It is not the dogs. It is not Lester. It is not me because I am sitting at my PC talking to you.
I am going to bed. Quickly.
Photo for Diane, who wants to buy Bicarb here in France.
It is the morning of the next day. I have found one deceased rat, frizzled away to just a mound of flattened fur, in the bottom of one my boxes which was in the temporary kitchen I have just moved out of. As I moved with speed to join Lester in bed last night a rat raced across the floor of that temporary kitchen, not by my feet though, several metres away. It did not stop me from doing a squeal and running as fast as I could. I think I could have almost matched the speed at which the rat was running. I guess that we were both upset by being in the relatively close proximity of each other.