Rodent update and re-learning old skills

My mini fire pit, that will compliment alfresco meals beautifully.

Solitary bee houses, a Christmas present from hubs.

How spoilt can a girl be? Just LOOK at that delightful bird house! Another year older!

I’m waiting for the worst of the weather to pass before I put my latest treasures out, it gets windy around these parts.

The pups, looking most…..well, not sure really!

I noticed crocus and daffodil bulbs coming through recently, so decided to start clearing some of the leaves.

I was happy to find that kneeling felt quite comfortable again. I only knelt for fifteen minutes, but it sure felt wonderful. I’m going to gradually build up the sessions, maybe every other day. Having said that, it’s really freezing here though, the pavements remain frozen throughout the day!

Now……the fainthearted may tune out!

Remember the recent rodent infestation? The pitter patter of running feet?

A couple of days ago I was watching the birds feeding, through the window, when suddenly, they all flew off. Something  had clearly startled them, so I looked a little more closely.

Look to the top left, on the bird-house roof!

Yes, a juvenile rat!

This is a picture I never thought I’d take, a rat sharing a table with a wood pigeon.

An adult would easily take out a bird, even a wood pigeon. They do at the rescue!

The next day, two juvenile rats arrived at the feeder. I watched them very carefully. When they had eaten their fill, they clambered off, into the ivy and disappeared.

Over the weekend, hubs began cutting the ivy back and discovered this……..

How mysterious! Two small holes and a large one. I suspect that three small holes were originally made by solitary bees or wasps and the rats enlarged one of them, which leads directly to the loft! Teeth marks are clearly visible on the largest hole. Hubs actually saw a rat climb in while he was cutting the ivy back!

It appears that I have been blind. Thinking back, it all makes sense. Months ago a pile of sand appeared outside the shed in the courtyard and Buddy became obsessed with gaining access to the same said shed! The door was wedged open by the sand, and I didn’t move it as I had undergone surgery. Each night, Buddy would smash his way through all the pots and I’d have to drag him out. A month ago, I finally moved the sand and shut the shed door, finally tiring of yanking him out each night.

Guess what? The pitter patter of feet in the house began around that time. Obviously the rats bred in the shed and once it was shut moved into the loft!

So now, the plan is for hubs to take Buddy into the loft on a tight lead. Any self-respecting rat will hightail it out of there. I’ll be outside watching them exit through the hole, and once Buddy is happy that’s it’s rat-free, the hole will be sealed.

Then, the rats will simply move on, given the shed is shut and Buddy’s loose in the courtyard.

Foolproof….right?????

What could possibly go wrong?

I shall keep you all posted!

And Finally…..

Feet are MOST useful when you only have two hands!

  43 comments for “Rodent update and re-learning old skills

  1. veggiemummy
    January 10, 2018 at 6:46 am

    I love the look that the pigeon is giving that rat! Was it your birthday? If so, Happy Birthday! Your presents are beautiful. I hope the ‘Buddy Plan’ is successful – I can’t wait for the update. xx

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2018 at 11:19 pm

      Thanks Veggiemummy/veganmummy! Yes, another year older I’m ‘fraid! xxx

  2. Jo
    January 10, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Eeek, I hope it all goes to plan, I wouldn’t fancy sharing my space with rats, even if it’s just the loft. I’m sure Buddy will see them off. Happy birthday, you received some lovely gifts, and I love the fire pit.

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      Thanks Jo, I am so pleased with my pressies, and still have plants to come, a girl just can’t beat plants! xxx

  3. January 10, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Ugh. I detest rats. How fortunate that you have a rat hunting dog! Good luck and keep us posted.

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      I shall certainly keep you posted! Thanks Brenda.xxx

  4. January 10, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    An interesting post and good pictures. Happy belated birthday.
    Nice to see you gardening again. Good luck with the rats. xx

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      Thanks Flighty, it is fantastic to be able to do mundane things again.xxx

  5. January 10, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Amazing how you take for granted the small things until you can’t manage them for a while. Hope the rat eviction works – must sister has a similar problem. Maybe she needs to borrow a Jack Russell,

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      How true Sue, yes, we don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it. Oh…your poor sister!xxx

  6. Kitty
    January 10, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Buddy to the rescue! Hope it works a treat; rats cannot be a pleasant problem to solve more than once. Ick. But I love the reverse mystery-solving you’ve done, figuring out what Buddy was doing in the shed month ago. Super-sleuthing! I’m amazed at the almost-perfect roundness of the circles the entry holes made by the bees and rats: their engineers must have used a compass. 🙂

    Your birthday gifts are lovely; I can’t wait to see where they land in the gardens.

    The courtyard always looks so welcoming, Dina! I’m glad you’ve been able to kneel a bit and maneuver comfortably. Bodes well for spring and summer, doesn’t it? Yay!

    Daughter looks so regal sitting with Buddy, Sam, and Annie, right down to the footstool. 🙂

    Joy to your week; thanks, as always, for such a lovely post.

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2018 at 11:28 pm

      Buddy is permanently on guard, inside and out! I’m hoping to sort the situation soon, without bloodshed! It’s so hard living with other critters at times, my mindset is to chill and go with the flow, slowly, slowly catch your monkey, or drive it out!
      Those circles fascinated me too, not made by any human hand, nature is truly astonishing, we don’t know the half of it!
      Always lovely to hear from you, my friend. You are doing a superb job with the fostering! I raise my hat to you! Love, always.xxxxxx

  7. January 10, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Happy Birthday Dina….
    Well what can I say? Clever little beggars aren’t they – the rats that is!
    As for the Pups – they look like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths 🙂 Your presents are glorious and I am quite sure will be thoroughly enjoyed during the summer months. Speaking of which, – I would love to come and see you guys in the summer….lots of travel up until early June, but then will be hanging out in the UK…will keep you posted.

    Sending love, and do hope that your trusty little pup sorts the rat beggars out. Janet xxxxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2018 at 11:30 pm

      Thanks Janet. Oh, rats, pigeons and humans are the all-time survivors! Please do visit in the summer and stay over, plenty of bedrooms here. Be so lovely to see you again. xxx

  8. January 10, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Well done on tracking down their entry point! Hope your cunning plan works. So pleased that you can kneel again! Take care and keep warm, Dina xxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2018 at 11:33 pm

      Thanks Gill, not utterly confident re the plan…lol….
      Kneeling is just wonderful, although still a little strange, I am enjoying slowly getting better than I was before the op. You look after you too.xxx

  9. January 10, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Oh crikey! That’s some rat manipulation. visitors like that you really could do without. Buddy, no doubt, will be a good help in guiding them to the various exits. They’ve been finding their way around your premises for a while, it is time they disappeared.

    Good news about your increasing agility and mobility. The kneeling cushion looks like a really plush one, with lots of useful stuffing for comfotable kneeling. It sounds like fast progress. 🙂

    I’ll bet that resting foot is very cosy. Xxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2018 at 12:16 am

      Ah, yes, rather tricksy persuading rats to depart! It’s all about the longer game given their intelligence! I will be happy when they move onto pastures new!
      It is a wonderful thing being able to do basic things again, who knew that kneeling could be such a big deal? It’s good to get on the path to being better than I was before! Thanks Menhir.xxx

  10. Rosie
    January 10, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    The pesky rats!!! How very dare they come into your loft!!! Good luck with banishing them…..I sometimes surprise them in my compost bin…. not sure who jumps the most in surprise…..!

    How wonderful that you are able to kneel ok and so on… must feel as if you have been given a new lease of life 🙂

    All the best for 2018 Dina!!xxxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2018 at 12:22 am

      Indeedy! How very dare they…yet the blighters do! If I didn’t respect them I could let Buddy loose, but haven’t the heart to do that, I actually like and admire rats. I can imagine how they startle you jumping out like that, I’ve never had one jump out on me!
      It’s really GROOVY being able to kneel and do other such ordinary things again, all a little weird but good weird if you know what I mean. In a few months I’ll be so much better than I was before, I am SO grateful for that, it’s like getting your life back again. All the best to you, friend of mine, happy 2108, may it bring you all that you wish for, if it’s good for you.xxxx

  11. January 11, 2018 at 3:28 am

    Great post and images.

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2018 at 12:23 am

      Thanks Peter, hope all is well with you.xxx

  12. January 11, 2018 at 3:54 am

    I love your solitary bee houses, let us know how they work, and if you get bees in there soon. Just as well you have got Buddy to sort out those rats…hope he frightens them into some fields……or somewhere far away!
    Good to see you are gardening again, and can kneel and bend for a while, you will be powering around the garden in summer!

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2018 at 12:26 am

      I have solitary bee houses, they work well. The more the better though! Yes, here’s to Bud moving them on, he is determined to hunt them in the courtyard, stupid me stops him!!!!
      Being able to garden and kneel, and do other things is just brilliant! I didn’t really believe that all would be well, but gosh, it is! Thanks Gerrie.xxx

  13. January 11, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Well, that little fellow (the rat) looks gorgeous! Another proof that they are quite intelligent creatures… don’t underestimate them, ever!
    The problem is: how to get them moved away from your house?
    I wouldn’t have the heart to kill them, I would prefer to feed them and get the way “keep the number down” but can you sterilize a rat?
    Okay, I guess I just wrote a nonsense… sorry.
    I could end up on the front page of the fool-of-the-day newspaper… But maybe is possible to feed them some birth control pills?
    Guess you’re already looking forward to the spring gardener’s work 🙂
    myself I was really sick from the 31st. to the 7th January with flue and high fever… now I’m doing better and went to work, but I’ll wait after Kerala to get involved with physical work. Last year I abused my body and now I had to pay the price.
    Hugs and kisses to the whole family from Emanuele Giosuè as well :-)claudine

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2018 at 12:41 am

      I like rats too, they are great survivors, it’s odd you mention birth control because I suggested it re the rescue rats. Problem is…what eats the food with the birth control in it? It’s just too hard to control, maybe if a rat was in a humane trap it could be given such meds? The way to go for sure though, we think alike! I hope to move the rats on, I will not be killing any! Buddy will be on a tight lead!
      Oh….you poor thing! I hope you feel better soon, I’ve had the flu too and have felt grotty for ages. Here’s to spring eh? Love and hugs to you all.xxxx

  14. January 11, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Happy birthday, dear Dina. As usual, there was much to think about in your post, but the best news is that you seem to be recovering well. How good that you’re able to kneel with the pillow. I really don’t understand how the solitary bee house works, and would like to learn more. I’m imagining a bee who’s become something of a monk… left the tribe so to speak.
    Many years ago, I had a pet rat for a while, though it was quite problematic with the cats. But I did get the impression that rats are very similar to human beings. Aside from that one adventure, I never had problems with rats because I always lived with cats. And usually, just the presence of cats causes the rats to keep their distance. But I can see where such uninvited visitors could be quite a problem. I do hope that Buddy will be able to discourage their enthusiasm for your kingdom without a blood bath. Scarlet looks like she’s in heaven, keeping in touch with the puppies. Give her my regards. And may this be a warm, good and healthy winter. xxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2018 at 1:07 am

      Thanks Shimon, it is SO wonderful to be able to manage such routine tasks again, and kneel and bend….I don’t think I’ll ever take anything, health-wise, for granted again, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be better or worse off for a while! I often wonder what kind of a life I would have had with such a disability, without surgery, in a different country, or even a a hundred years ago, thank goodness for progress, god help those who never get such an opportunity,
      There are many species of solitary bees and wasps, they just find or dig a hole and lay eggs, I think their species outnumber communal bees and wasps who live in hives. They often burrow in our lawn or buildings, so these houses are perfect for them, given most are on the decline.
      Ah, Rats, they, like us, pigeons and a bunch of insects are born survivors! I admire rats, they are wily and intelligent, there will be no bloodbath! Hopefully I can appeal to their survival instincts and move them on.
      Scarlet always loves her pups, and they her. I shall pass on your best wishes, take care of you, friend of mine.xxxxx

      • January 25, 2018 at 10:05 pm

        Yes, we do have many advantages these days. It’s very human, the way we take all the good things for granted and like to complain about the bad. all the best xxx

  15. January 12, 2018 at 3:20 am

    Back in my young and really quite ignorant days, I tempted a mama rat to set up housekeeping in a woodpile, and before long — well, there were a lot of them. Eventually, the woodpile had to be moved, and this and that. I can’t blame them, as they’d found a lovely spot. Still, better they move on.

    It’s thrilling to read that you’re bending that knee so comfortably. I speak nicely to my knees every day, thanking them for continuing to do what they’re supposed to do. Of course, there’s always something, and the arthtitis in my hands sometimes makes up for the knees.

    Those bee houses are splendid! I often see the solitary leaf cutter bees around the boats. They’ll build their nests in the little vents on the outside of a hull. I know they’d far prefer upscale housing like you’re providing.

    A happy birthday to you, Dina, and all good wishes for a wonderful year to come.

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2018 at 1:24 am

      Thank you, Linda, kneeling is almost instinctive again, I think it was difficult because of the swollen leg, it’s slowly getting back to normal…my knee was ten times the size of a normal knee after surgery, I’m astonished how long it takes for swelling to go down. I’d bless your knees too, I may start blessing mine!
      You had me smiling re your early attempts at nurturing rats! It’s always difficult when the human/animal world collides….I’ve been there so many times.xxx

  16. lowcarbdiabeticJan
    January 12, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photograph with a rat sharing a table with a wood pigeon! Amazing!

    I think your gifts look lovely, thanks for showing them.

    I do hope the ‘Buddy Plan’ will be successful, I’m sure you will let us know …
    In the meantime enjoy your weekend.

    All the best Jan

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2018 at 1:26 am

      Thanks Jan, you and me both re that pic! Fingers crossed re the plan. All the best to you.xxx

  17. January 13, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Good luck with those rats! If you’re able to kneel uncomfortably then you’re doing better than I am.

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2018 at 1:46 am

      Thanks Jason, not exactly totally comfortable yet, but it’s manageable and getting better by the day, as Judy knows. Here’s to you kneeling comfortably too. My friend stayed over recently and has a bungalow, so never does stairs, she struggled, it’s all about what you are used to doing. Kneeling after surgery is now a new experience, the more I do that and stairs, the easier it gets.xxx

  18. January 15, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Now I do not mind rats but not in the loft for sure. Nella catches rats in the garden on the odd occasion but mostly they stay away from her.
    I remember years ago one popping its head out of a starling nesting box.
    Its days were numbered as Nella stood guard each day, waiting for the opportunity to catch it.

    Lovely gifts, what a treat.
    May I respectfully suggest you check your solitary bee unit for jagged edges around the drilled holes. It can damage the bees wings. I have around twenty units and add new bee units regularly.

    Great post….hope pesky rats soon disappear but not this way please :))

    • Snow Bird
      January 24, 2018 at 7:36 pm

      I quite like rats too, but definitely NOT in the house! I shall check the bee houses, thanks for reminding me! Nella sounds just like Buddy, terriers eh?xxx

  19. January 21, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    I missed this post, it didn’t appear in my reader, so I am late saying I hope you had a lovely birthday. I am glad you are getting more bendy.
    Rats! They give me the creeps. I once inadvertently tamed a family of rats. I used to keep chickens. I didn’t realise that I was feeding and taming rats as well as chooks until the day they came running to meet me as I went into the hen run with the corn. And a while after that they came running to meet me whenever I went down the garden. My worst nightmare. I’d turned into the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

    • Snow Bird
      January 24, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks Chloris, I try to forget about birthdays these days! It’s great becoming bendy again, I even managed to touch my toes today! Goodness, fancy having rats coming to meet you like that, they’re a little like that in the rescue, tame as hell. That certainly had me laughing! How odd is life eh? xxx

  20. January 24, 2018 at 3:12 am

    Please don’t take this the wrong way. But I’m so glad you and your dear husband (and maybe a four-legged family member or two) will tackle the rodent problem — and not me! I can’t imagine facing the prospect.

    So glad you had a lovely birthday, with some enchanting gifts. Not least of which is the ability to kneel again. Hope this spring open many joys, including watching all your beloved plants come back to life.

    • Snow Bird
      January 24, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      Hahahaha…..I have to admit to not relishing driving rats from the house! There always seems to be something doesn’t there?
      It’s very liberating being able to do normal things again, wonderful not having that hip pain too. Hopefully I’ll be able to get the garden back in shape this summer. Thanks Anne.xxx

  21. Glo
    January 30, 2018 at 2:36 am

    Happy Belated Birthday! We put up those individual bee houses for Mason Bees. My gardener friend looks after them so well, and has great success, so I hope you do, too. She also had a knee replacement, and is fit as a fiddle now. Her doctor told her to wear gel knee pads when she gardened. I have made a little poem about your critters ~

    Come on Mabel! Let’s head for the hills!
    There’s work to be done, then paying of bills.
    Our heyday is over; they’ve unleashed the hounds!
    They’ve ripped down the ivy; they’re showing no bounds!
    At least while it lasted, we had a good run.
    What’s better than hiding for having some fun.

  22. Snow Bird
    February 14, 2018 at 12:37 am

    Oh…..laughing away here! How wonderful to read one of your poems again!!! How I’ve missed them!!!
    Hopefully the critters are off to pastures new!!!
    I had a hip replacement, my right leg was so swollen for soooo long it made kneeling impossible, then I somehow forgot how to do it! It’s all coming back now, I will look out for those knee pads, they sound lovely! Thanks Glo, always good to hear from you.xxxx

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