Thursday, August 01, 2013

Oh, rats!

Late one night a couple of weeks ago, my oldest daughter, Megan, and I sat on the deck, when the party was winding down and most everyone had left. "You hear that squeaking sound?" she asked. I said I did, and she said with great sureness, "It's rats." When I reported this to Elizabeth a night or two later, she said, "Do we know that she knows this for sure?"
The next night, Elizabeth came in and said, "Megan was right. I saw them."
So we've met for rat watch (with wine, of course) every night about eight-thirty or so. Elizabeth's night vision is better than mine, as is her hearing unless I have my hearing aids in. So she sees them and hears them (sometimes I do, and I caught a glimpse of a bold one going from the tree to the gutter one evening).
Last night was the kicker--a baby rat fell out of the sky (actually probably from a tree) and landed too close for comfort to Elizabeth. She and my friend Linda had just been discussing talking to the rats, explaining to them, that we know they're hungry but they should move on. When the rat fell, I said, "Just talk to it, Elizabeth." She did, but it's unprintable.
The attraction has been my fig bush. Every year something eats the figs, and I thought it was birds and squirrels, so we put up tin pie plates. But those don't phase rats--and Elizabeth has seen them eating figs. Tonight the fig tree is bare of fruit, but the squeaking was less and we only had two sightings.
Sophie has been vigilant throughout. She sits alert on the edge of the porch and occasionally dashes off to bark at a tree or branch. She has a grand time, and I suspect she at least keeps the rats off the ground. She did chase the one that landed at Elizabeth's feet but fortunately didn't catch it.
Greg, the lawn guy, think they'll move on now that the food supply is diminished. But I've had rats in my attic (and bats in my belfry) before and don't want to repeat the experience. I've ordered a sonic rat repeller.
It's lovely to be so surrounded by trees, but it does have drawbacks. And some year, I'd like to have my fig crop. My mom loved figs and often had a huge crop in North Carolina.

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