Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I have rats!
At first I thought the warren of holes
under my butterfly bush was home to voles.
Voles are bad enough and the scourge of my garden
(right up there with pill bugs)

Last year the voles ate my brocoli roots just
as the heads were forming.
It looked like beavers, very small beavers,
had gotten into the garden.

But as I watched a heinie head back down
one of these many, many holes I realized
that it was a much bigger heinie than
what you would expect to find on a vole.

I was left with the conclusion that I have a warren of rats.
And right by the entrance to the garden too.

Under the butterfly bush there is
an ancient, underground stump.
And from this stumps the roots go ever onward.
The rats have dug their little highways along
the roots and can go anywhere in the yard they want
undisturbed and unmolested.

So... what to do?
My yard is full of holes like this one.
I cannot place poison, for the dogs
would eat the weakened vermin.
I cannot place traps for the dogs would
eat the bait and get their noses slammed.

I think I will have to plug as many of the holes
as I can and use exhaust fumes to drive
them staggering from the depths
of Rat City Underground and
into the path of my shovel's head.
Yeah. I know. Not the nicest
thing to do, but they are RATS!!!
I know I have them in the barn,
but we put in 6 little King snakes last year
and they should begin removing
the little rat and mice babies as soon as it warms up.
And I have noticed a black and white cat
around the barn and I assume that the nice
kitty is helping me as well.
Other than the crushing realization
that I have rats in my yard that are flourishing,
nothing really new is shaking around here.
Though it is Spring there has been no
garden work done.
I have thrown my back once again
and am on garden restriction!
This is the second Spring I have had to sit out.
Imagine it....
not being able to get out in your garden
when it is 75 outside and the sky is blue
and the weeds are emerging.
Horrifying thought, no?
And when I am able to get out
Sweet Husband (tyrannical, hateful bastard)
has made me buy and promise-pinky swear
to use an egg timer! I get thirty minutes!
And when the timer goes ding, I must put down the hoe
and step away from the row and come inside.
Thirty minutes!!?
I am a marathon gardener.
I work until the job is done!
I do not eat.
I do not drink.
I do not pee...
until the job is complete.
Limiting myself to a mere thirty minutes may just kill me.
Of course you realize that the marathon,
9 hours straight gardening orgy is what
has done in my back once again.
But that is logical and sensible reasoning
and BAH!, says I.

So, I sit sucking down herbal
muscle relaxers and stare out at the weeds
that giggle and shake as they spread their
leafy green selves across my garden plots.
I did weed the comfrey patch the other day
and got Busted.
"What Do You Think You Are Doing!!!"
came the bellow of Sweet Husband
as he came around the corner of the shop...
I immediately began the song of mercy
and justification that the comfrey
absolutely had, had, had to be weeded!
And it was true. I had to weed the patch.
The comfrey was coming up and was getting
crowded out... I had no choice.

So, I sit and I stretch and I wait.
Hoping that someday I can hit the yard
for a mere thirty minutes and I pray
for the strength to be satsified with that.
And, Sweet Husband says if I am good
I can have a morning session and
and afternoon session!
oh joy.


  1. Be sure to destroy their home as well as destroying them. If you could somehow pump smoke into one of the wholes you might be able to find all the entrances/exits. After all but one hole is clogged, I like the idea of using exhaust to kill them since poison is out of the question for you.

  2. Pick a day when you have help then flood the tunnels and whack them as they come out. Make sure they are not near your birds as they will eat eggs and chicks.

  3. hi! this doesn't really have to do with your rats, BUT, i saw a comment you made on the city-data wnc forum, and i wanted to say hi! my partner and i are about 95% sure we're moving to asheville this summer, because she was accepted at warren wilson! i saw that you went there and you said some really cool things about it. we're visiting this weekend, which will probably help us make up our minds. we're both really exciting - warren wilson seems amazing and asheville looks really beautiful. any advice? :)

  4. Hey Peejay!
    Congrats on the WWC acceptance. I love, love WWC. It is a great place with a great vibe and will be a great college experience. I wish I could just go back and do it all over again.
    Well, I would concentrate my house hunt on the eastern side of town/Swannanoa proper area. Not only to be closer to the school, but it is just not as metroplitan as Asheville. Still plenty of cool stuff and plenty close in. Plus, you get to share in the joy that is Black Mountain too. Try to get a place where you can throw in a small garden. It just makes life worth living.
    Check out French Broad Co-op once you get settled and take advantage of the great farmer's markets in Asheville and the surrounding areas. There are a lot of great farmers and good food to be had.
    (the big farmer's market is not as cool.. it has a lot of imported and long transit foods)
    There is a great music scene in the area.. the Orange Peel and many of the smaller venues bring in great music... oh, and 88.7 WNCW
    is the best station around. Public, but not stuffy.
    And if you ever get down the mountain let me know.. I slide you a dozen fresh eggs.

    Again.. congrats and welcome home!

    ps.. I hope you check back in for this.