Farming solo has been an interesting experience. There are many things that I have learned I can do on my own. Things that I didn’t know I could do.
I’ve been empowered by the experience. I have grown stronger every day. Then there comes a day when it hits you, “Oh no! I really wish there was someone else here to do this for me.”
For me that day came when I found a half-drowned rat stuck in a water bucket hanging on the wall. My prissiest little girl was on her way to the barn to help me fill up water buckets and I knew that if she saw it there was NO WAY that prim and proper little miss would ever be coming back to the barn, much less be filling up water buckets for me.
I looked around in despair. There was no one else there to help me. No farm helper. No husband. Not a man in sight.
I had to get the almost dead mouse out of the bucket. I was so scared it would jump on me.
It might GET me!
I unhooked the bucket from the wall, and dropped it on the ground as fast as I could, scooting away from it, leaving it on its side so the mouse would be able to escape the watery grave. But no! the little fool was not that bright or it was too far gone – it refused to leave the bucket! So I took the bucket outside and gingerly turned it upside down. I scurried away. A few seconds later I came back for the bucket.
To my horror, the little rat would not leave the bucket! I had to shake it and pound on it to make it let go. Finally, the wretched, wet creature lay on the ground and I went inside to disinfect the bucket and distract my daughter, who was just arriving in the barn. (It eventually must have crawled away. When I went back to dispose of it, it was gone.)
Well, obviously I had a rat problem and I had to figure out how to manage it. I recalled how we dealt with them in the past. We had tried cats when we had this problem years ago after Hurricane Ivan. (it’s not something we deal with often) My friend Wonder Why Gal has a great mouser. I haven’t had such good luck.
In the past we have rescued several cats. They watched the rats go by and tipped their hats to them. Also the Great Pyrenees don’t seem to think cats belong on their turf. It didn’t work out very well. The cats eventually gave up their jobs as barn cats and became house cats.
Plan B was poison. Tomcat Rodent bait. Once I went to the barn at night and saw several rats scurrying around having a party I knew we had to go hardcore and do this thing.
In the past I had men do this for me. I had never poisoned critters. That seemed mean, but when I found my first rat carcass, I took a picture and sent it to a friend with the caption “my first kill”. Weird, huh? But I was so proud of myself that I had taken care of this problem all by myself. without a man.
So the other day this fellow Jim was helping me with doing herd health with the alpacas. We were searching my office for something on which to write the health record, and I was about to run back to the house for a notebook. He opened a drawer, reached down, and he pulled up a big dead rat and started swinging it by its tail chortling, “Look what I just found!”
OMG! I just started screaming and running to the house! He scared the peewickety out of me with that thing! I am such a girl.
Apparently that dead rat was under my desk between his feet and he found it when he was looking in the bottom drawer.
When I came back to the office, after I had gotten the notebook from the house, Jim said, “I didn’t mean to scare you. I had no idea you would react like that.”
We just laughed. I am a tough farmgirl in many ways. Spiders don’t bother me a bit. I hate roaches, and rats are not my friends. (obviously)
My mother has a saying that I have adopted. One that my children hate. When they tattle on each other, I tell them to, “tend to your own rat killin’”. Now I know exactly from what I speak.
Life on the farm. It’s never dull.