When we arrived at the
As a temporary fix, we had asked that the water be totally turned off. That stopped the water loss but left another problem. Auto waterers around the house provide a drip system for xeriscape plantings which though they need less water, do need some. For this reason we felt compelled to find time to come down even in the midst of lambing season. The trip was never intended to be about fun—although I had hopes for some. Surprises lay ahead.
In unpacking the cat (we brought our old one with us), our clothes, and things needed for a month here, I opened a living room closet to see cholla chunks on the floor. I've seen such before and it is definitely not in the good news category. Since most people don’t collect cholla pieces, there was only one possibility… pack rats. No droppings, no sign of a rat having been on the ground. That was good; so what was up? Up was where the answer lay-- a nice round hole had been gnawed in the corner of the closet's ceiling. Then I heard their little bodies scurrying around. Their secure environment had suddenly run into its own glitch.
This is all like one of those mixed blessing. It’s ugh that we have rats in a minimal crawl space, intended only for ducting, wiring and phone lines, between the roof and the ceiling. Whew that we came when we did because otherwise, the inside of the house most likely was next on their emigration plan.
It didn't take long talking to the hardware store and exterminators to learn a few things about the problem. For instance, did you know that they like to eat phone cable? Neither did we but that now meant no extensions in the house. Actually, upsetting as it was, it was not an unusual problem in a desert environment nor in an older home, which this one is with is wires and pipes coming in many places with often a haphazard plan. It also happens to be located in a region considered to be pack rat heaven. They even have a name for them on the poison containers-- roof rats. No kidding. We did find how they had come in but then came how to get them out—dead or otherwise.
In the movie Ratatouille, the rats are driven from their colony's home by an old woman with a shotgun who blasted holes in her own roof in her determination to get those rats. The hero is the rat-- the villain the old woman. After a few days of realizing the severity of this problem and the difficulty of trapping or poisoning these cute little creatures, I began to see myself in her shoes. Too bad the shotgun is locked in the gun safe in
(The beautiful Tucson sunset was from the second night here. It's an example of how even in difficult times, there are compensations if we look around.)