I heard the strange ping coming from Jon’s phone first. Then I heard some noise coming from downstairs. As my mind started to go to dark places about who might be in the house, it came to me that the sound from Jon’s phone might have been an alert from the motion camera we set up in the kitchen.
We thought it might be a chipmunk that was raiding our cabinets and eating the crackers out of the boxes. Whatever it was didn’t show any interest in the rat and mouse traps we set and there were no droppings.
But the camera caught what the traps didn’t.
Jon and I lay in bed watching a rat jump from the kitchen counter into the cabinet (which I had tied shut, but obviously not tight enough).
Two days before I stuffed steal wool into the holes around the bathtub pipes then crammed chicken wire around them to hold it all in. That worked for one night, then the rat was back.
This morning the rat left a trail of muddy foot and tail prints leading from the counter to the space behind the bathtub.
But now at least we know what it is and where it’s going.
So we set more rat traps this time with the rats preferred food, crackers. And we set the Have-a-heart chipmunk trap with more crackers.
We thought about leaving Bud out of his crate for the night, but he might just scare the rat away for the night and we want to make sure the rat is gone for good.
That all happened somewhere between 4 and 5 am. So Jon and I went back to bed and when we got up it was 30 degrees out and felt like spring.
I knew it wouldn’t last, so after feeding the animals I got out the ladder and hung Jon’s bird feeder in the living room window.
I found everything I needed in the basement.
The metal bracket was a little short so I added on a piece of steel with holes drilled into it. The screw and nut I used to hole it all tougher seemed to need a little more support so I wrapped it with wire.
The pulley will allow us to lower the feeder for refilling it with seeds. I saved the “S” hook from a worn out bungee cord.
I still need to hang the suet feeder. I wasn’t sure how to do it, but as the day went on I decided to hang it from the same rope that holds the feeder only higher up.
As I was working on it a crow circled around cawing. Maybe he was spreading the word that there’s a new feeder on the farm.
When I was done Jon and I had breakfast then I went right to my studio. I was eager to get to work on my Spirit Owl Quilt.
And I did but not without interruption.
I was at my sewing machine when I saw Jon and a man in a blue uniform with the word “Sheriff” on his back in yellow letters, walking into the barn. I couldn’t imagine what was going on. They were chatting so easily, I thought maybe Jon knew him.
I was in the barn not a moment later and Jon said that the sheriff was here because someone called the police and said we were abusing Zip by not letting him in the house. I laughed, certain he was joking.
But it wasn’t a joke. Someone had actually called the police on us.
Zip was on the hay bales flirting with all three of us. The sheriff looked at the child sized wicker rocker next to the cat house and said, “This cat even has a rocking chair.”
He had already seen that Zip was a healthy, happy cat, and he was just as impressed with his accommodations in the barn. He couldn’t understand why someone had made the call saying we were abusing Zip.
This was the same sheriff who came the to farm when a bear was hit by a truck and was dying in our pasture. He called the DEC who shot the bear. (Ed Gulley took the bear home to skin) The sheriff said every time he drives by the farm he thinks of that bear.
As surprised as I was to hear why the sheriff was at the farm, I know that there are people who read Jon’s and my blog who feel differently than we do about cats. And ever since Jon euthanized his dog Orson, over 15 years ago, he has been a target for certain Animal Rights groups.
The idea that we are abusing Zip is so absurd it still makes me laugh to think of it.
(Jon was with the sheriff longer than I was and had more of the story to tell. You can read his account of the Zip Incident here)
It was a wild day and my head is spinning when I think of all that happened. But it was a good day too. We have solid plans for catching the rat that has been invading our kitchen. Soon the birds will be coming to the new feeder and Jon will, no doubt, be taking some wonderful bird pictures. And in the eyes of the law, there is no longer any question about Zip being well taken care of.
Also, I got a lot of good work done on my quilt.