Friday, April 16, 2010

Nature vs. .... ME.

Warning: This post involves scatalogical issues, blood and gore and general heartlessness on my part. It might be unsuitable for some audiences. On the other hand, the very thought of blood and gore might reel you right in. Feel free to proceed. Or not.


You know.

When you climb the stairs to the main floor of the cottage and the first thing you see is squirrel poop all over the floor, you know it's going to be a pain in the ass weekend.

Because poop on the floor entails poop on the counters, on the table, in the bed. Pretty much everywhere you don't want poop to reside. Poop in prodigious, mind boggling quantities, poop beyond your wildest dreams - if, of course, you're into scatalogical dreams.

And if you are? I really don't want to know.

At least he didn't get into the food.

All this poop obviously entails much vacuuming, stripping of beds, washing down/bleaching of countertops, tables, etc. And of course, possible ruining of jeans with said bleach. Jocelyn (I believe) once offered this nugget of wisdom: "Bleach Naked", which is all well and nice in certain circumstances, but when it's deep winter and about 3 degrees above freezing in the house, overall not the most user friendly idea evah.

Indeed, naked and frigid are concepts that do not sit well with me when placed side by side, or one surrounding the other as it were. Hell, frigid is a concept that doesn't sit well with me, period.

But I digress. Always I digress. What's with the digressifying.... CONCENTRATE Jazz!!! I blame menobrain. Yep, I do. Um. So...

All this poop obviously means a squirrel got into the house - a little red one like this dude, they grey ones are either too big or to stupid to find their way in. I actually quite like them, they're redheads and they have major attitude. But they shit entirely too much. How can a 200 gram rodent fabricate that much poo? Did I mention there was poo all over the place? Felt like it was pretty much carpeted in excrement. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating.

But just a little. The cottage was definitely poopy.

So yeah, they're cute, they're smartasses, and I really like them. Except when they find their way into the house, which happens every couple of years. They try to make you believe they just happened to wander in through some crack somewhere and needed to relieve themselves. Be that as it may, in such a case, in the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "Of course you realize, this means war".

A war to the death.  Yours not mine Red. I'm bigger, I'm smarter and most of all, I'm meaner.

I hauled out the rat trap** that hadn't seen action for a couple of years (last time Red - probably this guy's great grandfather - tripped the trap, got the peanut and vanished, leaving behind only a whisker or two. He was a smart one who deserved to live), baited it with a peanut and wandered back upstairs for a well deserved and very stiff drink - all that vacuuming, bleaching, changing of bed linens and baiting of traps that I tend to trip myself and squwoosh my finger in, on a Friday evening is utterly exhausting.

Knowing that the little buggers are diurnal, I figured we'd be ok until the next day.

We were.

Until breakfast when I heard the fatal crack (of course he couldn't have waited until after breakfast, no he had to ruin my appetite).

And so, downstairs I went, grabbing a pair of gardening gloves along the way. Poor thing hadn't even gotten the peanut. He lay there convulsing on the floor, blood spreading beneath him.

It was totally a Sopranos moment, it was. Totally.

So I picked him up gently and wrung his pretty red neck - amazing how hard that is considering his tiny size. You'd think it'd snap like a twig, but nope, more like a somewhat bigger branch. Aaaanyway.

Then I threw him outside, where, within a half hour, a crow made off with the corpse. I'm a big fan of recycling I am. To quote Bugs again: "Ain't I a stinker!".

Then I promptly collapsed into Mr. Jazz's arms shaking like a leaf. Why I didn't just back off and tell him, "Dude, you're the guy, you do it", I'll never know. It was one of those moments where you know what has to be done so you just do it without thinking. Easily actually. It's so very very bizarre.

So, after a mouse and a squirrel, I guess next on the list is a cat. They say serial killers tend to graduate this way to larger and larger animals... Food for thought.

** Yes one of those evil kill traps. Cause if the thing gets in and we don't catch it before the weekend is over, there's no point in having a live trap since it'll simply slowly die of thirst or hunger over the week. Quick and neat is the way to go. And believe me, there are enough of them out there that one less won't make much of a difference. The Darwin Awards principle at work - if it's stupid enough to get caught it deserves to die. Viz, great granddad who I was most definitely pulling for, though he probably ended up eaten by a cat. Or Bugs Bunny.


Rachel said...

Wow, you're a very strong and brave woman. It definitely had to be done, and you did it with as much grace and effiency as possible. I dunno if I could do it, I'm way too soft and weak.

RIP Red.

Gaelyn said...

I just can't stop laughing! Poop everywhere, and you being the one to get the job done. I totally agree about the "done deal" trap, much more efficeint. What a way to spend the weekend at the cabin. Hope you had more fun than studying scat up close and way too personal.

Dumdad said...

Eh, what's up Jazz? Ain't you a stinker! You make Bugs look like a puddy cat.

Seriously, I'm with you on this. The squirrel started it; you finished it.

Right, now for the rest of the wildlife out there: bring it on!

lime said...

hey, i come from a family of hunters so no need to justify the killing trap to me. and i can say grey squirrels can find their way inside too. we had one come down our chimney while we were away for a couple weeks. what a mess that thing made. you have my full sympathies.

Susan Tuttle said...

oh jeez -- i feel for you. those little guys can cause so much damage -- we had a flying squirrel once that chewed a hole through our house and got into the attic -- we got him in the trap with peanut butter and m&ms and took him miles away so he wouldn't return. he's stayed away thankfully and no new critters.

geewits said...

Poor thing! You I mean. The cabin is supposed to be a place to go to relax and you arrive to all that havoc and mess. Here's to a squirrel-free cabin for years to come!

Jazz said...

Rachel - brave? Not so much. I wasn't facing a rabid fox, just a convulsing squirrel.

Gaelyn - More fun. Yep. Cocktails were involved. And good food, and wine. Still, the mind boggles at the amount of feces these creatures produce...

DDn - Yep, if you're in my territory, I get mean. People would do well to remember that. ;-)

Lime - Thankfully we have yet to invite a grey one in. They're so much bigger, I imagine I'd have been knee deep in poo.

Susan - yep, they're cute outside, inside, not so much.

Geewits - I'm sure we'll have another one in a year or two. Luckily they don't come in that often.

Voyager said...

I love the paths menobrain takes you down, I have similar meno rambling thoughts.
At our cabin I am the killer of rodents, B is too soft hearted. Fortunately there has been nothing bigger than a mouse so far.

secret agent woman said...

I wouldn't have put out a live trap either if I were not going to be there to free the fellow some distance from the house. That would be cruel. But I'd have cried like a baby about killing him.

VioletSky said...

Sopranos moment - I choked at that one.
Oh dear, Bazel better behave...

OMG, I just scrolled down to word verification and it was carmely (and I thought Carmela was the sane one)

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I'm like Voyager's hubby; too damn soft-hearted. I don't even kill spiders; I escort them outside and ask if they've had enough to eat.

Your problem is squirrels, ours is bunnies. Actually, they're both so damn cute it probably saves a lot of their lives.

My special spleen is for raccoons. Murderous little bastards they are and I could actually use a 12 gauge on one without much problem. I rejoice when I see one as road kill because that means there is one less to ravage my fishpond or kill somebody else's chickens.

Great posting. Poopy, but great.

XUP said...

I kind of agree with Geewits. I never really understood the love affair with cottaging. It always seem like a lot of work just so you can sit in the middle of nowhere and stare at a lake, slap mosquitoes, kill critters, clean, cook, repair, rebuild...etc....etc.

Gnightgirl said...

Until I moved out here, I always left corn out for the squirrels. City squirrels are charming and will tip their hats to you. Country squirrels will eat your house. I often accuse Clint of building the house of gingerbread; they can do so much damage. I do leave the squirrel, uh,...control up to Clint.

I'm sorry you didn't post a poo pic.

Big Brother said...

At a girl, lil sister, you're becoming a lean, mean, killin' machine. ;o)
Squirrels are just rats with a fuzzy tail. When they get into the attic and build a nest they do major damage, like insurance time damage. So don't let them get a toe-hold in your space.

Guillaume said...

"Nature vs Me" takes a different meaning these days for me anyway.

Anonymous said...

Like XUP, I don't quite get that whole cottage thing (although we call them "cabins" out here). Especially when the whole life-death, survival-of-the-fittest nature thing stares you in the face. However, I still think that's pretty cool that YOU took care of things. (Hope Mr Jazz helped with the poo clean-up, though!)

Jocelyn said...

This may have just surpassed your "how the Mr. and I met" post as my Jazz Favorite--and not just because you rightly remembered (I can't believe it!) my "bleach naked" advice. So fun!

Anyhow, I hateeeee squirrels, but still I had to gasp in wonder and awe at your seemingly-easy treatment of the bloody near corpse. That's some mettle you've got, lady.

All props to you. Do you maybe have a little Viking in your bloodlines?

Jeaux said...

I love a heartless wench!

Suldog said...

Well, I'm generally one for catching and releasing, but I understand your dilemma. Better to do one in quickly than starve it to death, and since it invaded your space when there are so many fine trees and whatnot outside of your space... I probably would have caught the guy and released him, but your circumstances are different.

Jazz said...

Voyager - I'm not so big on meno-brain, except perhaps as comic relief. Mr. Jazz is pretty damn soft hearted himself.

SAW - I cried like a baby for the first few mice - I even buried them rather than just pitching them outside. Then it got old. I'm a hard hearted bitch I am.

Violetsky - Bazel better behave indeed..

Ian - I don't kill spiders either. Actually I leave them in the house, since they eat all the other bugs... Raccoons are cute! and the eat all the dead squirrels and mice.

XUP - I don't really stare at the lake. I drink wine and cocktails and sleep in.

Gnightgirl - next time I'll try to remember to take a few poo pix. You'll find them fascinating...

BB - mean killin' machine, maybe. Lean? Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Guillaume - I am the cottage God. I rain death from up high.

Pink - He did AND he took care of the cocktail mixing afterward.

Joce - I don't think there's Viking, but there's lots of Norman - between your Viking and my Norman, our ancestors rained death and destruction on England... Cool!

Jeaux - Next step, going to Florida to fight alligators.

Sully - If I lived there full time, I'd definitely get a live trap. Actually I'm thinking of getting one for weekends, that way I could magnanimously let a few of them live.

Shrinky said...

Oh Gawd Jazz, I felt the crunch of it's neck as you wrung it - ewck! This might sound nuts, but I miss squirrels, see we don't have any on the island (sigh), but living next to a glen with a river flowing through it, we have LOTS of water rats. Yeah, I have eight (yup 8!) humane traps, but here's the kicker, if the youngest get to them before me, she lets the little buggers go again, right on our bloomin' doorstep .. sigh.

Warty Mammal said...

Oh, man. I'm sorry. What a horrific experience.

Jingle said...

you rock,
full of nerve and wisdom,
that's the one I admire.