learning to farm

Since today's topic is not for the squeamish and since I don't have any pictures to document my story I thought I would post beautiful spring pictures. If discussions on spiders and bugs and mice are upsetting, . . . don't read, just look at the pictures and move onto my link list for a better read. How is that for a disclaimer? So, . . .what was in those barns?

The people that we bought the farm from were into loving all living things. Now don't get me wrong, I also believe that God created all animals and everything he created he called good and who am I to question God. However, he created me a woman and I have issues with . ..rodents.
Not mice . . .RATS. Our farm was infested. Really infested. Stop reading if this is disturbing.

We were so infested that when Terry would go check the barns in the evening, he would turn on the lights and then wait until the floors would clear before entering. They say that a rat eats its weight in body weight every day. We were being eaten out of (well not house . .thank goodness . .) barn. The rats would climb up the electrical wires and squeeze through little holes into the ceiling, they had highways inside the walls. We eventually had to reinsulate the attic becuase the insulation was completly flattened.

Enjoying the pictures? Even when you couldn't see them, you could hear them. Squealing and screeching. It was awful. Now , remember I told you that Terry worked at Safeway during the day? It was me and the boys gathering the eggs during the day and one had to constantly look over ones shoulder to be sure that a rat wasn't peering at you. It still gives me the creeps. Our farm became the amusement park for the boys friends. They would come over and literally go hunting. On one occasion, when one of the friends went home, he asked out the car window, . ."you won't get rid of them all before next weekend will you?". Nice.

Even sweet little Adrienne and Carissa came over with their Dad to participate in the hunting action. To this day, we don't know why we didn't take a picture of the wheelbarrow full of . . .you guessed it . . .rats, that had met their demise. Our boys turned into men that summer. They learned to protect their mother. We hired pest control people to come assist in the eradication and soon the numbers began to decline.
We still hear stories from our neighbors about how they had to batten down the hatches in order to prevent and infestation themselves. Word was out there that the farm was being cleaned up and look out if your farm is unprotected.

So, the summer was finally over and the boys went back to school and Terry still worked full time and suddenly I was it . . the farmerette. The morning gathering was my gig. I learned to pray in those barns. I say that quite seriously. I prayed for the 3 hours it took me to do the chores. It kept me calm. On more than one occasion, I would reach for an egg only to . . .touch something furry and still. Dead rat. I couldn't scream. Chickens are not much for screaming. I would take a shovel and maneuver the horrid little beast out of the way and continue on. I grew up a bit during that time as well. Eventually Terry got the upper hand and the barns only housed chickens. I still prayed when I gathered the eggs, but I was a bit calmer about it.

So, there you have it. I hope I didn't turn you away for good. Tomorrow, I will share some good news. In the meantime, I'm off for my 30 minute walk and then I'll have lunch with a friend. I'm infinitely blessed.


  1. Hi Lovella,
    I will be one of your "kind visitors" today, seeing no one else is jumping the gun (haha) to make a comment.
    Can you round up the troops to come to our place? We got a few hovering in the back yard. Some nights they even get brave enough to come upstairs on the deck and romp around. We put a stop to the romping, just makes more and we don't need that!

  2. Hi Lovella, I never did venture into your barns to see for myself but my imagination - fed by the horror stories- did such a number on me that I 'experienced' it all from a distance!!
    I did admire your courage!!
    And yes, your lovely photos do help to 'make the story go down'!

  3. Oh Heidi, I wonder who else has a rat story that they are almost afraid to admit.
    I'll tell Terry to come deal with your varmints. What about Mx? Isn't he in charge of security over there?

  4. I think Max has chased the rats to the neighbours...good enough for us! My little pails marked "poison" hanging from the fence may have helped too. Lasst year when I pushed down my compost and a rat jumped up at me I went to war.

  5. Oh the life of "farming"...I too was quite happy seeing the beautiful flowers as I read of the "rat horrors" and I was having lunch at the time!...how brave you were (and probably still are)Lovella, my hat's off to you!!

  6. Wow Lovella. I applaud you for moving to the place with all the rats. I could barely handle it when I had one mouse in my place - never mind a rat. My hats off to you.

  7. Mice drove us out of our first apartment! You have my admiration!!

  8. All I can say is that you're a better woman than I ... I'm not sure I would've been able to continue working knowing they were watching me or that they might turn up on the conveyor. You would never know looking at your farm now that you would ever have had that kind of problem or that you did such an amazing fix-up job. Kudos to you and Terry!

  9. Well - you should have a merit badge for courage!! Rats are so disgusting. Squirells are starting to look like rats with cute furry tails so me. I always enjoyed them til a few years ago - but look at their faces - do you see a rat face. Ewww.

    A really fun post - I got a bang out of your beautiful flower pictures for contrast.


  10. Hello,
    My friend commented on your blog, so I have visited a few times. I feel a little like a peeping tom (tomella?)having a view of your life, without you even knowing. However, I guess when we blog we expect people we dont know to read what we have wrote.
    I just wanted to comment today on your 'learning to farm post'. It comforted me in a way. We have just purchased a fixerupper, and last night feeling particularily tired, and a little squemish because of the oldness of our place, and the many 'beings that have been allowed to co exist with the other owners for years!' I decided to sit in the hot tub before heading to bed. I turned on the porch light. Something made a little hissing sound, and all was dark. Either the lightbult blew or the antiquated wiring went. Not sure which yet. Anyway, a sit in the hot tub I wanted, so I ventured forth in the dark. Over the patio up the two stairs to the tub, and lifted the lid. I knew instantly that I had a large slug in the palm of my hand. I was not a brave as you. I did scream. I shook my hand furiously, and the slug went flying. Holding my towel around me, I belined for house. My also tired husband was relaxing infront of the TV. He quickly changed, and offered to fix things. This time we took a flash light. Not all that comforing, because now I could really see all the'creepy crawlys'. There was the slug in the bottom of the tub. My knight in shining armor made short work of it, but lowering myself into the water, (as I felt even though the slug had been in that same water, it was the most comforting place to be right then)I started to cry. Not just because of one little slug, but because of the whole project that we have taken on, that your post so identified with. I am so enjoying reading about your character defining adventure. Its funny how mature we think we are, and then God shows us yet again, how much we need to grow. He sometimes even uses rats, and slugs!!
    Thank you for your thoughtful blog.


  11. Ah, ending with a 'good news' teaser! How nice!

    Your rodent story wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting, although if you had posted a photo of the wheelbarrow full...ugh, then I may have stopped reading. The words that gave me shivers were pleasantly tempered by your beautiful photos!

    I still remember being sent out to the barn by my grandmother when I was a child to gather the eggs. The only warning she gave me was to remember to turn off the electric fence before going through and to watch for that snake that she had seen the day before. I was not prepared for the opossum that was glaring at me while sitting in a pile of broken eggshells.

    Sorry, chickens...I did scream!

  12. Hi Lovella,
    I thought battling large Argentine cochroaches was bad but rats definitely outdoes that. The only other thing I can remember which is a good "missionary" story is the first time I taught Sunday School at our church here I had at least 3 bats literally swooping down at me as I was trying to teach. That was not so good as I was trying not to scare the children. Meanwhile I was freaking out. Thankfully there aren't too many scary tales to tell considering I live in South America.

  13. Well, you are the courageous one! But it isn't just rural fixer uppers with rat issues. My friend Denise cared for her mom three days a week and a care taker came for the other four. "Mom", age 80, lives in a 1.8 million dollar house, three blocks from the beach in San Diego. A tiny 1.300 sq. ft. house, still that is what it is worth on the real estate market.
    One night the caretaker called my friend to say she saw a rat in the garage. Denise put a rat trap out when she got there, and later heard a "snap" and tons of noise. When she went out to the garage, there was the rat, with its head caught in the trap, glaring at Denise. Denise picked up the rat and the trap and SQUEEZED the trap on the rat's neck, trying to kill the rat...the rat's eyes bulged out a little, but no luck killing it. Then she filled a bucket with water, and dropped the rat in, where it proceeded to swim around with the trap on it's neck. She said she finally put a lid over the bucket and called her brother to come deal with it.
    I still get the willies thinking about staring at a rat's face while squeezing the bail wire on the trap! The rats run on the telephone wires around my parent's home, all the multi-million dollar fancy homes share their swimming pools with rats. Ewww...maybe copperheads aren't so bad after all, they do their part to keep the rodent population in check.

  14. Rats don't bother me surprisingly as much as spiders do...I think rats are so cute and very smart! But to have so many that they swarm you while walking now that would probably bother me!!! But I would make sure I had boots and gloves on as well as perhaps a rain suit...so that I wouldn't feel too overrun by them all. Now spiders...I just wouldn't be near THEM!! Thanks for sharing Lovella!

  15. If you ever get a chance, read the book "Desperaux" which is about a mouse although it has a story about a rat in it too. The rat is not a "goodie" in the children's story either but it's a great book.

    It was a great story and it makes me appreciate that I don't live on a farm with a barn infested by rats.

  16. In 1998 I worked at a school where the first grade class had a rat. The rat developed a tumor, the first graders raised $600 (or was it $800) so the rat could have surgery. It lived until summer then died.

    Boy wouldn't you have loved to seen their little faces if you could have told them your story about rats?

  17. That ... was ... awesome. To read, I mean ... I'm sure not to live through. I think I would've been one of those people coming over for the hunt. That was a good read. Thanks. :)


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