tobermory's Diaryland Diary

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Farm Fresh

Further stories of a neighborhood vigilante.

The rats are getting worse. Mike and Alli came over last night for a BBQ and they essentially also got a free show as well. It was kind of like dinner theatre. I had been regularly stocking my bird feeder enjoying the variety of birds that have been stopping by – cardinals, blue jays, finches, mourning doves, etc. But then the pigeons started showing up. It was ok when it was just the big guy and the smaller female. I actually enjoyed watching their courtship rituals and I know the cats got a charge out of seeing them because they’re a lot easier to spot from the window than the tiny sparrows. But then the two multiplied into about ten and then the cars got bepooped and then it was time to cut off the food supply before the neighbors started complaining. It never occurred to me, because I’m obviously a complete idiot, that the rats might find the spilled seed (now doesn’t that sound biblical?) an easy food source. I figured that the pickins were easy up by the Korean and recently re-opened Serbian places. But, perhaps this rat was out to find something a little more healthy than Bi Bim Bop. Whatever the reason, it was a little unnerving to be sitting out in the backyard enjoying some nicely grilled sausages and to watch this rat make repeated forays to the area under the birdfeeder. Not to mention majorly embarrassing. “Hey! C’mon over for a BBQ! Don’t forget to wear boots to protect your ankles and bring a big stick to shoo the little fuckers away.” I prefer my fauna to be a little cuter and Disneyesque – the rabbits and squirrels I can handle and the opossum was marginal, but I draw the line at rats.

This all reminded me of my honeymoon. Wanting to save money Steve and I scrapped the original plan of a leisurely week meandering through California Wine Country in favor of a train ride to New Orleans with a few nights stay there and then a plant ride to Amelia Island, Florida where my parents have a condo (free accommodations are always an attractive feature). Although you would expect this story to have the rat sighting in New Orleans that’s not quite how it happened. Amelia Island is home to a very nice Ritz-Carleton. It’s far too pricey for me to stay at or even eat at, but I can hack the overpriced drinks because it’s one of the only places on the island where you can sit with an ocean view and sip a very well made cocktail and much on their complimentary premium nut mix. Steve and I were there at dusk and we opted to sit outside where it was less crowded. While we were out on the patio it began to get dark and the creatures of the night came out. Yup, rats. At the Ritz. It was hilarious. About five or six of them were scurrying up the legs of unoccupied tables to get to uneaten nuts. Steve and I were flabbergasted. People pay upwards of $500 per night to stay at the Ritz and you think that kind of money might buy you a pestilence-free resort. The only other guests on the patio were a group of four drunk women who also thought the rat invasion was hilarious – they were actually tossing nuts to the rats. Steve and I hightailed it out of there before the rats got any bolder and started coming too close. I had a brilliant idea for a T-Shirt that would say “Amelia Island Ratz-Carleton” with a picture of a rat in a tux with a martini, but I figured the resulting lawsuit wouldn’t be worth the few dollars I’d make off the venture. The next year when I went down the rats were gone. I need to find out which extermination service they used and see if they’ll travel to Chicago.

This should be the last ratalicious entry – y’all can just assume that they’re here to stay for the summer. On the other subject that I’ve beaten to death, Toby seems to have stopped peeing inappropriately altogether. He’s had the run of the house and I haven’t discovered any pee in about a week. Looks like the problem is solved. Thank you Feline Odor Neutralizer.

In other news, today my vegetables start. Megan and I are members of a CSA. For the uninitiated that’s Community Supported Agriculture. Basically you join yearly by giving a participating Farm (Angelic Organics in our case) a set fee and then for a period of time in the summer you receive a weekly bushel of vegetables harvested on the farm. There’s a central pick-up location to make things easier for the farm people and your bushel consists of whatever was harvested that particular week. It’s a bit of a gamble – if it’s a particularly shitty growing year you wind up with less variety, but by the same token if it’s a good year you get more stuff. Yes, I could just buy similar crap at the store but this forces me to eat more vegetables and to get creative in how I use them up. I got a whole share a number of years ago by myself and I was totally overwhelmed and wound up tossing a lot of the stuff. Splitting a share with Megan makes it much more manageable both with refrigerator space and with consuming it all. I’m sure I’ll wind up with more squash and salad greens than I know what to do with, but if I come across anything interesting or a particularly good recipe I’ll be sure to share.

Lunch is over so back to work I go.

1:34 p.m. - 2004-06-16

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