June 3, 2020
When I went to check on my garden yesterday, I found a dead rat floating in the pool. Since we have a field behind us that is often too wet to mow it did not surprise me, but I had never seen a rat around our house before. We did have a mouse when we cleared the flower beds the first year that decided to come into the house, but he was dispatched quickly. Rats are a different story and harder to get rid of. Frankly, I was glad it was dead, and I did not have to decide how to deal with it. I strained it from the pool and threw it in the ditch.
I have had several encounters with rats in my life and none of them have been pleasant. When I lived in Salt Lake City, we had a stretch of unusually wet weather. The generally small creeks overran their banks and they literally decided to sandbag Seventh Street and let the water run down as a new stream. I was into playing golf at the time and went to the course with a friend of mine. My shots are not always the truest, and on one of the holes my ball went into a grove of trees surrounding a culvert drain. I knew the ball had gone into the middle and there was no chance to play it, but I hate losing balls. I pushed back the tall grass and started into the area when I noticed 20-30 rats jumping and frolicking where I thought my ball might be. I left the ball.
My other encounter with rats occurred when I lived at the camp in Hesston. We were letting the grass grow to create a Tall Grass Prairie ecosystem and it seems I got more than I hoped for. I went out to my truck one morning and it would not start. I towed it to my mechanic, and he told me the distributor wires had been chewed through. He replaced the cap and I thought nothing more about it. The next summer my truck would not start again, and I returned it to the shop and asked him for a repair. The more he looked the more he found and since I had given the go ahead, I was committed for the repair. The rat had chewed my entire electrical system and it cost over $750 to replace the wiring. When he opened the hood to check, the rat was sitting on top the engine block glaring at him. He decided to come back later.
THOUGHTS: I have heard on the news that the rats that infest New Your City are experiencing a crisis. The garbage from restaurants is no longer available and they are forced to find new sources of food. In some areas this is driving the rats indoors to confront the residents. While rats can be destructive, they are only doing what they need to do to survive. In contrast, toxic people make a choice. We can behave badly or as Spike Lee said, Do the Right Thing. Do not choose to be a rat. If you venture out, stay safe.