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Tales From The Treehouse

A Word On Rats, Bats and Treehouses

Dear Daniel,

There were Wildebeest in our orchard last night.

(Now there’s a line I never thought I’d write, but I rather enjoyed it now that I have.)

Off the cusp that’s really cool and fun, but as was pointed out to me in a fashion that rather dampened my glee, that may not go well in the long run for all our fledgling fruit trees. So there you go, the fun and the hazards of living in a wildlife reserve in deepest, darkest Africa.

Another hazard are the bats who are our friends, really, eating mozzies as they do, (except when they eat our bananas), but we just happen to be gifted with one in particular who seems to have missed the point of the sonar and will insist on banging into our windows at all hours after sunset, thereby earning the dubious moniker of Dingbat. Perhaps it’s a new species? Dingbaticus Africanus.

As I write I am distracted by the most stunning sunset, framed by the lovely trees surrounding and shading our deck-in-the-making. The river glistens like mercury below, the hills are dark and olive green except on top where the setting sun gilds them the most exquisite golden-green. It’s that rare light that is both sheer and soft and only happens when the sun peeks through a diaphanous hole while storms are all around, the thunder is rumbling in the distance and the frogs are singing along to Bocelli on the stereo. True story.

Another true story is we have rats in the attic. Now, in Danish if you say that, it means something rather less literal and you may find yourself on the way to a loonybin before you manage to explain you literally mean rats in the attic, as in those furry, nasty little ratty things that plague fine establishments (such as ours) as happily as sewers. They really have no sense of decorum.

Like bats, they seem to prefer to come out at night and while I am told they are arboreal rats, their tree hugging habits do not endear them to me any more than regular rats when they are banging around in the attic as I’m trying to sleep. Suddenly, I, the great animal lover, am thinking of 101 reasons they can’t really be counted as animals, thereby giving me permission to loathe them.

That does not mean I want them dead, though, just gone, but sadly, rats are not on the endangered list here or anywhere, so my pleas for humane traps go unheard. Last night, I thought their scuffling came to a sudden end so I had hope a snake had joined them and my problem would be solved organically if not humanely. (You know it’s bad when you’re hoping for snakes in your attic.)

But alas, shortly afterwards, coinciding with the end of the rain, they could be heard huffing and puffing as they squeezed under the roof and back to their trees. Which apparently are not up to snuff as shelter from the rain and having discovered a dry attic, they have developed rather an unfortunate taste for a dry spot in the rain. Sadly, it’s our attic, but arboreal or not, they gotta go. After all, what’s next? My treehouse?

On that sad note, I wish you a rat free night and sweet dreams.

Best regards,


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