Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Rodents
Jennifer Flaten

I like animals. I’ve always had a dog and at least one cat. One time I even owned a business of ferrets; that would be three ferrets. Let me tell you owning a ferret is like renting your spare room to a meth addict.


Ferrets rip holes in the sofa to take a nap.

A ferret will eat all your sugary snacks and rip a hole in your sofa so he can take a nap. He will also feel no compunction about stealing your guest’s purses and dragging them under the bed and rifling through them.

If it’s shiny, your ferret will steal it and hid it some place. Owning a ferret is the only time I used the “I lost my keys so I can’t come to work” excuse. My version included the words, ‘My ferret dragged my keys off somewhere and I can’t find them.”

I grew up in the country. I thought it was normal for people to have a horse or two grazing in the back yard. One year I kept a turtle and several crayfish I “rescued” from their natural habitat in my kiddie pool. Side note, your grandmother doesn’t appreciate if you drop a crawfish on her back while she is gardening.

I love all sorts of animals or so I thought. I’ve stopped to let squirrels cross the road and regularly ooohed and aahhed over the cute little bunny in the neighbour’s yard.

Yeah, and then I stopped renting a house and bought one of my own. All of a sudden all those cute and cuddly wildlife turned into vicious vermin out to ruin my home and gardens.


I run a Motel 6 for bunnies.

Our neighbourhood boosts several homes with gardens much nicer than my pathetic attempt at botany. Do the rabbits hang out there? Oh no, apparently I’m running the rabbit equivalent to a Motel 6 for bunnies.

One rabbit checks in, seventeen checkout. Meanwhile, they take advantage of the all-you-can-eat buffet that is my flower garden. Just a note for any gardeners out there, there is no such thing as a rabbit resistant plant. I swear I put fake flowers out front and the rabbits ate them.

Couple this with the squirrel that dug up every single tulip bulb I planted last fall and you can see why I say no to wildlife.


I have a dog and three cats.

Yes, I have a dog and three cats. They are indoor animals the best they can do is glare out the window menacingly at the rabbit as he mows down my Siberian Iris.

In order to lull me into a false sense of security, the assorted rodents always wait before attacking my plants, perhaps waiting even a week or two before striking, you know, just as I am congratulating myself for outwitting them by planting behind a fence.

That’s right a fence. I am, apparently, hosting a family of ninja rabbits or they are working in cahoots with the squirrel and there is not a damn thing I can do about it.

As much as I hate them eating my plants, I can’t actively plot their demise. Which means the best I can do is wish upon a star that some misfortune befalls them.

So, I have to live with them. Feeling a tad like Rube Goldberg-that is too cheap to actually go out and buy a bigger fence, I use items I find in the garage or basement to create vermin blockers. I’ve also taken to buying two of every plant hoping the vermin will gorge themselves on one plant thus leaving the other for me.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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