Evicting Our Tenants

Oh yeah, some rats made a nest in the chicken shed. So this weekend we dealt with it.

The rat nest

There's the rat nest, nicely concealed in the wall behind a bucket. I was in the shed a few weeks ago and noticed both signs of animals and the smell, so it was really just a matter of finding it. (The water there is from temporarily disconnecting the hose, nothing super gross.) You can see they gnawed the gap between the studs a little wider to fit in.

The first part of the process was taking everything out of the shed, shopvac'ing up the poops, and spraying cleaner around to help clear up the smell. It was lots of fun. Not 100 percent effective, but this is a shed, not our house so it's not a deal killer. We have some plans to make some minor upgrades to the shed in the future, as well.

The open eaves

When we built the shed we left the eaves open out of sheer laziness. It would have been fine except that when we later added the roof to the chicken yard, we basically built a bridge into the shed. And some critters took that bridge.

So our task was basically to block off the eaves to keep everybody out.

Cutting hardware cloth to size

I cut hardware cloth to size while Noel installed it between the joists. (That's the rat equivalent of changing the locks; if they are determined they could still get in, but there are probably better options for them.)

The cleaned out loft

Part of this escapade involved a deep cleaning of the shed, so I took the opportunity to get rid of a bunch of stuff I didn't need. We completely emptied the loft, which had been fully of tomato cages.

Tomato cages at the curb

I love tomatoes, and I like growing them, but we are all in on this Labrador thing and it turns out that nobody loves tomatoes like a Labrador, so I have given up on growing them at home. Fortunately, we are also members of a great CSA (Eatwell Farm) where they throw several tomato sauce parties where we can make our fill of sauce and canned tomatoes, with apparently very little predation from fat housepets.

So tomato cages are no longer necessary, and they can move on to live with somebody else. In the meantime, now we have an empty loft if we need to store something outside. I may put some of my large-sized plant pots up there, since they are always in the way in the basement.

Cleaned up chicken yard

While Noel was attaching the hardware cloth, I raked up the chicken yard. The neighbors behind us throw their kitchen scraps to the chickens, which is great fun for the chickens and good supplemental food for them, but the remains of that can get kind of messy, so I like to go in and rake it up every now and then. I recently pulled a bunch of things out of the yard that were just cluttering the place up, and it looks pretty nice all raked clean and not so full of junk.

I'd already gone out and dug the dirt they kick up around the threshold of the yard away so the doors will open freely.

So a little bit of spiffing up of the yard today, as well.

In other news, I announced this on Facebook already, but on Tuesday I submitted our renovation plans to the Planning desk at the city for approval. That gives me about 30 days to get all the details we need for the building permit drawn up. The process for this kind of work is to get planning approval (with drawings showing the planning aspects of the work) and then building approval (with drawings showing the construction aspects of the work). In some cities this is done in one submittal, but not in Alameda.

posted by ayse on 03/01/15

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