Thursday, November 19, 2009


A family in our block has been making some revisions to their house, and it seems that in the process they've stirred up the status quo: recently we've been seeing rats, and last night I heard and then saw two or three running along a ledge at the top of my bedroom wall. Alas! I changed bedrooms for the next few days as we try to figure out rat-discouraging strategies. Currently we have rat-annoying noise machines working in three rooms of the house. We're putting away all food with great care, and are going to try to purchase some steel wool to put on top of the ledge. We are delighted when the little wild yellow cat comes around.

Our neighbors have recommended poison and traps, but we are resisting. Rats, too, are part of creation and they've lived with humans for a very long time. We want to discourage them from making their home with us, as we've discouraged the bats who were here when we first moved in. We want that, in fact, very much!

But creatures, both the delightful and the disagreeable, are a part of life here. I am currently studying Spanish for a few hours each week at the Pajaro Flor school here, and today I visited my teacher Marta's home in the campo, where her father keeps his small herd of cattle. As well as 12 cattle, including the magnificent and very pregnant Brahma cow in the photo, Marta introduced me to their dog, her two puppies, a large group of chickens, and two shy cats. The farm includes a milpa, now growing maisillo (sorghum) and zacate (a tall grass) for winter feed, an orchard of banana and marañon (cashew) and mango trees. Green parrots fly among the trees. Roses bloom in November - Marta's holding some white roses in the photo above.

All this glory of life doesn't come without the odd rat. And we are creatures, too, Marta and Margaret Jane and I, part of the whole along with the little orange cat who is dancing on our roof right now - in pursuit, I hope, of the rats.

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