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November 7, 2011

I’ve just been having a good time in the garden, despite the rain, collecting windfalls and harvesting the last of our tomatoes. Round here it appears  the done thing with manky windfalls  is to place them in a neat pile in a corner of the garden to rot quietly at their leisure. No problem as it provides a larder for the birds, mice, voles, rats et al well away from the house or anything else you’d rather they didn’t nibble.

My problem is that an opportunist rat has nested right by the pile. Actually problem isn’t the right word. It’s more of a decision than a problem. I would like to ignore the nest and let her raise her babies in peace. After all, if I hadn’t looked I wouldn’t know. On the other hand half a dozen or so babies will grow up to produce lots more rats. Which might be a problem for us later on.

However they would provide food for the owls nesting in the neighbour’s barn and other hungry wildlife I’ve seen around the garden, including the stone martins and the stoats.

Part of my problem is that I’m a moral coward about killing the babies. I can gear myself up to kill an adult rat though I’d prefer not to. Squeaky babies crying for their mother, frightened and cold are a different proposition as far as I’m concerned.

Last month when the bramble patch was being cleared, I let someone else kill some baby rats because, although I wanted to rescue them and set them up a new nest in the barn, I knew they ought to be killed quickly and I couldn’t do it myself. Which was really despicable. I allowed another person to act instead of me just because I anthropomorphised to that extent. So if anything is done to these rats I need to be the one responsible and not shuffle it off on anyone else.

Decision made. I’ll deal with lots of rats later. Procrastination or just wimping out?

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