Tuesday, October 12, 2010


It's not (just) a house, it's a home! and it's supposed to be just for people (and their pets).

But up in the eaves there are invaders who take advantage of the habitations provided by the cavities between rows of Spanish tiles. Mostly rats, I think, based on certain evidence they leave behind. The cavities run up the roof from eave to ridge...warm, dry and dark...with an occasional random passage into the attic space via a knothole or gap in the wood roof sheathing below the tile. These intruders leap from nearby tree branches onto the roof, bringing the nuts and seeds from the trees with them. Then, in the shelter of the eave, they snack, leaving the husks and other detritus to accumulate, eventually clogging up the entire space. Their calling cards litter the patio below, a fresh supply every morning.

After trimming the trees back (an annual task), I set up a scaffolding and delivered the eviction notices.

Scrapping out the bulk of debris with a long stick, and then vacuuming out whatever I could that remained, I made my way around the perimeter of the house. I don't know if or when this was done before, but the house is 90 years old. There was a lot of material up there!

Below, a closeup of one of the "cells" after scrapping and prior to vacuuming:

After cleaning, I insert a square of galvanized hardware screen, stuffed into the irregular shape with a small stick,

and fix it in place with a squirt or two of silicone to discourage its easy removal. I used this screening rather than some solid material so as to allow for ventilation.

From the ground, these screens are hardly noticable, and hopefully the droppings on the patio will be a thing of the past. Now the squatters will no longer be able to get in there...on the other hand, anyone still in there won't be able to get out either! I'll be dealing with that in a future blog entry.

It was a dirty, nasty project, and I was loathe to undertake it. But later that afternoon, when it was finished and everything was cleaned up and put away, I had a very satisfying sense of accomplishment. Difficult and challenging jobs can sometimes be avoided and put off, but taking them on and discharging them brings a much more rewarding feeling and knowledge that you've done a good thing.

Of course, I had a lovely scene at my back while I worked...

1 comment:

abby jenkins said...

ew what a horrific chore! We have to crawl, by we I mean my husband, under our house - no foundation, 18" clearance over dirt floor and remove dead opossums about twice a year. I like your idea of the screening to keep them out. Thanks for the tip!