Losing Cook Dollar Barn was one of the worst experiences we have lived through. It wasn’t just a store; it was an important social hub for the Pajari Girls, and our little town, too. Every day, the list of people and things we miss gets longer. And when people told us that there must be something even better around the corner, we KNEW they were lying.
Now, we are headed back. Back in “A“ Barn, if not “The Barn”.
So here’s the scoop: barring zoning, insurance or licensing issues, Her Highness The Queen of Poo (Lois) is hoping to open the Peterson family homestead as a petting farm/ event location this summer! Can we get a whoop whoop??
I hereby invoke the right of Artistic License and also include what I THINK when I look out this window. I left it pretty much the way it came out of my head…stream-of-conscious style. I included links so that if you fall behind, you can click to get the rest of the story.
Big Guy plowing. which means, since I don’t pay him for this service, I will hafta have my sister sleep with him. Good thing they’re married. This pimping out my sister barter system has worked great for me AND him for years. He fixes my brakes, and I say, “Thanks! I’ll have my sister sleep with you!” He delivers dirt for my garden, I say, “Thanks! I’ll have my sister sleep with you!” You get the idea. Like I said, it worked great….until she had our friend The Electrician on Retainer wire in the tanning bed in the basement of The Barn. She said, “Great, thanks! I’ll have my sister sleep with you!” Poooooor Stewart. We both turned a few shades of purple and I said, “That’s not fair!! I’m not married to him!!” and I have since been thinking of alternate barter items. No, I haven’t paid up–and have since met Mr. Wonderful. Looks like Lois will need to break out the checkbook. Sorry… dollar!
What you are about to read is a true story. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Okay… I could. But I didn’t.
After an un-Minnesota-like (no snow or rain), pleasant evening of trick-or-treating, The Boy and I hurried home to light our Jack-O-Lanterns and relax a little. The Barn was crazy busy the last few days with people getting ready for Halloween, and I was pooped. As I came back into the house, talking to my boyfriend on the phone, Danny came running out of the living room, Wii remote in hand.
“Mom!!!! There’s a BAT in the house!!” I thought he was kidding. Any self-respecting bat should be hunkered down for the sub-zero temperatures that are on the way. And I have a few fake bats hanging around as Halloween decorations; maybe that’s what he saw. Just then a flying rodent swooped past my big purple witch hat.
“Holyshitgottagoloveyabye!” I told Paul.
I’m pretty sure he replied, “Holy Criminy!” because I talk enough like a trucker for both of us.
Everything I know about bats flashed through my mind. Later, while researching this post, I found a short, sweet article by the MN DNR about Living with Bats. My favorite line is: “Actually, bats are proficient flyers and can easily catch insects while avoiding people.” Good to know. Very reassuring. It’s one thing to know this intellectually, and another to remember it while one is flying around one’s house while the cat and the kid are freakin’ out. On Halloween.
Yes, I know bats make Minnesota summers less miserable by eating billions of mosquitoes, don’t want to suck my blood, won’t get caught in my hair or big purple witch hat, rarely have rabies, that they are a valuable part of the ecosystem, blah blah blah. That’s why we don’t shoot or otherwise try to kill them on sight.
I also found an informative WordPress blog written by MN Wild Animal Management, a company from The Cities (aka Mpls/St. Paul if you are not from the Midwest). Please read this BEFORE you have a bat in your house. They gave great advice, but were too far away to remove this particular bat.
“If you do encounter a bat flying in a room, follow this procedure:
Shut all doors leading into other rooms to confine the bat to as small an area as possible.
Open all windows and doors leading outside to give the bat a chance to escape. (Don’t worry about other bats flying in from the outside.)
Remove pets from the room, leave the lights on, stand quietly against a wall or door, and watch the bat until it leaves.
Do not try to herd the bat toward a window. Just allow it to calmly get its bearings, and don’t worry about it swooping at you. When indoors, a bat makes steep, banking turns, so it flies upwards as it approaches a wall and swoops lower near the center of the room. Within ten to fifteen minutes the bat should settle down, locate the open door or window, and fly out of the room.”
The Pajarigirl Procedure for Bat Removal, however, went a little differently…
Snag cat as he races by after bat.
Toss cat gently into bathroom and close the door.
Tell boy to join the cat in the bathroom.
Catch cat again when it escapes through open bathroom door.
Wait for bat to fly back out of bathroom.
Reassure child that even though it’s Halloween, this is not a vampire bat.
Toss cat and boy into bathroom and slam the door.
Open both outside doors, and wait for bat to come out of boy’s room.
While standing in doorway to living room, don’t duck, and explain to bat that you are not that kind of witch; he needs to leave, there’s the door. Use big purple witch hat to block entrance to living room and encourage exit through kitchen door.
After bat escapes, shut both outside doors before letting cat and kid out of bathroom.
I had assumed that since we have had snow on the ground, the bats were hibernating. Looking back, I should have known better. The Guinea Monsters From Hell are still finding plenty to eat, very close to my house. Bats and Guinea Hens both eat bugs, and even though the nights have been cold, and I haven’t had a mosquito bite in weeks, there are still enough bugs around to keep their predators alive. I even killed a mosquito a few days ago while brushing snow off the Jack-O-Lanterns. Point taken, Mother Nature.
Poultry scares the living crap outta me. Too many negative experiences with geese, turkeys, roosters, and chickens as a child, I guess. (Did you know that chickens are the closest living relative to the T-Rex???) It’s not that an angry Charolais mama cow or a Belgian draft horse in training aren’t unnerving…but they can’t FLY. They don’t have creepy, naked, talon-y feet and BEAKS. They are too big to really sneak up on a girl.
My sister the Shrew tried to adopt two 3 year-old guinea hens from our friend Jacqueline in August. Or maybe one is a hen and one’s a rooster…whatever. That lasted all of about 15 minutes. In her defense, she thought they were properly contained, and Jai, the Ginormous White Slobbering Dog created a diversion by running off into the woods. While BigGuy (Shrew’s husband), the Shrew, Danny Boy and I were running/driving around the neighborhood looking for Jai, GusGus (Walli the Corgi’s little brother) evicted them from the barn.
After a night or two we were pretty sure a fox, coyote, wolf or logging truck had done them in. I was relieved, to say the least. Birds are FOOD, not friends. Then neighbor Elsie called Lois to ask if she was missing some funny-looking, big, gray and white birds. Neighbors always call Lois when strange creatures appear at their homes. (Itchy the pony was under Barb’s deck once, and the big horses went to Cook for coffee years ago.)
Lois rounded up a posse of friends and their children, complete with a roll of netting and landing nets. After a good bit of whining, I went to observe only. I had a gun, just in case, but didn’t really want to shoot the birds in front of other people’s children.
It ended up being a moot point; Guineas are like the Harrier aircraft we saw at the airshow this year– they can take off straight up. And then they blend like ninjas into the northern MN swamp. I was pretty sure they would make their way to my house, to eat me in my sleep.
Over the next few weeks, they were spotted at three other neighbors’ houses. All attempts at capture were futile. At one point, Lois & Co. even tried guns and mirrors (Guineas are notoriously vain). She briefly had them back at the Funny Farm, locked in a horse trailer, hoping they would learn The Farm was now home. No good; they were back at Lori and Steve’s not a week later.
Just when I was hoping Mother Nature had disposed of them for me, I got a Facebook message from yet ANOTHER neighbor. We tried to give her the fowl for her birthday, but she didn’t buy it. Smart woman.
As soon as the neighbors saw that we would shoot them if we had to, to make the neighborhood safe, they decided the Guinea Fowl weren’t so bad. “What’s a little bird poo, weird noises, roosting on vehicles, and feathers compared to the benefits of the birds?” they asked. So they eat ticks. Yay. Ticks are gross, and deer ticks spread Lyme’s Disease. Eat ’em all, I say, but stay away from my house. I will spray us all with DEET instead. And keep the lawn mowed. Maybe even build a moat.
Why did the Guinea Monsters cross the road? Apparently Neighbor Carol feeds them and they like the company of her chickens. She LIKES them. Thinks they are cute, even. They come when she calls. I think we were all pretty ok with Prickles and Eggo (yes, Lois let Anthony name them-makes it even harder to shoot them.) living out their creepy birdy lives across the road.
But they like to roam.
What is GF Peaches looking at? Guinea Monsters in my Great Aunt Emily’s Rugosa roses. IN. MY. FRONT. YARD.
There is one other redeeming quality that has kept them alive thus far: they run like hell from me. Even when I’m not actually chasing them.
Today, however, I see that they dug up the sage I planted.
I know, I know, they didn’t actually damage the plant-they were just looking for bugs. But still. Poultry. Right next to my house. Sort of messing with my plants.
I wonder how long they would need to be in the slow-cooker to get rid of the gamey taste…
Very nice, informative article here. They really are great for gardening, if you can get over the whole bird thing. Feel free to post recipes, if not.