I Smell A Rat!

I hadn’t been home 24 hours from a 6-week trip before I was made aware of a country homeowner’s nightmare: the smell of a dead, rotting animal in the house. It happened about 6 months ago and turned out to be a disintegrating possum under the floor. I won’t tell you how much fun it was to remove this object. So this time I again donned my crawl-under-house coveralls, scarf and headlight and went under the house looking. I should add that I so wish I’d followed the Uniform Building Code requirement of 18″ crawl apace because I have to wiggle like a worm on my belly to attend to wiring, plumbing or dead animals under the floor. So here I am working my way to the area of the smell and wham! I’ve hit the 1/2″ copper pipe “t” to the kitchen sink and knocked it off and water is gushing out. Shit! I wiggle my way out, turn off the main water line, go back underneath, only to see it’s still dripping. Back out, turn off another valve, get my copper plumbing tools, propane torch, white bread to block water while soldering, big flashlight, wiggle in…there’s more, but just say I was ecstatic that the joint worked.

Now for the main problem: I couldn’t find anything under there, so went to the living room where the smell (getting worse) was strongest, and pried off wood trim so I could start removing the ceiling boards. When I got the first board off, here was a big rotting rat. Yahoo! Way better than if it had been in the middle of the ceiling — lord have mercy! I was thrilled, no kidding, Scrubbed off boards, swept up rat shit, vacuumed dust, burned incense, Hallelujah!

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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