Caught a rat

This morning I caught a rat. We haven’t seen them for a long time, but yesterday I saw one in our winter garden* and set a trap.

Rats was one of the surprises that came with moving to Stockholm. I guess it comes with many people living “close to nature”, with lakes and forests and dumpsters. 

View from Kolmården over Bråviken. For the school winter holiday, we went on a trip to Kolmården — 100 km south of Stockholm — and stayed at a family friendly hotel with spas, pools, play rooms, and events for the kids. Still in the early days of the pandemic, the place was not as crowded as it could have been. Copyright Frederik Jensen.

We discovered their presence shortly after moving in and soon took our precautions. I sealed off entries into the house and under the house, I removed all bushes near the house, we keep the doors closed and the lawn short, we don’t leave food around outside and garbage goes into closed bins only. I also bought a trap and competed with the neighbours to get the most kills, at least those who still cared.

The autumn where they renovated the sewers under the house, the rats were running around in the play ground in broad daylight.

The last year or so has been quiet on the rat front though. So yesterday’s visit was a surprise. Some quick troubleshooting revealed the issue: My wife had left a bag with stale bread in a plastic bag in the winter garden. 

Because of the Holodomor*, Ukrainians never throw away food. In spite best effort, we still fail to consume what we buy from time to time before it is spoiled, and as we don’t have animals — at least some we want to keep around — we do sometimes end up with food waste. So we go feed the ducks in the lake with the kids every now and then. Yesterday we were overdue. Today we caught up.

Interesting times

As everyone else we are impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, trying to hit the right level of changed behaviour to stay safe while still carrying on living. Oskar’s party is postponed. My business trip to Denmark this coming week is off. Easter vacation in Denmark to open the summer house for the season is at minimum shortened.

A time of change is a time of opportunity. More time playing with the kids and to enjoy the spring. 

Take care, stay safe. Wash hands, cough in your sleeve, and don’t leave food around for the rats.

Notes

  • Winter garden. With four different languages around at home and after being confused about the Swedish term ‘uterum’ which both means outhouse and an unheated room in extension of a house, we decided to officially name the rooms in our house to at least be consistent. While we do keep flowers the room, it is maybe more aspirational to call it the winter garden, it’s mostly where we store boxes and garden furniture in the winter.
  • Holodomor. The great, man-made famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine. Millions died of starvation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor.