Saturday, August 13, 2011


J escaped to Rome for two days with the kids. Or maybe just to get away from Nutria Central. On the day of his expected return, we exchanged some emails on this all-consuming subject.

(Moi to J, visiting our son and daughter-in-law in Rome):
Farmer G came on his own an hour ago and we toured the property and found a few more spots where the nutria found a way in. One spot was alongside the fig tree near the pool. Even though they had to climb to get up to it, there are ledges that come up from the neighbor's oliveto that made it possible.

There was another possible entry point behind the low stone wall below the newer staircase. On the steep hillside, where there are two levels of fencing, there was an opening.

Needless to say we blocked those, as well as the ones you found. The temporary fence by the water controls is a point of vulnerability, but Farmer G is awaiting the architect’s instructions before doing anything more than these rock-block measures.

He also found another of the dangerous wasp nests, so we need to up our supply of that effective anti-vespe product. I will wait for someone else to be here before using that. It will be important to have enough spray to do a complete job--not merely enough to get them angry. It also seems like a good idea to have someone here who can call the ambulance.

Farmer G agreed that it is not a good idea for you to dump their scooped-up poop anywhere here because it is like marking "their" property.

I hope that Roma will be a welcome change of air for you during which you do NOT need to think about nutria.

(Trying to change the subject,I bubbleJ
I had the time of my life today working on my falce (scything) skills! I think I am catching onto it, and it may become my new addiction.

J to me:
Thanks for the update. U suggests that with your new scything skills you can take care of the nutria. What's the report this morning?. It's good that Farmer G found several spots to close. Hopefully we can get this sealed. U says if we haven't solved it by the time she comes she's ready to stay up all night and shoot them!  

We'll deal w the wasps when  I get home. Ain't Nature a wonder?--J

Moi:U, our sharpshooting daughter-in-law on the case? Maybe with her bow and arrow?  That's the best nutria-related news I have heard all day!

 More Helpful hints from hubby, away on his little Roman holiday, and some "homework assignments" for me:

U had a good idea. She thinks that maybe the nutria like our pool because it's the only one with steps which makes it possible to climb out. A pool with just a ladder like our neighbors' would be impossible. 

If we could cover our pool steps with a big board or with fencing, that might well discourage them. 

Does Farmer G have a big enough board to try this?  Or could you ask him where we could buy one ?

Can you measure the section of the pool with the steps? How wide, how long (just to the bottom step)?

Moi to J:
Subject: The Hairy Invaders

That is an interesting thought. We can measure when you get back, no?

Farmer G has family visitors today, so I have been reluctant to call. He said he would be busy for the next two days, but that he would come to controllare while we are away. I can't believe he won't stop by before then to see what's up.

(This next bit of news has a loose association with all the pooping going on in and around your pool, but here goes.)

Moi to J:
I have good news and bad news about your bathroom. Although the door works well now in terms of maintaining your privacy, you won't be doing too much in there that requires privacy until you get a new toilet seat. Yours is guasto.

Moi to J, N, and U in Rome
Ciao, tutti,
I was trying to give you all a time-out on the nutria developments, but since you asked...


Having seen no evidence of nutria poop from the upstairs window, I was cautiously congratulating myself and Farmer G on our most recent efforts to keep the intruders out.

Then I go down to the pool where there are, at first, no little excremental "presents" visible. Yippee? Not so fast, as there is plenty of floating (and sunken) evidence of recent nutria bowel activity. Bummer!

So I start to skim the pool, when who should pop out from behind the wall, Signore GIANT Nutria, himself, still fresh from his 9AM bath. When he sees me, he beats a quick retreat to behind a big rosemary bush, and seems to stay there.

Now what? I am thinking lots of things--none very useful: if he's trapped inside our citadel, how is he going to get out? And how long would I have to stand there to keep watch?

If I tried to catch him in the skimmer (currently disconnected from its pole and not sure how fast I could figure out how to attach it, if ever), would the net get destroyed in the process? And then we'd miss all the fun of skimming nutria excrement out of the pool.

Then I think, what do I do when over my head in deep doodoo? Do I call our brilliant architect friend, D (currently floating on crystalline waters far nicer than those of our pool), or Farmer G. The answer was obvious, but I needed to go inside and get my phone.

I also decide to bring what the ads said was an ear-piercing survivor whistle that would allow rescuers to find me in an avalanche, and which I had not yet had occasion to test. I went up to the bush and let'er rip, and it was, indeed, plenty loud. It was clear that during the time I went into the house, Signore Nutria had gone elsewhere. But where?

There's the rub. I started to think that maybe he had a little pied-a-terre INSIDE our now well-defended property. This is not a comforting thought...

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