Old houses creak and make noises. Old houses in the country seem super quaint and peaceful during the day, but at night, make you think you're living in a freaking horror movie. The amount of actual sleep I've had in the past 3 weeks is less than what I had when my babies were newborns. On top of the creaks and rattles and unfamiliar tree branches-scraping-on-roof noises, turns out we also have an abundance of wildlife living both inside and right outside our house.
Inside we've had bats, snakes, frogs, toads, geckos, lizards, mice, huntsman spiders and alien-sized cockroaches to name but a few. Real witches brew stuff. Outside - or more aptly, not inside yet - there's possums fighting on the roof, nocturnal birds carrying on, bellowing cattle and neighbours dogs going off in the distance at god knows what. Some of these I can live with, but others, I'm struggling to come to terms with. When I named this blog a few months back, it was MEANT to be more of a metaphor for striving towards a life that has more meaning and more connection with the earth. I didn't realise that we would literally be sharing a house with wild things that not only grow, but fly, jump, screech and eat each other. While I'm trying to sleep.
Think I'm exaggerating? Here's a few of our house mates...
A couple of nights ago, just as I was about to drift off, I heard knocking on the back door. My eyes jolted wide awake and I lay there, frozen. I heard it again. My brain instantly jumped to the most logical conclusion - that being that the house was haunted and I froze, motionless in my bed. Cos, you know, ghosts are less likely to get you if you keep still. Then my mind started to drift to another likely probability that a snake had slithered in under the door, eaten the cat or worse still, one of the children and was knocking the door as it tried to get out with a big bulging belly. Believe it or not, this kind of thing has actually happened several times around the world. Google it. So, driven by a desire to protect the remaining children and/or cat, I forced myself to get up and investigate.
I've started sleeping with the lights on in the living room due to aforementioned scary noises so as I opened my bedroom door I saw instantly that the cat, who no longer goes on the floor since massive-guinea-pig-eating-snake episode, was still alive and well, albeit somewhat freaked out, on the table. I checked the children were all still in their beds and then heard the knocking on the back door again. It was coming from down low.
There's two back doors along the same wall that lead to the back entryway and the sound was coming from the door off the lounge room. Apprehensively, I tip-toed towards the other door off the kitchen and slowly slid it open. My sleep deprived imagination was now conjuring up images of small goblins poised on the other side of door preparing to ambush. So it was a surprise to find the cause of the noise was in fact, six great big cane toads jumping up to catch the moths that were trying to get in to the light through the cracks in the door. Thats right. There are toads IN my house.
Now as disgusting as this is, I felt very relieved that it wasn't a) a ghost, b) a snake or c) a troll. It also got me to consider that perhaps the last time I was convinced my house was haunted back in 2014, the time that I went so far as to having the house blessed was maybe, possibly, not ghosts either. But still, there's toads in my house and this is not cool.
So, no longer feeling the need to call in the pastor - which, mind you, would have been a lot easier as apparently ghosts, unlike toads will leave at the mention of Jesus' name - we are now on a mission to make our home less appealing to the wildlife.
First up, we had Edward from Sarina Pest Control come in and take care of the cockroaches in the house and termites in the sheds. We had to wait 3 weeks before he could get to us and I've never been as excited to see a man other than my husband as I was to see Edward. The house was literally teeming with roaches and even though I'm not a fan of either chemicals or killing things, something had to be done. On a side note, all the cockroaches reminded me of a girl that I worked with in high school and I told Jamie how she told me that her and her friends used to smoke them! True story. Jamie stared at me like he does when he realises how sheltered a life I've led, raised an eyebrow and said 'Roaches?' before he shook his head and walked away.
Anyway, Edward told us that cane toads eat cockroaches so that would be why the toads keep coming in. The good news is Edward got up in the ceiling and under the floorboards and said there aren't presently any snakes, mice or rats living above or below us.
By the way, have you ever smelled toad poo? Until a couple of weeks ago, I had somehow managed to avoid even contemplating such a smell. That was until Oliver stood on one in the bathroom and we all nearly DIED. It is the most god-awful thing we have ever smelled. It's like a noxious mixture of rotting meat, poison and dog poo all rolled up into one tiny, little, unsuspecting package. We've since discovered, they only smell if they are squashed or, worse still vacuumed up by mistake. Even after changing the bag and thoroughly cleaning the vacuum cleaner, every time I turn it on now, the smell of death lingers in the air and the children run away in disgust. New vacuum cleaner is on the list. Until then, I can guarantee some 'me' time by switching on the vacuum cleaner.
Back to the problem at hand though...just how do all these creatures get in the house in the first place? Why, through our back 'security' door!
So, our next mission is to replace the back grill with solid doors so that nothing can get in when the house is closed up. At the moment I'm putting up a knee high barrier so the toads can't jump in, but I'm still super paranoid about snakes eating the children and I'd prefer it if there weren't bats flying around our heads while we watch TV so I want to get this happening soon.
After we've painted all the windows (hopefully before next summer) we will also put screens on. Less insects means less geckos and frogs which means less snakes which means I will be able to sleep through the night again. It's going to be a long year. So friends, if you see me in the next few months and notice I've aged heaps, now you know why.