Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

Not For The Squeamish

December 31, 2020 The last day of 2020! Good grief, what a year. Today, Jared Moulton arrived to do two things… first, we have been having trouble with one of the thermostats in the apartment, which was reading about 7 degrees higher than the actual temp in the room (meaning we were cold!). Turns out there was no insulation in the wall behind it, so it was “confused”. Luckily, in the chaos that is our construction zone of a house, there is plenty of building material laying about, so Jared grabbed a handful of insulation and stuffed it in behind the thermostat, screwed it back in, and voila! This is why we love Jared, he is a McGuyver kind of guy who has a creative approach to finding the cause of a problem and solving it simply, which is what we need around here!

Next up, replacing the vent pipe above the bathroom on the third floor of the main house. This plumbing has been in place, unused of course, for at least 10 years. This vent pipe had been leaking forever, and if you recall, several weeks ago Munch discovered that there was a hole in the joint of the PVC piping. Not exactly an emergency, so it was on Jared’s list and now we would get this fixed once and for all! Here he is cutting it out, taking it down and banging it on the floor to get the crap in the pipe out….

What is that stuff? It looked like rotten leaves, and wait, were those bones? And some kind of feathers or fur? (Of course, I take pictures of everything.) Jared thought maybe a bird had tried to nest in the pipe, (which obviously went out the roof), and gotten stuck… We were perplexed. What could have caused the hole? But it was obvious that the discolored water had been filtering through whatever this was, and leaking out whenever it rained heavily.

Finally, all fixed! Bob was ready to sweep up the detritus and throw out the pipe, but I asked him to save it in a bucket or pan, so I could perform some forensics after it dried out. Yeah, I know, I know, who would want to do that? Bob thought I was being weird. But as a teacher, and with a degree in Animal Science (as well as Art), I am always curious about the natural world. One of the favorite science lessons for 5th graders is dissecting owl pellets – after a meal, owls regurgitate the bones and fur in a densely packed “pellet” – the kids are equally fascinated and grossed out as they pick it apart to discover which prey their particular owl had for a snack!

Here are the results of my own experiment….

It was a squirrel. Everyone thought it had to have been a bird. While squirrels often go into small places, pipes and attics from rooftops, and it was believable that a squirrel could have gone down the pipe and gotten stuck, it was completely unbelievable that the squirrel could have actually chewed that large of a hole in a PVC pipe. This is the squeamish part… imagining how that squirrel must have struggled to chew that hole for days, probably stuck upside down, yet in the end the hole wasn’t big enough to escape and the squirrel expired, still stuck there. (Also squeamishly disgusting to visualize what happened after that, where for who knows how long, the aftereffects were dripping into our house.) In the end, we were lucky to find it out now instead of later! I guess. ūüôā

Happy New Year! Goodbye 2020!

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