So, as I mentioned in my last post, we still had a little critter left in the attic. Travis slept in yesterday, and so my repeated attempts to wake him up to stick the live trap in the attic were for naught. However, he got rudely awoken a couple of hours later because of his laziness, so I won't gloat too much. (ha, ha!)
About noon or so, I hear a racket in the kitchen again. I assumed it was Mr. Fister freaking out at the window at a squirrel outside (or a bird, or a bug, or a cloud, or anything else his crazy little kitty mind takes a shine to). When the noises continued for several minutes, I finally got up and went to see what the cat was doing. To my dismay, I discovered the noise was coming from the vent hood above our stove.
The people who built our house were definitely not the most competent builders. There are many other tales of WTFery we have discovered as we have been remodeling, but for now I will just relate this one quirk. Instead of venting the stove hood thing with a pipe going up through the roof, our's is just a hollow rectangular box of wood going up the wall from the hood and into the attic, where it ends flush with the attic floor. In essence, a large hole in the attic for anything to crawl down if it so chooses.
Well, apparently one of the squirrel babies made that choice unwisely. The box that forms the vent is smooth wood and about 3 inches deep by 6 or 7 inches wide. This meant that once our squirrel buddy (hereforth referred to as SB) fell down the hole, it was too big for him to crawl back up. So now he was inside our range hood, in the cavity above where the fan and light are. He continued to make a bunch of racket, and since I didn't know what to do, I just waited for the noise to wake Travis up. Did I mention that the range hood shares a wall with our bedroom? And the wall in question is where the headboard of our bed is currently placed? So I knew it would only be a matter of time before Travis would storm out, demanding what woke him up.
True to form, he appeared about two minutes later. Bleary-eyed and cranky, he grunted when I showed him the squirrel. You could see SB's little beady eyes if you looked through the slots above the switches to turn on the fan and light. To prevent any nasty unpleasantness, we had the foresight to unplug the hood.
Now, how to get the bugger out? I had an idea involving the cat carrier, which Travis scoffed at. Instead, his bright idea was to go in the attic with a 1x4 we had left over, and stick it down the hole in hopes SB would be able to climb up. Needless to say, this bright idea didn't really work out. SB was pretty exhausted at this point, what with falling down a hole into a metal box and weird things looking at him through slots in the box with a flashlight. He wasn't going anywhere.
Defeated, Travis slunk back down out of the attic (after sticking the trap back up there just in case), and mumbled something like "I guess we can try it your way." So we then proceeded to take the filter screen off the vent hood, exposing the fan. You could see SB's foot between the blades, but he wasn't making any effort to slide out between them. Our next step was to take the fan off. As you can imagine, we were a bit nervous that the second the fan was out of the way, he would dart down through the hole and off to wreak havoc in our house. So the second Travis removed the second bracket for the fan and pulled the blades out of the way, I moved the cat carrier under the hole with the door open.
Still no luck! SB could also stand for Stubborn Bastard in the case of this particular squirrel. He tried to make a break back up the vent box, and got stuck. Travis rushed back into the attic, this time with a more effective Poking Stick (tm). He made a bunch of noise and rattled the stick around in the box above SB, frightning the little guy half to death and making him retreat back down the box, at which point he fell in the cat carrier I had under the fan hole.
Success! I snapped the door closed, and took the little bugger outside. He was even smaller than the one we caught the other day. Very cute, but very pissed and protesting the indignity of being trapped in a cat carrier. I set him loose and he took off towards the water troughs.
The next hour was taken up with putting the vent hood back together, cleaning up the stove and counters and floor which had woodshavings and dust all over them, and so on. As we finished cleaning up, we hear the tell-tale scratching and frolicking of yet another squirrel in the attic. All we can do is look at each other and sigh.
It is like being in the movie Groundhog Day, only this time the rodents want revenge and there isn't a Bill Murray around to make it funny. At this point, we hope it is the last one, because they seem to be materializing out of nowhere. The mom and one of the babies were outside when we closed the hole up (because I saw them). Since then we have removed 2 squirrels, and there is at least one more up there.
Today, we heard more racket in the box for the stove hood, but it seems like this one learned from his sibling's mistakes and didn't fall down the vent (to our relief). If only he would get in that darned trap!