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August 6, 2008
Three more bats

Russell uses a stick to flush a bat from its hiding place above the west wall

The first week in August is traditionally our churchís annual youth caravan trip. This year, our sons Cameron and Joss traveled to Oregon for a week of community-related services. This week is also traditionally an opportunity for Gail and Russell to spend an extended week up at our mountain house building site. Unfortunately, this year the schedule conflicted with Russellís work schedule. Nevertheless, we decided to go up for half a week.

We arrived on Saturday morning, August 2. Our goal was to continue work on the downstairs, installing more shutters, cleaning and painting walls (for mold and weather proofing), and wiring for electricity. Our electrician step-brother Jim would join us on Monday, then we would depart on Tuesday evening.

The weekend got off to a rousing start. While unpacking, Gail swore that she saw and felt something fly past her inside the house on the stairwell. We thought nothing more of it at that time.

Later that afternoon, Gail was on a ladder outside the house, spraying insulation foam into the crack between the wall and the ceiling on the west side. She suddenly let out a scream and leaped from the ladder. A bat, sleeping in that same crack, had suddenly popped its head out, angry at being awoken. Russell tried to get the bat out, but it re-hid itself out of sight.

The next morning, Russell investigated the spot again. As he suspected, the bat had re-settled itself into its accustomed sleeping spot. This time we were prepared. Using a long thin stick, Russell swept the length of the crack. The bat roused itself and flew off away from the house. Gail immediately sprayed the crack with insulation foam to prevent its return.

The bat in the west wall, above our first shutter

This series of events repeated itself an hour later, when Gail was spraying the north wall above the front door. A scream, a jump, and another bat. Russell with a stick and a bat flying off into the trees. Gail immediately spraying the crack to prevent a return.

The bat in the north wall, above the front door

Gail proceeded to spray every single crack she could find anywhere inside or outside of the house. We were concerned that we could be trapping bats inside of the house as well as outside of the house, but we didnít have a whole lot of choice.

Gail sprays insulation foam into the crack above the north wall

The fear became reality on Tuesday evening, as Gail and Jim sat down to watch television. Gail thought she heard something go ďthumpĒ somewhere in the house. She walked into the various bedrooms in the dark, but couldnít discern anything. It wasnít until she was walking back that she looked down and saw a bat lying on the floor of the hallway. (Itís a wonder she hadnít stepped on it.) It had apparently fallen from the ceiling, possibly weak from lack of food or an inability to get outside.

Loathe to take action at night, Gail and Jim covered the bat with a plastic bowl. The next morning they moved everything to the deck and lifted the bowl. The bat, apparently healthier than they feared, immediately flew off into the sky.

The third bat: it fell onto the upstairs hallway floor inside the house

As we have declared every time, we hope this is the last of the bats in the house. We continuously think we have sealed every opening, only to continuously discover additional openings and cracks. Fortunately, weíre slowly running out of places to seal.

On the plus side, we also got a lot of work done. Gail and Russell hung three more shutter boxes and rails (but not the actual shutter curtains). Gail and Jim continued to pull wire. And Gail herself continued to clean the downstairs floor and walls.

Overall we have made fewer trips to the mountain this summer, but we appear to be on track to meet our next inspection deadline in the fall.

We now have shutter boxes and rails installed on four walls


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