Hercules wanders around in the yard these days, not eating, occasionally soaking in his water dish, getting ready for his long sleep through the winter. I don't know where he goes to bury himself but he has made it through ten winters in this yard and I guess he knows what to do to survive.
My good deed for today was clearing out the leaves on the upside of my cottage so the rainwater will be able to drain away this winter.
It's very difficult to get into that spot next to the house and once I got down into the deep space I thought, Hmmmm, if I fell off my make-shift ladder no one would hear me if I was hurt. I have to haul this ladder between the house and the 6-foot retaining wall, lifting it up behind me once I'm on top of the wall, and across a space that is only inches wide, so if I fell once inside I wouldn't even be able to crawl out.
I climbed back up to the top, hauled the ladder around the narrow space, climbed back down into the front yard, went inside and got my cell phone, clipped it inside my shirt, climbed back up to the top of the wall, hauled the ladder back into the hole, climbed down and continued cleaning up the leaves.
And then I saw the decomposing rat. A really big rat. The base of the tail was as big around as a finger. It had split open and was fairly far gone but still had some odor. I worried about vagrant parasites, just waiting for another warm body. . .mine.
I climbed back up the ladder, hauled it back around to the yard, climbed down, went in the house for clean-up-the-dead-rat supplies.
Once I got that taken care of the rest was easy. No parasites, like mites, have bitten me. When I dropped the steel ladder into the hole it bounced and is now too far back to reach from the front yard. I'll worry about somehow hauling it out next year.
I took this picture by sticking my little camera out the kitchen window. That wall is over my head when I'm down in the trench.