Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vermin Not Invited


Never in Alberta.

I love Alberta.
It's beautiful.
Wide, grassy prairies.
High, majestic mountains.
Blue skies.
Clear air.
Perfect.
Okay, I know that it gets cold in Alberta.
And yes, -40 is not uncommon.
But, probably because of the extreme temperatures, Alberta is missing a couple of very important things.
And I'm not complaining.
1. Alberta is the only place on earth that has no rats.
None. They are stopped at the borders, asked to produce a current passport, then turned away.
Let's face it, have you ever seen a rat with any passport, let alone a current one?
There is even a designated rat un-welcome committee stationed at every border.
An effective one.
Equipped with guns and traps.
And lots of cheese.
I don't know about you, but that would certainly indicate to me that I wasn't wanted.
Moving on . . .
So . . . no rats.
2. Alberta also has no big bugs.
Okay, we have bugs.
Just not big ones.
I've seen the pictures of people holding cockroaches that reach to their elbows and spiders that could easily carry off small children.
I know what big bugs look like.
And we don't have them.
That makes me happy.
We know how blessed we are.
Case in point:
Our son was preparing to go out to milk.
It was cold.
Alberta cold.
He was layering up at the back door.
Long johns.
Jeans.
Cotton socks.
Wool socks over cotton ones.
Heavy shirt.
Sweater.
Jacket.
Scarf.
Heavy coat.
Touque. (Warm Canadian winter hat)
Gloves.
Mittens.
Boots.
Yep. In Canada, we pretty much invented layering.
And going outside isn't something you do at the spur of the moment.
It takes thought.
And time.
I was preparing breakfast and I could hear my son moving around at the back door.
And mumbling to himself.
I dried my hands and walked over to him.
What I heard was, " . . . cockroaches."
I moved closer.
"We don't get cockroaches," he said.
As he pulled on one sock.
"We don't get cockroaches."
Second sock.
"We don't get cockroches."
Shirt.
"We don't get cockroaches."
Jacket.
And so it went.
The same refrain with each and every layer.
Psyching himself up to open that door and get the blast of cold air in the face.
We live in Alberta.
It is beautiful.
And cold.
But we don't have rats.
Or get big bugs.
Sometimes it takes the one to appreciate the other.

18 comments:

  1. Oh boy! Thats huge!!!
    I saw one once almost as big in Miami. I thought it was gorgeous until I found out what it was. lol
    The one I saw had golden wings. I sure do not like these kind of bugs lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh! I'm definitely NOT a bug person! I've only seen them in the 'bug room' at our local Provincial Museum. And that was close enough for me!

      Delete
  2. There are pluses and minuses to everything I guess but when the minuses come in celcius that's when it gets nasty,.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh yes, I definitely agree! We can't have it all, can we? :) Thankfully we don't have cockroaches either. Not all parts of Arizona have them. I'm in one of those places. But we do have a few tarantulas and massive centipedes during our monsoon season from July to September. I REALLY hate the centipedes! I've seen some of them as big as a foot long... yuck! And unfortunately we have rats... I hate those too! I don't know if I'm willing to trade for your cold though. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh! Centipedes! Here's where I confess that I've never seen a rat outside of a pet shop. Even when we've traveled. I don't know how I'd do . . . I kind of like the cold. When I'm not out in it!!!

      Delete
  4. So, that's what happens to dirty rats at the border. Need to keep that in mind...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No dirty rats allowed here. The Rat Patrol (real people) will get them! It's quite a job. And a rat sighting is a big thing. It's like calling in the SWAT team. Literally.

      Delete
  5. -40 below? Yikes. Can you guys even play hockey in that weather?

    Here it's 40 C and we have plenty of rats and big bugs. Reading this in my air-conditioned room gave me the chills. Wait, do you use air-conditioning at all?

    They have roaches that fly here, kind of like C-130 aircraft size. One night I was watching a flick on the boob tube and had dozed, when all of a sudden an aforementioned C-130 stike roach dove on my eye.

    Needless to say I awakened abruptly and in an immediate foul mood. Yes, I am going to have to visit Alberta and enjoy the weather sans bugs and rats. At least I can sleep there without attacks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Jeremy! Welcome! Yep. The tough are quite proud of being able to play hockey in -40. Me, I'm quite happy to watch it on TV. From a warm living room. We do use air conditioning. For about two weeks in the summer. For about two months on either side of those two weeks, we use the heat in the morning and air conditioning for a short time in the afternoon. Until evening, when the heat comes on again. Crazy Alberta. But we don't get cockroaches . . .

      Delete
  6. HAhaha! I wonder if there's anywhere in the world where you get BOTH??!! Downunder here in OZ you pay a high price for paradise - marine stingers, green (stinging) ants, even stinging trees! That's if you can find them amongst the deadly snakes and crocodiles ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I don't know what any of those are, but they sound dangerous. And distinctly unfriendly. When I come to visit OZ, I'll remember my boots. And my body guard. (A cute, handsome man named Grant. You might have met him . . .)

      Delete
  7. Alberta sounds wonderful! I love that you frisk the rats and won't allow them to cross the border. And you almost sold me on the no big bugs. But the cold. I lived in Idaho for a while. One winter it didn't get above 0 and we had to keep our taps trickling with water so the pipes wouldn't freeze. I don't miss that. However, I might brave it again if there was the promise of no big bugs or rats. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I SO remember the trickling taps! After months of the sound of trickling water, I would get so I couldn't sleep without it! Come up in the summer. It's warmer (comparatively) and the only bugs you have to deal with are mosquitoes. (And they usually die out after July). But I do guarantee no big bugs and definitely no rats!

      Delete
  8. Same for Minnesota. :-) While I'm sure there are rats somewhere, there are no big bugs, and I think I speak for the entire state when I shout "AMEN"!!

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I would feel at home in Minnesota. Lots of snow. Blistering cold. And no big bugs or rats. Yep. We're kindred states . . . or provinces . . . or something . . .

      Delete
  9. Diane, Alberta's lack of bugs and rats is reason enough for me to want to move there and sustain the 40 below weather! I lived in the Caribbean for many years and trust me when I tell you I've seen cockroaches that resemble the protagonist of Franz Kafka's, "The Metamorphosis"! Shudder! And the rats! At night we used to spy them running across the electrical wiring that was strung on the poles. I'm so glad those days are over! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess I was born in the right place. I have a difficult time with bugs! and big one. Just shoot me now. We have wonderful summers, so the -40 weather we get occasionally is so worth it!

      Delete

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