Thursday, August 14, 2008

I nailed it, and a bat story

We installed locally harvested and sawed pine flooring in two rooms on Sunday. We are fortunate to have a source for this flooring, which turned out to be cheaper than just about any other option, and very good looking as well.

In case you're wondering, they still do make square cut nails. If you need a source, you should be able to read the Web sites in the otherwise very traditional looking nail box above.

We went through two boxes of these nails on Sunday. Chris and I were the nailers, while The Hermit and Calvin sawed floorboards to the proper length. Since these were old fashioned nails we were using, there was no chance of using an automatic nailer to do the job. Every one of those ten pounds of nails had to be driven in by hand. I have the blisters and sore knees to prove it.

Here is Calvin's room, just a layer of floor finish away from moving in! I think the flooring has so much character, especially the rows of nails. I'll remember every one.

And here's an update on the exterior stain. It's coming along, and it's time for scaffolding to finish the rest.

We've been sleeping beneath that upper window for nearly a month now, on king sized air mattresses. It's been comfortable and restful, mostly, except for Sunday night. I was tired from seven hours of floor nailing, and after dinner I wanted to head straight to my bed in the loft. But as I settled in I noticed the fluttering of wings near the balcony. BAT!!! Great. I was tired, getting cranky, and I knew it would be difficult if not impossible to remove a bat from the house, and sleeping with a bat indoors was not an option. I ran to the backyard of the cabin to fetch a tennis racket, always a good bat weapon.

Alas, a tennis racket is no match for a bat in a house with a cathedral (or at least Minnesota Lutheran church) ceiling. There is too much high, open space. After fetching a second weapon, a twelve foot stepladder which at this point I have no idea HOW I managed to get in the house, The Hermit presented a third weapon: a long 1 x 6 board. The bat was perched high up on a window frame, and somehow I managed to pin it against the frame with the board. I pushed as hard as I could. I hope you realize, bad as I feel about it, there was no way I could get this creature removed from the house alive.

I felt a slight crunching, then somehow the bat managed to escape and fly across the house into the bedroom. The place we sleep. I saw it go down. Starflower and Mr. Attitude were in one bed, with the covers over their heads as I had frantically instructed them. I walked across to the bedroom, searched the floor for about five minutes, when I heard a scream from Starflower:

"It's HERE! In our bed!"

I looked, and sure enough there it was, not moving much but definitely in their bed. The tennis racket was within reach so I grabbed it, swept the bat onto the floor, and proceeded to crush the remaining life out of it. The Hermit took it away in a rag. It looked so small, so harmless. I felt bad for killing it, but I know they often carry rabies and I just can't abide with flying creatures in my sleeping space.

I'm done with my big project at work. I'll try to post the highlights tomorrow.


Erica said...

The house is looking great!! I love the color of the bedroom :)

And the bat, eeks. Bats are so cute, but so ummmmmmmm, creepy at the same time. We found on outside a while back and it sat there just screeching at us. Gives me shivers just thinking about it. We left it and it eventually flew off, i was worried the boys would try and pick it up and they would get bit. The rabies thing worries me also.

Jayne said...

Oh, my, well. We know he didn't mean anything by visiting, but like you said... he had to go. :c) I love the stain color even more!

Richard said...

Floor looks great. A lot of work but well worth it. I'll be curious as to how much shrinkage you will get in the next year.

Floridacracker said...

That floor is spectacular. You needed knee pads girl, they are wonderful for that job.

Love all the house progress pics.
The bat thing is tough, but ditto on the rabies risk ... all bats must stay outside.

Jim said...


Your place is looking so gorgeous!!!

I guess it's been awhile since I checked in...

I love the floors too!

I'll have to browse around a bit & see what I've been missing.



Deb said...

Erica- The color of the bedroom is, according to Calvin, "1976 Minnesota Twins Uniform Blue". I love it.

Jayne- Yes, poor unfortunate creature, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I'm thinking that stain will look really good against the snow in the winter.

Richard- The wood is kiln dried, in what used to be the Sandstone high school. So I don't expect too much shrinkage.

FC- I did put on a pair of knee pads, but it was too late, the damage was done.

Jim- Hey bud, great to hear from you! Thanks. Sleeping under that great roof is so peaceful. I'm headed out there now. :)

barefoot gardener said...

Sorry I am so late getting in on this one.....we also had our first bat at Barefoot Manor last weekend. Fun!

And in our house the are called "bat rackets". We don't play no tennis in this family, but we got plenty of them thar bat rackets hangin' around!

I, too, always feel bad when we have to kill a bat. If the stupid things would just be "shoo'd" like any sensible animal, we wouldn't have to hurt them. Mice? they are way smarter. They see someone coming with a broom and they make themselves scarce. At least for a while. Bats on the other hand seem to want to go to war with you, all swooping and diving and squealing.


Anyway, I really love, love, LOVE that floor. And the square nails? Perfect!

elise said...

YOu saved yourself a lot of money by getting rid of it yourself! My sister-in-law just sold her house and the final inspection revealed that two bats were living in her attic space. One estimate she got for removal was $1600 and involved a huge tent covering the entire house. EEK!

RuthieJ said...

Gosh Deb, I love the exterior stain color on your house--looks great with the blue roof!
The pinewood floor is gorgeous also.
I remember my dad with a tennis racket and me & the sibs hiding under the kitchen table till the bat was eliminated. Having to kill a bat is better than having to take the whole family for rabies shots!

GreenmanTim said...

Tremont Nails. Until recently made and manufactured in Wareham, Massachusetts, where our family place Windrock is. How I loved that old factory with its antique machinery, still going strong.

Deb said...

Barefoot- I think bats try to pay everyone a housewarming visit. I saw an article today online, I think it was the Star Tribune, about how this is the peak bat season, but at the end they said if you bring a bat in for testing, don't injure it too much, as in hit it with a tennis racket! AS IF there is any other way of getting a specimen for testing! I'm a biologist, and I'm shaking my head.

Elise- $1600? You can get a tennis racket cheap at a garage sale. :)

Ruthie- Thanks! Maybe you can see it in person on the way to next year's Sax Zim festival? :)

Tim- What? They moved their headquarters? Oh well, they are some damned nice nails. I tried not to leave too many hammer divots around them.