Downstairs Neighbors

Last night, Snowball and her mom and I were having a nice, quiet Friday evening pizza dinner at the Homestead. We were enjoying our customary routine of guessing the puzzles on Wheel of Fortune and looking forward to watching baseball, Royals or Cubs, afterwards. Suddenly there was a knock that sounded just like someone at the front door except it was coming from the floor!

But wait you say, didn’t you tell us the Homestead is a one story ranch house on a concrete slab without even a basement? If someone is knocking on the floor, that sounds like an apartment building! Well, the downstairs neighbors seem to be living, at least part time, under the recently built – with open space underneath – sun room.

The entrance to the underground world of the woodchuck.

You have to understand that most of the properties around the Homestead are on very large lots including ours which is almost a half acre. It doesn’t seem large (unless you are pushing a mower) but there is a huge garden and some wild space that doesn’t get a lot of bipedal traffic. So its a good environment for small creatures that fly or crawl or tunnel. In fact last June we had a crew of young men clearing part of the area for a fruit orchard and they claimed they came under attack by large woodchucks. I’m sure one or more of those creatures are what has tunneled under the sun room.

If there is a knock from the floor, knock back.

Now remember that Jacques the Yorky-poo barks at anything that goes near the front door or even looks like it might be able to form the idea of moving near any door. So this knocking from this unexpected direction set him off like a jetty full of sea lions at low tide. The good news is the ruckus from the dog scared whatever it was and the knocking stopped. The bad news is it took more than a few minutes to get Jacques settled again. We probably could have gotten the dog quieted quicker if Snowball hadn’t taken the opportunity to have some fun and get on the floor to knock back.

The event last night was not the first time this knocking sound has been heard. It’s been an occasional happening since spring so last month Snowball and her brother completely enclosed the area under the sun room and adjoining deck. But they only went to ground level so its no problem for a tunneler to get in there. What I wonder is what is driving them to go there? And what will it take to drive them back out for good?