Here’s another interesting part of The Code:

Sec. 34-289.  Accumulations of lumber, boxes and other materials.

It is unlawful and declared a nuisance for any owner, occupant, tenant or lessee of any premises, improved or unimproved, on which evidence of rat infestation is found, or on any lots or alleys adjacent to such property, to permit accumulation of any lumber, boxes, barrels, bricks, stones or any other character of materials that may be used as a harborage for rats, rodents or other vermin, unless such materials shall be placed on open racks and elevated not less than 18 inches above the ground, with a clear intervening space underneath.

Apparently, the Farmers Branch City Council really enjoys what they write for ordinances, since  you can find many  instances of the same information in different areas of The Code – just worded slightly different. I guess they do that in case we didn’t hear them the first time. How thoughtful. Not very professional, but thoughtful.

For example, in another section of The Code you will find:

Accumulations of firewood, lumber, boxes and other materials.  Any lumber, boxes, barrels, bricks, stones or any other character of materials which may be used as a harborage by rats, rodents or other vermin, or in which evidence of rats, rodents or other vermin is found, shall be placed on open racks and elevated not less than 18 inches above the ground, with a clear intervening space underneath. 

I’m going to guess that the idea is to discourage Rats, Rodents, or Other Vermin from nesting in, well, just about anything, since Farmers Branch dearly loves to use the term “other” when they can’t think of all the stuff that people may have stored in their yards, and they want to cover all their bases with the “Thou Shalt Nots”.

Then again, the way this reads, it could very well be interpreted to say that if you find Rats, Rodents, and Other Vermin in your stuff you need to make it higher for them. That could save those critters from being flooded out of their homes, and thus be Pro-Rat, Vermin, or Other Rodent. I am not a Rat, Rodent, or Other Vermin expert, and it does seem that the City is very obsessed with Rats, Rodents, and Other Vermin, as they are obviously so well-versed in Rat-isms. So maybe this whole ordinance is created in order to make living nicer for the R,R & OV’s. In that case, don’t read any further.

But, on the off-chance that The City wants to discourage R,R & OV’s I am going to go out on a limb here and say that R,R & OV’s are not going to measure potential nesting sites and choose according to height. I can only think of one type of Rat, Rodent, and Other Vermin that runs around measuring people’s firewood stacks, and we’ll talk about them later. Actually we’ve been talking about them all along, and will continue to do so. 

Back to the animal R,R & OV’s: they are pretty good climbers so the 18″ firewood stack code doesn’t make any difference to them. If they want to nest in your firewood they will. The thing is, they don’t want to. They don’t care about your firewood and they darned sure don’t care to nest in stacks of  bricks, stones, and concrete.

Just think of this scenario:

Mr. and Mrs. Rat are looking for a new home for their family because the Golf Course, which had been fine until now, has flooded. They want to stay in the neighborhood because the golfers do leave nice food scraps in those little trash cans, and hey – it’s very entertaining to see what humans will wear out in public. For, as Roger Simon said “The reason most people play golf is to wear clothes they would not be caught dead in otherwise.”.

I know what you’re thinking: “Who is Roger Simon?” Good question, and I don’t know the answer to that. I do know who Tiger Woods is though, and he is credited with this quote:  “Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.” If you don’t know who Tiger Woods is, Robin Williams said just about the same thing, but (uncharacteristically for him) with fewer words:  “Golf is a game where white men can dress up as black pimps and get away with it.”

So there you go.

Anyway – back to the Rat family. Here they are, flooded out of their snug little home on the Golf Course. “Hey” says Mr. Rat “I know – there are people living all around us. They paid extra for the privilege of living in a home that is constantly being hit by golf balls, so they probably won’t be in their back yards much. Let’s look over there and see what we can find'”. “Great idea”, says Mrs. Rat.

So off the Rat Family goes, to check out potential new digs. One of the little Ratlettes says “Here’s a stack of firewood – how about that?” To which Mr. Rat replies “You silly little Ratlette …. humans don’t keep firewood for looks – they are always going out there messing with it. Even if it did keep us dry and cozy: which it won’t; it won’t afford us any privacy because  in the winter the wood will be used up, and besides, firewood stacks are located so as to be close to fireplaces, thus people and dogs and cats and such will be close by. Nix on the firewood stack.”

Notice – not once did Mr. Rat complain that the firewood stack is too high: even though the human was complying with The Code and had stacked his firewood 18 inches above the ground.

Hmmm – if not for the firewood, where are those poor Rats going to stay? “Look”, says Mrs. Rat – “there is a pile of bricks, rocks, and concrete stepping stones. I always wanted to live in a nice sturdy brick house.  How about that?”

“Now how in the world do you think we are going to tunnel through bricks, or concrete, or whatever that stuff is? And besides, the lizards like to live there. They are always eating the numerous mosquitoes that The City keeps around and I don’t want to live by anyone who eats mosquitoes and changes color whenever they want”.

By now the little Ratlettes are crying. They miss their Golf Course home and all the fun they had there.

Mrs. Rat has an idea: “You know what – the human house is brick – how about we go up into the attic? No humans go there. Or – here is a fine garage and a sturdy storage building which matches the house and is crammed full of stuff but is back out of view of the street. Take your pick.”

Notice – not once did Mr. or Mrs. Rat express concern that the attic was more than 18 inches from the ground.

So the Rat family moves into the nice home where they can still watch the fashion show, yet are warm and cozy and well fed. And the human homeowner is complying with The Code, so he is safe too.

Or is he? ….. Stay Tuned

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