You know us nihilistic anarchists. We love to tear palaces down.

I dug all this stuff out yesterday, trying to find that dead rabbit that was making my life such a joy. These two piles do not by any means comprise the total nest, there’s still quite a bit more under there but I have to move more sandbags. This morning in the cool I transferred a bunch of stuff I had foolishly stored under there to another, hopefully safer location. Quite a lot of it that’s just too impregnated with rat piss to ever be usable, I put in the burn barrel to make Al Gore cry.
Early this afternoon when the cabin’s shadow covers them, I’ll pull out the last of the sandbag skirting on this side, dig out the last of the nest, and rebuild the insulation around the water pipe which I think has long since been reduced to nesting material. I’ve seen bigger packrat nests in the boonies, but not much bigger.

In fact the whole debacle ranks among the biggest design errors I’ve made since moving here. On the list of Joel’s Massively Poor Life Choices it’s not even an item, of course, because there it would have to compete with things like “Let’s move to California and go for that safe corporate job.” So I’m still ahead on points. But it was a big mistake that will take some major redesign.

For the record: Sandbags are not a good permanent skirting material. First they settle, leaving big gaps in the thing they’re supposed to close up. This makes it easy for varmints to enter, and difficult for you to go in after them. Next they deteriorate, with obvious consequences. They actually contribute nesting material. And they’re So. Very. Heavy.

I literally dreamed about new cabin skirting overnight, waking up with a plan in which embryonic projects will be sacrificing their building materials to become new skirting instead.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to You know us nihilistic anarchists. We love to tear palaces down.

  1. Ben says:

    Do you have filter masks? I can’t imagine that inhaling rodent nests is good for your lungs.

    For pipe insulation consider dollar store Fun Noodles. I’ve never had reason to try them, but they sure look like they would work and are far cheaper than the Home Depot variety.

  2. Joel says:

    I do, and will be using one when I shovel this shit up and wheelbarrow it out to the wash.

    The pool noodle is a good idea! I hadn’t thought about that.

  3. blindshooter says:

    I have used steel roofing cut to fit for skirting. Don’t know how well it will work in contact with the soil in your location, it held up for about 12 years in the wet here before I could visibly see rust holes. I did use treated 2×4’s some ripped in half for the framing.
    Thats some pile of trash, never had to deal with pack rats.

  4. ZtZ says:

    Perhaps it is worth the work to trench for your new skirting? at least 8 inches deep, to discourage burrowing rodents, snakes and other annoying uninvited visitors.
    Oh and about those rats…

  5. MJR says:

    It is true, one learns something every day. I didn’t realize the sandbags would be an issue. Looks liken the others commenters have great ideas. The pool noodle one is multi functional. I have used them as wrap for pipes to keep the heat in hot water, they are a lot cheaper then pipe wrap. I have also used them to cover guy lines when camping as a warning not to walk into them. Yes when that happens it is usually dark and alcohol is also a factor.

  6. Tennessee Budd says:

    Blindshooter beat me to it. At my last trailer, the landlord ripped out the flimsy-assed plastic skirting & replaced it with corrugated metal. Of course, he did this as I was just about to move out, but I reckon it’s the thought that counts. I was there long enough to appreciate the improvement for awhile.

  7. Trenching it would be a pain (being as there’s a Secret Lair perched right on the line – but a level footing that’s minimum 8″ deep and a few inches above your soil line would give you a shot at a deluxe shirting job. If you seal it well enough you might get away with using it for storage again. With a footing for the material to rest on you can then add insulation on the inside with less chance of it becoming recycled building material. You could swing the trench out a foot and make it easier. I don’t recall any specific rules about that other than what’s practical and works for your situation. If anyone gives you grief over angled skirting – just tell ’em it’s an homage to FLW and the “Prairie Style”. It’s an architectural detail – have you no eyes?

    I remember suggesting a while back that you consider aiming for a root cellar/cool room with the basement area now in play. It was partly in jest because it’s obviously labor intensive depending on just how nuts one goes – nor inexpensive. But – there is a case to be made for it – and it’s been done many times and ways. If you document the progress online it’ll bring you notoriety – every hermit wants that… (secretly – preferably posthumously of course) It would, however – result in your having a cave – which I understand is quite the thing in hermit circles.

    (still pretty much in jest… 😉 )

  8. Judy says:

    Wow, that’s impressive. It’s a wonder your rodent friends hadn’t chewed through the floor of The Lair to get at your recliner.

  9. Dan says:

    Any options available for elevating the Lair, say, 24-30 inches above grade? Easier under-Lair access, more storage space, greater working room for installing insulation and skirting, better flood protection.

    Solid rodent- and water-proof skirting options are few, but blindshooter’s steel roofing idea seems to have merit. You used Hardie paneling for siding, I have no idea how cementous panels would hold up in contact with the ground, especially trenched in at the bottom, but that may be an option. Whatever you use don’t forget the flashing to prevent water accumulation between skirting material and the Lair’s sides.

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