The Red Hand Files. Nick Cave writes to fans, to all of us, in response to one person’s question or observation.

These letters — and that’s what they are; no mere email — are so beautiful I leave them in my inbox until there is a moment that I am ready to receive them.

Peak human.

The system works! My phone just alerted me to the trap firing and yup, there’s a dead rat there when I go look; an admittedly quite pretty ship rat. I’ll leave it there and see if the corpse disappears overnight. The Goodnature people maintain that most of the kills are taken away by rats & cats so let’s see what happens.

Anyway, that’s how I got back to thinking about trapping again. And although the California quail I heard isn’t a native, and likely has figured out how to beat rats and stoats (mainly by having their chicks fly extremely soon after hatching), they are pretty cool birds.

“So,” he said, “you have chickens?”

Why yes we do my good neighbour, adorable floof bucket silkies who give us eggs in return for a steady diet of leftovers and the run of the back lawn…

“Ah!” he interrupted, “that’s why out of the six traps I have around the neighbourhood I catch the most rats closest to your place!”

Uhhh, ok, maybe, I guess I’d better start trapping again then…

Context: where I am the native species — birds, reptiles, and invertebrates — are busily going extinct after humans introduced predators they haven’t co-evolved with, like rats and stoats. There’s a predator-free fenced enclave not far from here and the surrounding suburbs are full of people who trap so that the spillover out of the enclave stays safe.

The other day my neighbour trap-shamed me.

Which kind of makes me feel bad about not getting the rat trap set up. It’s one of those horrible DOC30 box traps and if you don’t remember to check it regularly, cleaning the kills from it is a HORRIBLE job. Think I need a Goodnature A24 with the Bluetooth alarm that tells when it’s caught a rat.

I heard a quail in the garden yesterday and those little friends are some of my favourites; I know they live in the hills to the west but what was one doing a kilometre into suburbia I am not quite sure. However, be happy here, friend.

(“Third party […] crap”, he says, then goes looking at Tinyletter and Substack.)

Maybe I should just deactivate my dusty old blog and just send out the occasional newsletter by email. Something primarily for family & friends that is definitely not Facebook or any third party social media crap.


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