For the past several days, I've noticed the smell of a dead thing in our barn. With the days warming up, it's become more and more prevalent, so today I set myself the task of finding it and getting it out of there. Eventually, I did--a dead rattlesnake, about 3 feet long. But in the process I also found a huge pack rat nest (the rat or rats themselves, I believe, long gone) full of various natural substances, including what I think were parts of Calico, our former barn cat, as well as numerous Rugrats and Xena toys--only some of which had been eaten, the rest evidently just cherished.
We have considerably less interior storage and display space in this house than we had in San Diego, where we had one room known as, I kid you not, the Pokemon room. So a lot of the stuff that was in the house and garage there is in the barn now. And apparently not in rat-proof containers.
But I cleared all that stuff out, got rid of the bones and tufts of fur there as well as the snake, and now the barn smells considerably better. We also have a new barn cat, called Mose after Dwight Schrute's half-feral brother on The Office, and while he's still just a kitten, he's already shown himself to be energetic and fearless. Snakes go into barns for the same reason cats do--to get at the rodents--so here's hoping Mose proves a dedicated and mighty hunter so that we won't have snakes or pack rats hanging out in there anymore.
I spent three hours at this task today, moving boxes and digging and upending palettes and so on, and now (on the other side of a long shower) I'm so weary I can barely type. Go get 'em Mose!