Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Thursday Thoughts

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 2:52 pm on Thursday, March 23, 2006

Knitting Yesterday

As I mentioned yesterday, my knitting for the day included the Ladder Yarn shawl and my Barefoot Diva socks. Still nothing picture worthy there. I also worked on the Pirate Project and made good progress – look for the full reveal after the end of the month.

Habitat for Rodentity?

A lot of Wednesday’s creative energy went into working on the rat cage. Since you last saw it on Monday, Gryphon made the hinged lid that forms the roof of the cage. On Wednesday, I added the shelf for the first floor, the one that eventually will hold a wheel for the rats to run on. It was a lot of work – the shelf is constructed of a sheet of 1/2 inch hardware cloth folded in half.

Wires from the edge of one half were folded over the other half to hold it together. Then, because a 1/2-inch grid is actually harmful for rats’ feet if they walk on it, I folded a piece of aluminum screening over the entire shelf. This I stapled into place along the long edge (the edge that will be along a wall in the final assembly).

Finally, the wires from the edge of the remaining half were carefully inserted into a row of grid squares on the walls of the cage. The trick here was managing to get them all lined up and poking through the grid at the same time, on three sides of the shelf. Then I had to hold it there while I used pliers to start bending the wires around the cage wall grid to hold the shelf in place.

All in all, the construction of one simple shelf for the cage took a couple of hours time.

I also managed to cut the opening in the side of the cage where the drop-down door will be attached. It’s well placed so I can reach everything in the lower levels of the cage handily, and large enough that passing rats, toys, and food and water containers through it will be easy.

I’ve been thinking about how to build ramps and ladders for the rats to climb from level to level on, and had a good idea last night. We have a large ball of butcher’s twine, a loosely spun, thick string made of 100% cotton. Plus, I have basic macrame skills – can you see where this is going? At least one of the ladders will be knotted from the twine and tied to the walls of the cage.

Still to complete on the cage; the upper deck, and the door itself. Should be easy enough – Gryphon will make the door, since the cage clips used to hinge the parts are a bit tough to crimp and need more hand strength than I have. The shelf will be built the same as the first one, only probably will be a bit wider.

We went on a shopping trip today to start equipping items like food dishes and such. One stop was a local hardware store, where we purchased a section of flexible dryer vent hose. This will be used as a ramp/ladder between a couple of levels, and a section curled on the floor of the cage can make a hidey-hut for the rats, too.

We also confirmed that our rat source of choice, Family Pet of Nashua, will have six female rats in the store by Saturday to choose from. It looks like there will be eight more little feet in the house this weekend! The timing is just about perfect, because we can complete the construction on the cage on Friday, in plenty of time to have it fully set up before bringing the new family members home.

Knitting Tonight

At Panera, as usual. I’m going to bring what I’m calling the Warm Things Project (random scarves, hats, and mittens for charity), and the supplies to knit preemie hats. Hmm…looks like an all charity knitting night for me!

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