Rats, Rain and Rot
The last few months at the mill have been varied. We have had an
invasion of rats, not enough rain and now we have found some serious
We thought we had eliminated the rodent problem but they came back when
the weather turned cold.
We had cleaned out as much of the meal as we
could after milling, but there is always some left between the
stones and rats can smell it from great distances.
Their attempts to
get to the source of the scent highlighted some places where wood had
gone a little soft, not to say downright fragile. More of that in a
The lack of rain for most of last year meant that
the mill pool was very slow
to refill after any running of the
We realised that water was leakig past the plug and Richard took
advantage of a warm spell in the weather, and a borrowed wet suit, to
get into the pool and pack sandbags around the plug and the plug-hole.
These seem to have done the trick, and the pool now refill much
Rats gnawed at the
base of the
upstream tun, making a hole through one of the base segments.
examination this segment was quite rotten and we have now made a
In the bottom of the mill the persistent pests had burrowed under the
brick floor so that parts of it subsided. Once we started to lift the
floor to sort the subsidence out we realised the extent of the problem.
The more bricks we took up the more tunnels we found and we have now
taken up nearly half of the floor. We have taken advice from a pest
control professional and are now in a position to start relaying the
Before we can do that though we have another problem with rot that we
must sort out. In a way the rats have done us a favour because they led
us to something that could have caused serious trouble if we hadn't
seen it in time.
The ground beam under the downstream
half of the
hurst is seriously decayed. In places it is less than a quarter of its
The surfaces that are normally visible look sound
but once we had removed the brick floor we could see just how bad it
A suitable piece of oak has been ordered and we are rounding up as many
acro-props as we can muster to hold everything up while we remove the
rotten beam and replace it with a new one. The plan is to make a like
for like replacement that should hopefully last for many years.
to the previous Watermill Blog entry
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