My buddy Michael crawled into the dark corners of the crawlspace under the kitchen yesterday (thanks, Michael!) and dug out a variety of trash and artifacts that had been thrown in there over the decades since the house was built (in 1931).
We found a couple interesting things, and solved the mystery of what sort of beast had crawled in there and died in the winter of 2007–8 that made our home reek of death and decay for four weeks that Spring.
First up, a wax cone milk container from Sealright Milk Bottles (Fulton, NY), distributed by Cherry Burrell Corp (Little Falls, NY). It has a copyright notice on the side that says “Sealed Kone: We use Sealright Sanitary Service for Your Protection, Copyright 1932.” The wax cones were single use containers to avoid bottle breakage and other losses from around 1914 into the 1930’s. I found a nice article describing their history at Doug & Linda’s Dairy Antique Site.
Next is a wooden cylinder, made up of 8 individual joined slats and then turned so its outer shell is round. In some quick research, I couldn’t figure out what it was. Maybe a wooden drain pipe or container?
Finally, and not for the faint of heart, the dead beasty. It was a red fox. It had obligingly curled up and died on a piece of fallen Styrofoam insulation. Luckily, the crawl space is very dry, so after those few weeks of decay last year, it became mummified. We see red foxes in the neighborhood from time to time. This one may have gotten into some old rat poison in the crawlspace. It seems like it may have used the space for a nest for a while… there was a squirrel carcass right next to it.
Michael is helping me clean up the electrical wiring mess under here now. Then I can start enclosing it and re-insulating it. Stay tuned.