Mystery on the Farm

Looks idyllic, doesn't it? Well, there is more going on here than meets the eye and I could use some help identifying the culprits.

Here are my outbuildings, the loci.

This is the smokehouse, c.1819.

I have lived here twenty years and never visited its attic. There is something foreboding about it.

The first clue that something was amiss was the plastic drip irrigation tubing hanging outside from the open attic. I did not store it in the attic.

I hung the tubing on five-foot high hooks near the door. This is tubing that was cut because I had used it used it in the past. There are a couple left hanging there. Today.

Hooks where it was hanging

It was pulled down, dragged across the floor and somehow taken up to the attic. For what purpose is beyond me.

Across the floor

Hanging down from the attic where it was taken, but how?

View from the other side so you can see how extensive this operation is

The floor is rotting, my leg is in a brace, and I am reluctant to stand on a stepladder to reach the attic to see if I can figure out who lives there and what they are doing with the tubing.  Ideas?

Now, note the hole in the floor with the ripped blue linen tablecloth pulled into it. This is another mystery. It was once a long tablecloth I used to drag the black plastic bag containing a crazy heavy sack of concrete across the floor. It was not that close to that little hole. Someone tore the tablecloth and dragged it down into that hole. I pulled it out each time I went into the smokehouse, but the other party won this tug of war as evidenced by the last remaining fragment of cloth.

Cloth being dragged under
I have watched a rotund groundhog wiggle under the smokehouse to escape me on a few different occasions when I have charged madly toward him, screaming obscenities. But truly, he is far too fat to get through that hole to the first floor and retrieve the tablecloth. And there is no other way in.

Mystery Three. These are the stables.

The mystery is behind Door Number Two. It has been going on for a year. 

As you can see, I store a small grille and charcoal in here. There are two bags of charcoal, one still unopened. The open one I close carefully and secure it by putting its own weight over the folded opening. And yet, when I open Door Number Two I find that someone has carefully opened the bag and again removed the charcoal. Why?

A friend from New York noted there was an artistic design to it, so I have photographed it as she saw it. I am just a Virginia farmer, so I can only see it as bizarre. Who is doing this?

A clue might be that it is the same creature that created lovely nests of rosehips with their shiny branches last autumn, a couple in the stables and about twenty neatly lining the shelves of the smokehouse. I only think it’s possibly the same creature because the nests were, when fresh, neat and clean and charcoal is a filtering substance. But probably not, because after I dismantled those nests no effort was made to rebuild any. 

The charcoal saga continues.