Thursday, July 30, 2015

...missing her, still...

It's been a year now...sometimes it seems like just yesterday. On my morning walk, I came to the corner where the tree with the tiny leaves stands. As I rounded the corner I looked up and was greeted with a shower of yellow leaves ...just like the day we took one of our last walks together.

Wherever I went, she was not far behind. She would sit out on the back porch and scan the garden. 

She always rearranged the dog cover on the couch.

If I went out on a quick errand, 
she would be waiting for my return.

She would sneak up on the bed and hide.

She loved to walk!

I miss her, still.....

Thursday, July 16, 2015


While the rest of the country has been deluged with pouring rain, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, the summer of 2015 in Southern California will go down in history as the fourth year of bone-dry drought conditions and the invasion of ants. Yes! .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..ANTS!
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..  Those pesky, teeny-tiny, little creepy crawly insects that send out half a dozen scouts to scope out new territories to invade. If the scouts are successful in returning to the troops, they regroup and head out. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .., wait.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. THOUSANDS.. .. .. .. .. .. sneaking into homes across the south land.. .. .. .. .. .. stealthy appearing without notice.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..marching in droves! 
                                        ANTS! ANTS! ANTS! ANTS! ANTS!
With the lack of rain and now, the mandated restriction that dictates when and how long we can water our gardens, we knew we were in for an uncomfortable summer and a possible ant invasion. 

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed several tell-tale scouts, scurrying from here to there, checking things out.  Two on the kitchen counter .. .., three on the window sill in the bathroom .. .. .. several on the pantry shelves .. .. .. .. .. .. .. OK! It was time to plan our defense!  I grabbed the spray bottle of Simple Green and went after the scouts. Morning, noon and night, I would crouch down to eye level of the counters and watch for movement .. .. .. .. .. .. if I saw a scout .. .. .. he was toast! We were proactive! We made sure all trash/garbage was taken out before going to bed. We wiped down all the counters after dinner each night. All standing water was rinsed from the sinks and the dish tub dried. We ran the garbage disposal. We washed out the coffee maker. We eliminated every possible attraction. As time passed, the scout patrol seemed to evaporate. And, we relaxed. 

Saturday morning I made raspberry scones. There were plenty left for Sunday, so I pulled out one of my tins, lined it with wax paper and packed the scones. The lid was secured. Sunday, we had more scones and still had a few left, so I put the lid back on, wiped the tin down and placed it back on the counter. 

Monday morning came and I was awakened by the sound of something heavy hitting the floor. Still half asleep, I made my way downstairs to find my husband on his hands and knees. At first, I thought he might have fallen. "Are you ok?!!" I asked. "ANTS!!!!" he proclaimed .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. OMG! .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. He wasn't kidding! ANTS.. .. .. .. .. .. EVERYWHERE!!!!! 
From the ventilation vent in the pantry they had marched under the pantry door, behind the refrigerator and up the side of the counter to the tin of scones. Focused on making his lunch, Charlie had opened the tin, thinking he would take a couple of scones to work to have with his coffee. Inside he discovered a kabillion ANTS .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... .. crawling all over the remaining scones! For the next half hour, we Simple-Greened the entire kitchen! We were ruthless! We watched for any type of movement. Stragglers hurried up the wall. Several tried to escape along the back of the counter .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. without success!  
Charlie left for work leaving me in charge of Operation Ant Annihilation! .. .. .. .. .. .. ..  I continued to survey the counters. I watched (and destroyed) the ones left behind. I showered, dressed and returned to the kitchen .. .. .. and found a few more renegades attempting to find a way out. 

Needing a break, I went for my morning walk. This ant-thing totally creeped me out. I can handle spiders, crickets....the occasional fly. But, .. .. .. .. .. .. ants?! Yuck! I totally blame our weather and the condition of our gardens for this infestation.  I can't figure out how they got INTO that tin. I've used it for years to store shortbread, cookies, scones, muffins....and never, ever had an ant anywhere near it much less IN it!

When I got back from my walk, I checked again for intruders and saw none. The following morning, Charlie checked again for ants! I came downstairs a while later and found three .. .. .. two were on the rim of the jar that had an avocado pit rooting in water and one .. doing the back stroke in the water. Needless to say, I dumped the water (and, the ants .. .. ..), refilled the jar, dried it off and put it back in the window. What puzzles me is why the jar now? That avocado pit has been sitting in that little jar of water for weeks .. .. .. not one ant had approached it until now. 

We still find the occasional scout...and I'm sure we will have more before the end of summer.  We are standing by .. .. .. .. with Simple Green in hand! They just creep me out!