Saturday, April 27, 2013

Once More Unto the Breach

Spring has come! And so have the wretched ants.

Yes, the arrival of warmer weather heralds the arrival of dozens of tiny black ants in the downstairs bathroom. I set out the Death Jelly for them yesterday in there and haven't seen any today.

Unfortunately, the ants are venturing further afield this year. Specifically, into Charlie's room.

I didn't know they were in there until last night when I went to put Charlie to bed. He's having some Issues With Teeth lately (very screamy issues, unfortunately), so I gave in yesterday afternoon and dosed him with some medicine. Which is, of course, acetaminophen dissolved in sugar syrup. I was holding him in my lap in the big chair in his room when I gave him the medicine and not having anywhere else convenient to set the dropper thing after I dosed him, I just set it on the floor next to the chair.

When I retrieved it that night to wash it out, it was covered with tiny ants. GROSS.

I washed all those ants down the drain, and then crawled around the floor, peering closely for any remaining ants, which I crushed with my finger.

I'm all about live and let live, unless you are an insect in my baby's room. In that case, you're dead.

Luckily, the ants usually disappear from the house when it gets truly warm outside, but in the meantime . . . here ants. Have some delicious jelly.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

The King Is Dead, Long Live the King

A few weeks ago, the rooster that survived a fox attack disappeared. We figure a hawk probably got him. Or maybe the fox came back for seconds.

Whatever was his undoing, there was no doubt our small flock was rooster-less.

Hens will lay their eggs without a rooster around, obviously, but if there's to be any hope of fertilized eggs for natural reproduction? Yeah. Gotta have that rooster. Plus, roosters kind of keep free-ranging hens in order, herding them around and making sure they all go into the coop at night.

We didn't make any great efforts to secure a rooster immediately, however, as there was no urgent need. Plus, it is a great truth in the chicken world (and really, in any animal world) that there is always a surplus of males. It's not exactly hard to find a rooster someone wants to get rid of.

Sure enough, last week a woman who rides the bus with the MiL mentioned she had four roosters. That's three too many. She got them from another woman who couldn't bear to kill any of them.

We're all about eating our excess roosters, but not everyone is so pragmatic, I suppose. And lucky for us, because that's how we came to be the new home for a pure-bred Welsummer rooster.

The Welsummer is a Dutch breed, which is funny because A.'s family is very, very Dutch (ancestrally speaking, that is). And did you know the Kellogg's rooster is a representation of a Welsummer rooster? I didn't, but I do now.

There is no doubt the new rooster is very striking. Luckily, he seems to just be visually striking, and not literally striking. Rooster spurs are no joke, and there's always the possibility that the reason a rooster is being given away is because he's a mean bastard. I haven't seen any sign of that yet, though, so we can hope we got another good, safe rooster.

And of course, he sure is purty. You know, for a bird.

Look out, ladies; there's a new sheriff in town.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Lesson from the Tortoise

I'm sure you're all familiar with the fable "The Tortoise and the Hare," in which the plodding tortoise beats out the lazy-ass hare by virtue of persistence. The moral of that story is "Slow and steady wins the race."

I need the tortoise to come paint my bathroom. If ever there was a job for a slow but persistent person (or, uh, reptile), this is it.

Unfortunately, I am neither slow nor steady. Damn it.

Back story: A. decided this winter to put up insulation in the bathroom to keep it from being cold and wet and mildew-y and all the other things you just don't want a bathroom to be. He put the insulation up. Yay! It was warmer! Problem solved.

And then we had silver insulation covering the walls in the downstairs bathroom. Futuristic and eye-catching, but not really in keeping with our decorative scheme. (That scheme being "not naked building materials.")

So after a considerable delay, A. put up Sheetrock. Yay!

And then we had dark blue Sheetrock imprinted with the reassuring "Mold-resistant" covering the walls in the downstairs bathroom. Still naked building materials.

After an even longer delay (A. really, really hates fiddly home improvement stuff, much preferring to build things with rocks or construct hand-operated cranes . . . which is a story for another day), A. got the trim up.  This involved some very exacting measurements of angles and cutting and fitting and a LOT of swearing. But he got it done.

Which just left me and the paint. Shit.

I hate painting. From the very first time I did it at about age sixteen when my parents had me paint my bedroom, I have hated it. I still hate it. And that is because I am not a detail person. I am not patient. I am not good at being slow and careful and painting trim. And I really suck at beading.

But A. did his part of the job, and now it's my turn.

Unfortunately, thanks to my day (and night) job of child wrangling, I have very limited time to do it. I have to do it when both kids are asleep, obviously, because OH GOD the HORROR of Cubby around paint is unfathomable. So, usually about an hour out of the day.

That's why I'm painting in stages. Ceiling first. And then the dreaded clean-up of the brush and roller and paint-smeared newspaper and so on. Today I did the first coat on the walls. And then the dreaded clean-up again. Next nice, dry day we have, I'll do another coat on the walls. And then clean-up.  And THEN, FINALLY, I can do the trim.

God help me.

But it's coming along, slowly but surely. Very slowly, and not really very surely, but coming.

Sure could use that tortoise, though. You know, one with opposable thumbs that can hold a paint brush.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

To Each His Own

Today's Sunday Family Fun was a walk to the woods to dig ramps. Except I was the only one who dug ramps. While I was digging the ramps, A. was walking around in the stream with a fish spear, hoping to see a sucker fish to spear and bring home to cook.

He was also wearing Charlie in the pack at the time. A.'s definition of childcare is maybe a little different than most. Whatever. Charlie seemed happy enough.

Cubby was also walking in the stream, in his rubber boots. For a little while. Then he announced he wanted to go wading. It was 47 degrees. He is crazy. I know this. I also know he is quite cold-hardy.

So I said he could go wading.

I helped him undress. I tried to convince him to keep on his underwear and long-sleeved shirt, so he would have SOME protection should he fall. No, he says. Just underwear then? No, he says.

So I dug ramps, A. looked for suckers, and Cubby climbed around fallen trees and up stream banks buck naked.

I got my ramps*. A. did not get any suckers. Cubby did not go wading, instead choosing to just run around without his clothes on for about ten minutes before asking to get dressed again. Charlie got to get out of the pack and sit on the forest floor wallowing in dried leaves and playing with sticks for awhile.

All in all, a good outing. If a little weird.

* I chopped some of them tonight and added them to sliced potatoes baked in milk and cream, to go along with a brisket I made according to the recipe in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The brisket was okay. The potatoes were AMAZING. YUM.