Update-y (Rambly)

I’m slacking in the blog department lately. Here’s my lame little update (why do you read me?):

  • Garden is as it has been for weeks: weedy and on its own. It’s fighting hard, but we need to give it some help before we lose everything. Tomatoes look great. Potatoes had Colorado potato beetles, but they’re mostly gone after J hand-picked for a while.
  • Potatoes had spotty germination. Will not order from Ronniger’s again.
  • Sweet potatoes finally came and got planted – last weekend. Some died. A disappointment after last year, when everything grew beautifully. We’ll see what we get.
  • I see bunnies hopping across the driveway near the garden as I drive out. I don’t think they’re in the garden, but I know our fence doesn’t keep out babies.
  • Van died, again. While J & M were on the way home from my folks last night (E, A, & I have the flu, so missed my dad’s surprise 60th birthday party). Thankfully, they made it to a gas station, and then got towed back to my folks’. Maya finally made it to bed around midnight, I hear. She’s tickled that she got to ride in a tow truck, w/ no car seat (her mother isn’t so thrilled), wear Mimi’s nightgown, and stay up late. She was up again by 6, so she’s going to be tired today. It’s something with the alternator, so my dad (happy birthday!) charged the battery all night so they could come home this morning. J’s at work now, late and tired, but safe. Van goes to the shop tomorrow morning.
  • New living room furniture! Before the van died, we used it to haul the trailer to IKEA on Monday. Unfortunately, everybody and their mother’s brother also thought this was a brilliant idea. Holiday weekend, free kids meals and all. It was INSANE. This is the place that’s full to the brim even on a normal weekday, so as we pulled in to the amusement park-sized parking lot, I had a sinking feeling we we wouldn’t get a pull-through spot for the trailer. But we did, in the last corner of the lot with free spots. They also had buy 1, get 1 free buffalo chicken wrap meals, so our whole family ate for six bucks. Good fun.
  • Oh, the furniture. It’s leather, the Jappling line (only available in stores, so no link). We bought a sofa and two chairs. One of the chairs has a dented/creased cushion from the packaging, so we’re debating taking it back. We’ll be back in that area later this month, so we might. I got sick before we could move the sofa in, so it’s still wrapped up in the garage. Once I’m feeling better, we’ll move it in and take a picture.
  • I’m waiting on rug samples from Flor. Very excited. I want something with color, and stripes. You can get three 6″ square samples for $5, so I ordered six for $10. Should come any day now. Our sad, sad jute rug (from IKEA five years ago) is releasing it’s yarn and fuzz all over the place. Kids like to unravel it for fun. (We don’t have television around here.) I love the tile concept, so that if it gets stained, I can take one square outside and literally hose it down. Or buy a new one – just one square – if need be. Many tiles are made from recycled content, and they have a great recycling program for returning your rug at the end of it’s useful life. They also claim to have the lowest VOC emissions in the industry, for whatever it’s worth.
  • My next project is to build/buy a proper shelf/sofa table for behind the new sofa. I currently have an upright wood shelf turned sideways as a substitute, and we keep our homeschooling stuff there. We need something better.
  • So even though I’m pretty set on Flor tiles for our rug, I fell in love with this rug at IKEA. The pictures don’t even come close to doing it justice. It’s deep, rich, colorful, gorgeous, and 100% wool. No vinyl composite backing like the Flor tiles. But it’s also $400, and if I get a stain on it, I’m stuck with it. The kicker? It was out of stock, so I couldn’t buy it. Wasn’t meant to be. My husband was happy, as he wants the easy care and price tag of the the Flor rug. (I’ve told him that the size of rug we need won’t be much less with Flor, but he is sold on the tile concept. I also think he’s a little jaded from our past/current experience with a ginormous shedding IKEA rug. But we paid less than $200 for that one, see. It’s grass. This one is wool…)
  • The chicks are so big. They are definitely teenagers now, mostly feathered out. They’re five weeks old and so pretty. Mama still takes care of them. They all like to hang out in the lower branches of the little cedar tree right out front of the house. It’s so funny to see them hiding in the boughs, all five perched on one branch or another, Mama pacing watchfully underneath. I wonder when she’ll wean them? We are moving their little tractor closer to the big hoop coop every day, and we’re switching all the hens over to chick starter so that it’s safe for everyone to eat. We’re hoping the flocks will naturally integrate themselves, but we might need to help.
  • Hens are molting. We have been getting five eggs a day for a couple of weeks now. But I got eight two days ago, and seven yesterday, so perhaps they’re nearly done. But I know all the hens will molt, and I don’t think they all have, so maybe there will be less eggs again soon. They already look bare on their backs from the rooster, and when you throw the molting in the mix, they look positively naked.
  • CARPENTER ANTS. We have a gigantic problem. We elected not to spray this year. (The past two years we’ve done an exterior spray on the foundation and around windows/doors, supposedly a “pin spray” that is contained. But I saw the kid spray it last year, and it was everywhere.) Now that we have chickens ranging, I don’t want poisons sprayed everywhere. And I’ve always been concerned for the environment and my childrens’ health. I’m like, there have got to be organic farms out there with houses in the woods and carpenter ants afoot; how do they handle it? Because this year, without spraying, they are invading our house. I put my foot down when I was wakened by an ant crawling on my body two days in a row. We broke out the sugar and Borax, Googled, and mixed up 2 c sugar, 1 c water, and 2 tbsp. Borax into a solution. Placed it in shallow dishes all over the house. For the first couple of days, ants are everywhere. You have to let them, so they’ll eat it and bring it back to the queen and feed it to her. The idea is that is slowly kills them, and her. After the first couple of days, they stop coming. We can’t put the stuff outside where the chickens can get it, because it’s toxic to them, so we keep it mostly indoors. The kids leave it alone. Outside, we have some in jars with narrow openings, or we place some out at night and remove it in the morning before the chickens are out. I think it’s working, but we are still working on a few rooms, so it’s hard to tell. I just don’t know what to do. I feel strongly about not poisoning the ground water, animals, children, etc., but people, I can’t share my home with carpenter ants! I can’t! They are driving me nuts! (And some might say it’s already a short drive. There, I beat you to the punch line.) I’m just crazy sick over this. Any ideas?
  • We haven’t been to Lake Michigan yet this year. Because the beaches are infested with e. coli. Fun!
  • J and I are watching 24 for the first time, from the beginning. We are partway through season two. And now I must ask – how do you people do this? Watch entire seasons/shows straight through? Because I have no self control and need the natural rhythms of commercials, weekly breaks, season finales, having to wait nine months for the next season, etc. to keep me in check. I can’t stand going to bed knowing that the next show (and the entire rest of the season – and the entire rest of the show!) are available online for me to watch, whenever I want. The only thing that keeps me paced is my self control, and I have very little, so this is either going to kill me or make me stronger. This is exactly how I spent my childhood and early adolescence – nose buried in a book, reading until 2 a.m., having to finish it because how could I not? The whole story was right there, waiting to be read. I never understood how my friends/sisters spaced their books out over weeks. Once I started a book, I read every minute I could (even during school when I should’ve been paying attention, but I was annoying and got good grades anyway) until the story was done. Then I started another book. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • And now you know why I don’t read as much as I should – I know my limits. I am a wife and mother now, I have loads of responsibilities, and if I were to read, I wouldn’t get anything done. I think I’m slowly learning to be able to read a few chapters and PUT THE BOOK DOWN, but it’s really not easy for me. Completely unnatural. I’m an insatiable speedreader, and I have a slightly obsessive personality, so when I started Harry Potter a few years ago, I stopped after a few books. It was not good for me. I’m proud to say I still haven’t picked the series back up again, though I intend to, perhaps in the winter.
  • Dinner. What does one make for dinner when one has a fever and feels like eating nothing? But one still has to feed a growing family?
  • Baby calling. Over and out.

3 thoughts on “Update-y (Rambly)

  1. that was a lot of update in one post.

    1. can’t wait to see the couches!
    2. can’t believe that about the car. I can just see M’s excitement about the entire experience
    3. I like the ikea rug, but I think the rug tiles are a better idea
    4. sorry ’bout the garden. this summer was going to be difficult with baby #4….but next year will be better! I can help! (hahahaha).
    5. HUGE bummer about your ant problem. I remember you talking about this before. It’s unfortunate, but seems to be spraying is the best bet…have you asked your farming neighbors what they do? they’ve got to have the same ant problem.

    I need to do an update myself. Oy. just can’t find the time.

  2. You can imagine that in Florida we occasionally have nasty ant (and other bug) problems. When we first moved there we had a pest control service that sprayed regularly, because that’s what everyone does. I HATED it so much we dropped it as soon as the contract ran out.

    It took a little while to restore the natural balance, but gradually the lizards and other insect-eaters returned. (It was seeing the pest-control guy spray a lizard directly that sent me into the frenzy that finally resulted in our dropping the service.) Still, they need some assistance with keeping the indoor bug population down. (We don’t mind the lizards in the the house, but it’s not the best environment for them.)

    I’ve found that Contact roach baits, which are in child-resistant packaging and work by letting the bugs take poisoned food back to the nest, work great on palmetto bugs, a.k.a. humongous cockroaches. But their equivalent ant baits merely caused our annoying ants to snicker. (That’s “annoying,” as in pouring out cereal that doesn’t snap, crackle, or pop, but seethes with movement.)

    What I finally found that works, and it works GREAT, is the liquid Terro ant bait. The only problem was that it wasn’t enclosed so I had to be careful to keep it out of child-accessible places. However, I see they now have it in a pre-filled form, so that’s what I’d use if I were you.

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