Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kitchen Wisdom

I don't believe in killing any living thing, I just don't. So when the stray fly or beetle, centipede or moth finds its way into my living quarters, I usher it out. I catch it in a cup, bring it to the nearest door or window, and toss. Easy enough.

I used to own a fly swatter (a long long time ago), but no more. And the cup doesn't work so well with flies. So I usually will coral them, back them into a corner which happens to contain a wide open door, and out they go. Lately though, thanks to all the time I spent in Europe--the land of no window screens--this past year, I've adopted a whole new approach to flying insects. They really do find their own way out rather quickly. Easy come, easy go.

A swarm or an army is another matter, however.

Each springtime, I am reminded that I can easily attract tiny ant visitors by the hoard with the crumbs of kibble that invariably end up outside the cat food bowl. "Ant season" usually doesn't last that long. But it sure can be a drag to have to brush dozens of them into the dustpan to return them outdoors - almost daily. When the season seems to drag on, or when I wake in the morning to find that some all-but invisible stray food particle has lured them in droves up and over to the sink and drainboard, I lose it. I confess that in a spike of "This means war!" passion, I have flushed a good number of them down the drain (all the while petitioning for their forgiveness and my absolution) with a desperate quick sweep of the sink sprayer: voila. I feel lousy when I do this, but feel pushed to it. That's a justification, I know.

Suffice it to say that, when just on the verge of buying ant traps (silent, invisible deaths seemingly not by my hand...), I was tickled to find a number of safe, easy ant deterrent tips at the quick click of one Google search (why hadn't I researched this sooner??). Cinnamon, baby powder, salt, vinegar, pine, mint, ground chalk, and I forget what else. Because I have a good supply of them on hand, I bumped chalk, mint and vinegar to the top of the list and decided to start with the vinegar. The results were instant: IT WORKED! And I don't mean to kill the ants; I mean to disappear them.

What I did was pour plain white vinegar and a little water into a spray bottle and spray under the stove and sink unit, then around the cats' eating station. I let it dry as instructed. Et voila! They must detest the stuff, and they apparently detect it from afar, because I haven't seen an ant in the kitchen since. *

What a relief. Farewell murderous desperation; hello restored integrity! Long live all creatures great and small.

*reapply as needed.


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