Battle of the ants

Thank you to all the kind messages about my back.  I have decided that I had a pinched nerve, which pinged back last week with a wave of pain that had me on my knees, then just got better and better every day.  I am so grateful for my New Zealand friend who called me, because sitting in a not very good posture-wise position, helped to un-trap it.  Oh the relief.  I can now walk to the bus stop, drive the car and carry on with normality once again.  

Meanwhile the ants have been sent to test my patience.  They have been displaced because of the hurricane and are revolted by salt.  That means they are trying to get away from the salty film on everything and relocate, inside our apartment.  I don’t think so.  I have to take my hat off to the ingenious ways they get inside.  We have bug screens on all the windows and doors, yet they manage to squeeze their way in.  They crawl up the drain, find tiny gaps between pipes and walls, come in on your shoes, get between your toes and crunch, damn that hurts.  They camouflage themselves with the carpet and suddenly spring seemingly out of nowhere right in the middle of the tile flooring.  To find out where they come from you have to start outside and find the source.  We have used everything we can think of from citrus cleaner, to white vinegar, to Lysol, to Bop.  My throat hurts from insecticides and they merrily march on.  They don’t seem to want anything.  We have left dishes out not washed after dinner and they’re climbing the bathroom wall.  The rubbish bin needed emptying and they are on the sofa.  We purposefully left a bucket of water outside, and they came up around the taps at the sink.  I went to use the frying pan, and discovered crispy fried ants after lighting the hob.  Yuk.  The cleaning and vacuuming and spraying was getting too much, and I realised we had to beat them at their own game.  I filled a spray bottle with table salt dissolved in water.  Not very strong mind, and sprayed all the entry points outside on the house.  It turns out the poor wee things die instantly.  So I sprayed everywhere I found them and once they had stopped, wiped it back off again.  Believe me, everything rusts in Bermuda, adding salt water isn’t a good idea.  But it seemed to work.  Then finally, it rained.  We’ve hardly seen an ant since.  

Yesterday I wondered what that was caught between the window and the bug screen.  I studied it for ages then came to the conclusion that the little dried up body, no bigger than my little fingernail, was indeed a tree frog.  The poor wee might.  I thought ‘I’ll keep that’ as my lovely husband would be keen to study it.  I kid you not, ten thousand ants were in my lounge in three minutes.  It had sat there unnoticed for days, but as soon as I moved it, seek and destroy.  Out it went.

Here’s a wee tree frog, it’s about half the size of a bottle cap, and fortunately not the one that got stuck inside!

Forty eight hours after the rain, out came the mosquitoes.  Bermuda mozzies don’t make any noise, they are stealth.  We will be sitting outside enjoying the view in the evening warmth with the sun going down, and pow, they start biting.  Citronella candles help, insect repellent helps, and I even took vitamin B1 for ages to stave them off, because I’m a packed lunch to a mozzie.  My friend from the UK asked about it before coming over to visit, and I said ‘don’t worry stand beside me and they won’t notice you!’. I researched on the internet about the best cure for bites.  You’ll never believe it, but I bought some and in two days you wouldn’t even know you have been bitten.  Vick’s vapor rub!  No wonder we find so many old jars while we’re snorkeling!

And finally some bad news.  George the lizard has disappeared.  We kind of hope he’s decided to hibernate with it getting cooler, and with the amount of chicken he scoffed.  I thought I saw him by my neighbours frog pond, but he was too far away to get a good look.  It was funny though because I was walking past and this lizard started rushing towards me on the other side of the fence, thought better of it, stopped short, did the little mini push ups and flared it’s neck to me in a threatening stance.  I said ‘is that you George?’ realizing quickly that I sounded a bit like an idiot talking to myself.  They usually run away in the opposite direction in a flash, so it was unusual to have one approach me at speed.  If it is him he’s being smart because we’ve accidentally acquired a young rooster, who is beating the cardinal birds and sparrows to the peanuts we feed them.  Hmm.  His crow’s not quite there yet and he will be short shifted if he decides to try it out before dawn.  He can go and join the ‘I don’t know what time it is’ rooster down the road.  George is safely contained in a fenced in area, where the rooster hasn’t figured out he can go yet, and I don’t think cane toads would eat him.  Surely he would be too big? Best not to think about it really.  

Here’s the new rooster with his prized brown hen who can’t do driveway etiquette yet!

The rooster has adopted brown chicken.  Also a young bird, who has no car sense whatsoever, and runs down the driveway directly in front of the car nearly every time we arrive home.  Hopefully he will teach her driveway etiquette. It reminds me of the time I was innocently on my walk and I came across a chicken that seemed strange.  She was all puffed up and making strange noises, and quivering.  I thought ‘she’s been hit by a car’ and approached her.  All of a sudden she burst at me, releasing a dozen tiny chicks, that scattered everywhere.  She made a hell of a racket and fluffed sticks and leaves all over the place while rounding them up and pushing them into the undergrowth.  I could hear them in there but they were so well camouflaged couldn’t see them for the life of me. What a fright, and to think that I thought she needed help!  I’m sure George will be fine.

More soon – Sally



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