Friday, March 27, 2009

Food Flight, food wrap, extermination, Em's famous catfish, gardening, etc.

Several years ago, No. 1 drove off to California with some friends. I made sandwiches for them to take in a cooler (which they left in California) and thought hard-boiled eggs might also be good for the drive. I started the eggs to boil, got busy with something else (as I'm wont to do) and eventually went to bed for the night. Em was working out-of-town on contract somewhere during this period in our lives.

I was awakened by what sounded like missiles zipping through the air and got up to determine the source of the noise. The water had burned off the eggs and they'd launched, flying all over the kitchen. Might have been 2 or 3 years later when we'd hired two guys to wash all the walls that I found myself saying, "Pay special attention to the egg on the ceiling over there, please."

Fast forward to last night. The garage freezer was pretty empty and needing a defrost, so I did that last week in order to take advantage of the seasonal sales being advertised. Yesterday's "haul" took many hours of separating and wrapping, so I might have been a little tired when I made dinner of garlic chicken, slightly breaded asparagus spears and sweet potato casserole for the convection oven. Tired or not, I set it to bake a few more minutes than necessary and the pecans atop the casserole turned black, as did a few asparagus spears. Using oven mitts (as is my SOP), I put the glass casserole dish and the much lighter racked chicken/asparagus pan on a cooling rack which I carried from the counter to the island for serving. The counter was only TWO steps from the island, but during those two steps the glass casserole dish launched, hitting the floor 8 feet away (I just measured), throwing sweet potato casserole as far (into the frontroom) as 14.5 feet! I cleaned up the obvious last night, but doing the routine Friday cleaning today, both of us found more sweet potato casserole in the weirdest of places. Projectile missiles come in many forms.

After our trip to the stores yesterday we came home to find an exterminator working on the house nextdoor. We're familiar with exterminator "talk" because we hired one once to help us get rid of pharoah ants. I'm pretty sure we still have pharoah ants, sugar ants, fire ants, and the latest addition is carpenter ants. We also have spiders EVERYWHERE, using the vacuum method to semi-control them. We don't expect to EVER be free of ants, spiders, or any other insects. We live in Texas, for goodness sakes. We're grateful we don't have the BIG ones or the scorpions.

But, Em was concerned because he's been watching a trail of large ants marching up the side of the house outside the TV room window, so he asked the guy to stop by and talk to us when he was done. The guy charges over $500 (every 6 months) for a complete "guaranteed" extermination and pointed out how we have spiders (DUH!) and fireants outside. Heh. They make their living scaring people, so I pointed out how our spiders are also brown recluses, but how we couldn't do a complete extermination because I'm growing food in places he wants to lay poison. I left them then to go wrap food and launch missiles, but we'll be taking a much more nuanced approach to extermination. I'm not opposed to using insecticides IN the house for immediate results IF that method doesn't result in breaking up a nest into 40 or 50 nests in the process. Carpenter ants don't tend to respond to insecticidal sprays like pharoah ants, so when I saw carpenter ants crawling up the outside of our bedroom today on the INSIDE of the windows, I gave them a spray. I doubt they have a nest here YET, because this is the first time we've seen them and right now is their "season". If we'd been seeing them year-around, it would be more likely that we have a nest in-house. We'll keep our eyes tuned to them, though, and approach them like we approach the other ants that seem to like living inside our house (baiting them with boric-acid in some form of sugar or protein).

I coulda/shoulda got a few pics of that mess last night, but I didn't think of pics beyond the fish wrap. Em makes the bestest ever fried catfish and we were down to one meal left at defrost/inventory time, so bought 15 pounds yesterday (which will make 13 meals for the two of us). I tried cutting our portions in previous packaging, but always felt cheated, so this year's portions are less what we should eat and more what we want to eat.

The gardens are doing well. 60% of the asparagus have sprouted, 2 of 3 rhubarb have leaves, the blueberry bushes are leaved and those from last year also flowering. Bought tomato plants from Home Depot because the seeds I'd planted sprouted and then withered before getting to the transplant stage, so we have 9 celebrity tomatoes and 9 better boy tomatoes outside along with maybe 20 strawberry plants that are doing well, along with 2 cilantro plants (also purchased, although seeds have been planted outside, as well), and one lemon balm. In addition, we have volunteers of maybe cantelope or cucumbers all over the place.

Haven't yet seen life on any other bushes besides blueberry and don't even know how to recognize life on the horseradish. Set the sweet potato starts out before the recommended date because they were drawing fruitflies on the bathroom window. Turned out one of them had died. Also got the regular potato "apartment house" going with more potatoes (white and red) that had been growing on the windowsill. Got some green bell pepper starts yesterday, but we're having a few days of cooler weather this weekend, so I won't put them out until next week.

Can't remember off the top of my head what seeds I planted around things in the past few weeks, but I wrote everything down. I know I started lettuces and spinaches, but didn't yet get around to kale or other greens.

Been doing much better moderating my time ... gardening, wedding planning, indoor activities, entertainment, chores, communication, etc. No. 1's wedding shower will be coming up April 11th and I'll be making pulled pork sandwiches (on my homemade buns) and potato salad for the group. That will be our next meat purchase and I'm thankful that I won't need to separate and wrap it.

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