May 25, 2007

Go to the ant, o sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise.

Have you ever observed ants? I mean really closely watched them? They're fascinating!

I've had several opportunities to observe their world because they keep coming into mine. All that is needed is one crumb on the floor and they sniff it out. We're talking sugar ants, here. Those teeny tiny ones.

Some came in yesterday. A crumb on the kitchen floor lured them in. I followed their trail and it led down the grout lines of the tile floor over the threshold, into the den, down the side of one wall, all the way down the other wall where they ducked under the baseboard.

I love to watch the way they single-mindedly sniff out their path - the pheromone trail left by their "snack scout". Ants travel to and from the food source along this one trail, bumping into each other along the way, while chanting their mantra - food, food, food.

What I like to do is kill one. Just one. And I do it at their point of entry into the house.

This stops others from coming in. My favorite part is how the ants on the trail react when they get close to the site of their lost compadre. They stop dead in their tracks, do a 180, and head in the opposite direction. I suspect they warn each buddy they pass because they all turn back.

Turn back! Turn back! They got him! He's down!

Yesterday I killed one where they were coming in and watched them for a while. Two ants were carrying one huge chunk they had chiseled off of a crumb. It was too big for one so both were working together to get it back to the queen.

What teamwork! You walk backwards. No, I don't want to walk backwards, you walk backwards.
Before the warning signal got transmitted too far down the trail, I killed them, one by one, until I approached the sweet nugget of sugary goodness they had attacked like Uruk Hai swarming on Helm's Deep.

These creatures are so small, yet they can carry something several times their own weight. They are so skilled yet so teeny weeny. Their legs are thinner than a human hair. Their head is no bigger than the dot of an 'i'. Yet in this speck of a body, they have been created and given abilities that allow them to conquer things bigger than they are and sustain themselves.

Intelligent design. How can it be denied?

Evolve from a cataclysmic explosion in space. How can it be given credence?

Then I killed one in the valley surrounding Mount Munch. What I observed was remarkable!

One little guy headed down the trail to bring his gift to the queen when he detected the "somebody got squished" pheromone. He turned and headed back toward the mountain to tell his buddies. Now he didn't just choose the first guy he came to. He chose the big guy - the one who looked like a regular sized ant - who was at the base of the mountain. I suspect this guy had some "special purpose" since he was bigger than the rest.

I think he was wearing a hard hat and I could see a wee little clipboard in his hand.

Anyway, El Jefe spread the word to the workers on Crumb Mountain. They seemed a bit agitated - aw man, we're being attacked - then went back to work on disassembling the food. Then El Jefe and his sidekick started trying to find a new path back home. Hunting and pecking, here then there.

I'm sure they would've succeeded, but the giant destroyed them all. Muahahaha!

Until next time, when I will use a magnifying glass to get a closer look.....

May 21, 2007

Preserving Intergalactic Relations

It's been over two weeks since I posted?! Wow, things have been busy around here.

Our history co-op ended a couple of weeks ago and we had our last den meeting. You'd think -- or I thought -- things would slow down to a nice pace and we would be uninterrupted in our quest for The End of School.


Lots of emails, various scout stuff to tend to, doctor's appointments, haircuts. I had a little meltdown. I'm fine now, pretty much, but I realized I already have a tidy little to-do list for summer and I'm bound and determined to GET IT DONE!

One nagging thing on my list is that I have to frame some pictures.

A UFO landed in our backyard and the aliens inhabited the bodies of my children. This is the only explanation for the fact that a ball bounced off the stairwell wall and knocked the pictures off it. Fortunately, for the little aliens, nothing broke, but the pictures in one of the frames shifted so I might as well take them out and fix them, and while I'm at it, hang the pictures we had taken of the kids (last summer!) But first, I needed frames for them.

I scoured a few stores looking for frames. Four stores actually. My first visit was to Aaron Bros. because this is where I purchased my first installment of dark brown frames that are currently adorning my stairwell wall.

Unfortunately, brown is out; black is in.

I rather like the look of pictures framed in black, but I had committed ($$$) to dark brown frames in my stairwell figuring they would be lovely and warm against the fabulous paint color on the walls (in my fantasy world - Watch it, CB.)

But this framing is proving quite a hurdle to be hurdled. It's not that I mind framing them. It's the hanging them. You know, figuring out the right spot on the wall and trying to line the hooks up and get the nail right. And they're quite different than the frames currently/formerly on the wall. They're more contemporary and I'm worried they'll stand out in a not so good way. Oh, well, they're going up good or bad.

Now, what to do with the aliens.....

May 2, 2007

Green Marble

This green marbel (aka marble) was such a great idea I just had to post on it. My CB is quite creative, is he not? The kids need exercise? Throw a green marble out in the backyard and tell them to find it.

It's actually not a bad idea, but I don't think they'll get the physical workout they need on their hands and knees, although the whining they'll do will up their respiration rate. Whining as a form of exercise.....this just might work.

I have given serious thought to the Y.....again. The trick is that by the time we're finished with school in the afternoons, so is every other child in this town, so we'd be there just in time for the after-school rush. But then again, I'm not sure what the Y offers so there may be ways around that.

Now, on to the crock pot.

Just last night I thought, "I really need to commit to crock pot meals on the nights we're out. It would be wonderful if dinner were ready right now." So great minds think alike, MathMom!

A mutual friend of ours got me thinking about crock pot meals a few years ago when her schedule was out of control crazy. Following her lead, I went to the bookstore to pour over crock pot cookbooks (say that 5 times really fast) and found that a disproportionate number of recipes require you to sear the meat before you put it in the crock pot, meaning you have to do some thawing and "cooking" and dirtying of dishes beforehand and we all know we just want to throw the frozen meat in the pot with some water or soup and leave it alone for the rest of the day, throwing in vegetables later on for nutritional effect.

Needless to say, I abandoned that plan primarily because 'crock pot' in the ancient Dutch language is "krohken potje" and it means "dump and go" and I respect the Dutch because they have contributed much to the modern world like Rembrandt and microscopes and gouda and those adorable wooden shoes.

But Life is looking like I may have to revisit this culinary option because I am not the kind of person to cook a lot of meals and stockpile them in the freezer as in Once-a-Month Cooking.