Re-piping and Earth Day


Today is one of those days when the title of this blog is a misnomer. I’m not weaving daily, or at all for the past few days. We are having the house re-piped with copper. We had the sewer line replaced earlier this year. The house is 50 years old, these things must be done.

And its also Earth Day, so as an ecoartist, I’m supposed to be celebrating the life giving diversity in all nature. But there has been entirely too much natural diversity in our house recently. By my way of thinking, there are only three species allowed to live here: human, fish, and canine (and the canine we have is going to be the last of his kind in my house).

First there are the ants. They are repeat visitors, they come in a couple times a year and I have to try to make them go away. This week it got hot, and that’s one of the times they like to come inside looking for water. Yesterday I was wrangling ants. This means moving everything on the counter behind the sink, cleaning the tile, and spraying raid as sparingly as I can get away with. We have a wide swath of counter under the window behind the kitchen sink, and we have an elephant cookie jar, a ceramic dog water pitcher, a beaded giraffe, various dishes and bowls, and a jade plant. The ants like to come in through cracks in the grout at the corner of the counter and the back splash. I also have some little pellets I sprinkle outside along their trails that are supposed to be carried back and destroy the nest. I don’t really like all this poisoning, but I don’t know any effective, eco-friendly ways to get rid of them.

Second, we’ve been having little visitors in the night. And they’re invisible, you can not see them. Only their droppings are visible. One night I heard an awful ruckus in the kitchen. I got up and tip-toed out to the kitchen. Tip-toeing did not render my movements silent. The floor creaks, even under the carpet. I didn’t find the intruders, only a box of cookies with a hole chewed in the side. A friend lent us some traps, and we caught four of the little devils. Last week I went looking for how they’re getting in. I found some holes above the suspended light panels and covered them up with hardware cloth. I looked behind the couch in the family room, and I can’t even describe the horror I found there among a very thick carpet of dust.

Now the plumbers are under the house, and they’re going to make sure all the foundation vents are covered with hardware cloth by the time they’re done. Then if the furry mammalian squatters aren’t gone, I’m calling an exterminator.

The third species I had to evict are little moths. They’ve been flying around for a couple months, and I didn’t know where they were coming from. That’s actually why I moved the couch in the first place. I thought the moths were laying their eggs behind the couch. But after I had vacuumed under all the furniture in the family room, moths were still flying about. At this point I should explain that the family room is next to the kitchen, and the couch is within a few feet of the stove and some cupboards.

Last Sunday evening, I went to make rice and discovered we didn’t have enough of the white left. I dug to the bottom of the cabinet and got out the brown. It had been in there for a long time, and I found little moth cocoons in the creases on the outside of the plastic bag. So the next day I went back to look deep into the cabinet, and what I found is even more indescribable than what was behind the couch.

But I’ll try. It was explained to me many years ago that sometimes these little moths get into flour and other dry food products and lay eggs. After the eggs hatch, the larvae have a food source. My friend and neighbor who told me this then went on to say that’s why sometimes you open the flour and a moth flies out. That had never happened to me, but after this I always kept my flour in an airtight container. Supposedly, if you keep your flour and grain products in an airtight container, the eggs can’t hatch, they’re so tiny you’ll never know they were in there – lovely.

I had this conversation over 25 years ago, and it all came back to me on Monday as I began pulling out the boxes of nuts, rice and pasta I keep in that cabinet. I found a few bug parts in some old risotto and threw it away. There wasn’t any evidence of them in the open box of matzoh ball mix, or the matzoh meal. These are apparently goyish moths. I found a few more cocoons on some more plastic bags, and threw them away. Then I found the thing you should never have to find in your cabinet. It was a plastic container of pepitas, apparently not so air tight. I opened it and a moth flew out. I didn’t take a long look at what was in there and I closed it right away. I threw the whole container away – it was Tupperware, and I threw it away. I don’t throw plastic in the trash, and I threw it away.

Then I finished cleaning out the cabinet. I discovered something interesting about little grain-eating moths: they don’t poop where they eat. How very civilized, they choose a corner and all use it. It’s totally gross, I’m sorry.

On Tuesday I started to move things so the plumbers can work (read: put holes in the walls). What I discovered shocked me once again. Really, our clothes hamper could be moved to vacuum under once every two weeks. The dressers that stand on 6″ high legs could be vacuumed under, really.

Ok, so there’s a pattern here. I have clearly not been vigilant about the cleaning. Changes will have to be made.


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