The Ants Came Marching…
I found them marching up the wall, under cabinets, inside equipment and even in the microwave. I couldn’t find where they had entered which frustrated me even more.
The summer was stupendous! It was hot but dry. My plants, or should I say, weeds didn’t like it, nor the grass, nor the new trees planted last fall. And living in a home that doesn’t have air conditioning … there were plenty of un-sleepable nights. Still, I enjoyed it – but I digress.
On one glorious Saturday day, while taking a lunch break on the deck, my husband and I discovered ants. Big ants, little ants, baby ants – I discovered them first on a cracker I was about to eat. On a flax-seed cracker. Do you know how disturbing it is to see the flax seeds move! Thankfully, we discovered them before any were consumed. When we went into the pantry, THEY WERE EVERYWHERE! I mean how had we NOT seen the army invasion!
Of course I looked first in the cracker box and, sure enough, teeming! That started what seemed like a never-ending discovery of bugs in every open jar or box in the pantry. It took about three minutes to figure out anything that wasn’t in a can or bottle or sealed package had to be thrown out.
Four hours later and no sense of humour to be found for miles, the entire pantry had been cleaned out, scrubbed down and ant traps laid. The temperature outside was 35°C, with a humidex of 42°C. I had to throw out over $300 worth of food and, to top it off, I pulled an arm muscle. I have no idea where or how they came into the pantry and lived their charmed life for who knows how long – but what I did observe was the quality of food they preferred. They didn’t hit saltine crackers. No, they went for the $5.95 specialty cracker with pumpkin seeds and cranberries. They didn’t find love in the no-name flour. No, they found the gluten-free, organic brown rice flour. They didn’t like Egyptian Spring in the white rice bag. No, they went for the hand-picked wild rice, I was given by my world-travelling foodie friend. I found them marching up the wall, under cabinets, inside equipment and even in the microwave. I couldn’t find where they had entered which frustrated me even more.
After several weeks, I re-scrubbed the pantry and starting putting the cans back. Slowly I have begun to repurchase staple goods. It’s costing a fortune! What I don’t do is buy anything more in bulk. I only purchase what I need when I need it. That was one of the other discoveries I made while cleaning the pantry – way too much stuff! Like I have enough gelatin to make over 32 jellied salads! And enough vanilla to last me to the next millennium. Oh, and why do I own six boxes of dessert topping? The benefactor of all this – the food bank! I have 50 lbs of overstocked canned goods that can be used by someone who’s cupboards are much barer than mine.
So… let’s think about those who are struggling to put a hot meal in front of their family. Clean out your cupboards of your canned goods. Pay it forward. And while you’re there, keep an eye out for the ants!