Tuesday 30 August 2022

Fruit Fly Season

It's that time of year again.

Late summer.

And the fruit flies multiplieth.

They got a little out of control here about a week ago.

Some of them were so fat they could hardly fly.

But the little devils were still surprisingly agile and able to evade my quick hands* and the fly swatter.

Usually I dig out the cider vinegar and a shallow can, use an elastic to fasten plastic wrap over the top, and poke a few holes in the plastic with a toothpick. Fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar and crawl through the holes, but can't find their way back out again. When they accumulate, I take the can outside and let the flies go, hopefully before they drown in the vinegar.

I was too tired to do that this year, so instead I periodically threw a damp paper towel over the top of the container I keep my compostable items in, took it outside and released the fruit flies.

It was so much easier and very effective. In one evening I got rid of the majority of them. It usually takes several days to trap them using the vinegar method.

The only questionable moment came when I noticed a spider just outside the door. He was in the center of his web, waiting for some dinner, so without really thinking it through I waved the fruit-fly-laden paper towel in his direction, wondering if he'd like a treat. Four of the fattest fruit flies were immediately caught in the web. The spider ran lickety-split over to the first one and devoured it, then moved on to the second one and devoured it too. The other two flies didn't even struggle while this was happening.

By the next day the spider had packed his bags and moved on. You'd think he would stay where there were plenty of victuals but no.

I was glad he'd had a good meal, but I felt bad for the fruit flies. I was trying to release them into the wild and due to my reckless and thoughtless action they had .5 seconds of freedom before being caught and eaten.

Some days I hate Nature.

Then again, the spider wasn't the only one killing the fruit flies ... (see the * above)

Some days I hate my hypocrisy too.


Let's have a quick survey:

Do you swat, drown, or catch and release fruit flies?


What the Heck

Our local dollar store has a book section. I've found some pretty good books there for myself and I always check the children's books as well, hoping for something to interest my two little grandsons.

Recently I found a kids' book about a little mouse who hears a lot of strange noises after he's in bed for the night, and the noises scare him. Eventually he lets out a frightened cry, and his mama comes quickly to his bed and explains what all the noises were. He is comforted by her explanations and soon the only noise is the snoring of the little mouse as he falls fast asleep.

The illustrations were lovely; I was completely captivated by them.

And the story line addressed a common cause of children's fears.

I felt there was a slight problem with it, though.

The first noise the little mouse heard turned out to be an owl. The mama mouse said the owl was "singing".

But ...

. . . OWLS EAT MICE. Quite reliably, in fact.

Mama Mouse missed a very important part of educating her son about the dangers around him.

I don't blame her. She only did what the author made her do.

What was the author thinking? What was the publisher thinking?

As much as I loved the illustrations, I did not get this book for my grandsons. I don't want to be the one to cause trauma when they realize Mr. Owl wasn't "singing", he was hunting . . . 😬

Apologies to Charlotte (Mother Owl) and I hope she realizes this post is 99% tongue-in-cheek 😀


Sunday 14 August 2022

Highlights & Lowlights

It has been a relatively quiet week here.

Due to some crazy time recently with my mom, including this, I did a lot of reading about certain behaviors of dementia patients, and was able to pinpoint what I was doing to contribute to the crazy. Changing my own reactions to my mom's behavior has made the path much smoother. It's not perfect, of course. But I'm learning. (The essence of what I've learned is not to argue or try to use logic, no matter how unfair, untrue, or weird her conversation gets.)

There was another factor contributing to the crazy. Mom had family visiting from another province. She hadn't seen them since the summer before the pandemic started, and although she knew they were coming and was very much looking forward to their visit, when they arrived she did not recognize them and could not work out who they were, no matter how many times we explained it. After a three-day visit they left and she had some quiet time to think, and finally she realized who they were and she was distressed that she had, essentially, missed their visit. Fortunately, the two she most wanted to see were able to return for a day, and she was able to enjoy their second visit.

Remember how I mentioned I had returned to my workplace instead of working from home? When I went in Friday, my boss had a cough and some congestion. He had tested negative for Covid using a rapid test for two days running. On Saturday, however, he emailed staff to say he had tested positive.

So I've been exposed to the dreaded virus. I am a little freaked out, because I have iffy bronchial tubes (technically asthma) and I'm overweight, but I'll just have to wait (with dread) to see if I've caught it. I have had three Covid shots, but the most recent was way back in January. Our province recommends that my age group wait until this fall for the fourth shot.My mom has had a fourth shot, and although her age (92) is not in her favour, she is incredibly healthy, physically speaking. I'll be double-masking when I am around her, and keeping my visits to the briefest time possible. If I develop symptoms, I have a plan for getting her medication to her. I hope we have avoided the virus, or, if not, that our symptoms are mild.

We had a spell of very warm and humid weather which started two weeks ago and lasted for a little over a week. That doesn't sound like long, but I worried the whole time about my mother because prior to that she wouldn't use her air conditioner and seemed not to understand what it was for. When I tried to explain, she would get very upset at me. She somehow figured it out, though, and I mostly stayed away because when I visited her, she would follow me outside when I was leaving, leaving the door wide open and letting all the cool air escape from her house. I'm there every evening anyhow, so I could make sure she was okay at that time. I'm happy that the weather has moderated since then. That week was too stressful for my liking.

That's the highlights and lowlights reel from the Donkey's life recently.

Let's have a few funnies, shall we?


























My wish for you:

May your week be a great one; and if it can't be great, may it at least be good; and if it can't be good, may you at least not be squashed by a polar bear in your own home.

Stay safe, folks.




Sunday 7 August 2022

In Case You Were Wondering . . .

. . . this is how things are currently going whenever I visit my mom.

Every evening, seven days a week.

And twice on grocery day.


Footnote: It might not be quite this bad, but the comic certainly resonated with me :)


Wednesday 3 August 2022


A month ago, I was in the middle of a crisis. Not the kind that comes on suddenly, but the kind that results from a steady building of pressures, especially when many of them are out of a person's control.

I had work deadlines looming. I was dealing with several issues related to my mom. I was preparing for a family visit. I was trying to arrange to dispose of my second vehicle before a deadline came due. I was trying to figure out who to call about several issues that need taking care of around the house. I was trying to make financial and legal decisions stemming from my husband's death. 

I was becoming so overwhelmed by the things that had to be done that I became incapable of doing anything unless it was an actual crisis. It felt like my brain had frozen up -- like a computer hung up because too many programs are running for its capacity.

It was a scary feeling, one I've never had before, even during times of high stress. Even though I recognized what was happening, I couldn't find a way to change it.

The thing that finally saved me was that I had questions about my work which needed answered, and that meant I had to go into the office instead of working from home. Once I was there, I was able to concentrate just on working, and it gave my brain a rest from the loop it had been in.

I realized I felt more relaxed than I had been for weeks. I had re-discovered the power of work to get me out of my own head. I had discovered this right after my husband's death but it had slipped my mind again when my workload became less pressing.

The strange thing about this is that I would never have predicted it would happen to me. Work was always something that seemed like an additional stress, not a way to reduce stress.

And now I think I understand better my husband's laser-like focus on working throughout his illness, right up until a few weeks before he died. 

Work was a way for him to feel like his life still had some normalcy in it, instead of being completely consumed by illness, medication, and appointments.

Sometimes I felt shut out by his dedication to work. It felt like we had such limited time that we should be spending some of it together -- doing what, I don't know. There was nothing left unsaid, no visiting that we could do as it was during the shutdown portion of the pandemic, and he was not a person inclined to dramatic gestures. He wanted life to be the same as it had always been, and I understood that and tried to help make it happen, even as I realized more and more that life as we knew it was coming to an end.

It comforts me a little to realize that work is now doing for me what it did for him then. It feels like a new link to him and to our lives together, when so many connections have been broken. And I think he would approve.

Life goes on. 

A fawn sleeping in our back yard last summer.



I Overreacted About the Nettles

First, this happened.

Then, in the comments, several readers mentioned the benefits of growing nettles and how they could be used.

Finally, the link below was provided by a reader, Jon -- and it tipped me over the edge toward wishing I had not been quite so murderous-feeling toward the nettle plant in general and especially the one that stung me.

It turns out that nettles are an important part of the ecosystem for several types of butterflies and moths. And there are ways that gardeners can keep them from taking over their spaces.

I should have guessed that nettles -- like other maligned plants and animals -- have their place in the world. 

Don't we all?

(Thanks for that link, Jon.)