Friday, July 29, 2011

The Shade Of The Mother Trumps The Shade Of The Moon

But before I get to that, does anyone know a system for ridding a kitchen of gnats?

I don't know for sure they're gnats- that's my generic term for little nuisancy insects that have a particular fondness for fruit salad. They've been hanging out in my garbage can, so I moved my garbage can to my patio this morning, hoping they'd take the hint, but now there are scores of them hovering around in my kitchen. I suppose I could spray them to death with insecticide, but I'm reluctant to do that.

Hold on. I'm going to try spraying them with white vinegar. Worse comes to worst, I can eat them in a salad...

Well, that's not going to make it to Helpful Hints From Heloise, but I have to admit it was the best time I've had in a while.

In my book Kid Power, Janie has to get rid of Japanese beetles (has their name been changed to something less nation specific?), so she tries a trick I learned in Women's Day or Family Circle- taking some canned fruit and putting it in a bowl and then putting the bowl in a bigger bowl of water. The idea is the beetles get drunk on the fruit and keel over into the water and drown.

I actually tried it once, several years after the book was published. Not a single beetle fell for the trick (I guess they'd read Kid Power), but a number of wasps did. I have a live and let live attitude towards wasps and hornets, so I felt kind of bad about that.

It's lunchtime too, but I don't feel like making anything with dozens of gnats looking over my shoulder. Le hungry sigh.

It's been a difficult week even without the gnat invasion. My mother and I spent five relatively pleasant hours in the emergency room Monday night, and she's been in the hospital ever since. She's getting released this afternoon and will go to the nursing home where she spent some time this past fall. She likes it there a lot, so that's a good thing. As best we can figure out, her blood pressure spiked which started the problems and then the hospital made her sicker (as is their wont).

My brother spent Wednesday in the hospital with her so I could get some work done, but I didn't. There were too many phone call interruptions. So I've left all your comments unanswered, although believe me, I read each and every one of them and appreciated each and every one of them.

I did figure out a slightly new direction for The Shade Of The Moon, but I got an email from Princess Summerfallwinterspring last night saying she wasn't feeling well. If she doesn't make a miraculous recovery, I won't be able to consult with her, and might actually have to plot the book on my own. Which doesn't seem fair, all things considered.

On two very different subjects (intended to distract you from my confession that I haven't been working), Scooter makes a special guest star appearance over here, and The New York Times has an interesting article about the effect of e-books on paperbacks.

I suppose I should see what the gnats and my mother are up to. Maybe one or the other will take over writing my book for me!


Jeff Vincent said...

I've always heard to just leave out a small bowl of apple cider vinegar with a little dish soap in it and the gnats will drown. I did some quick research and it looks like you can get creative with this concept and build a "gnat trap" which combines killing gnats with arts and crafts.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Jeff Vincent-

I have now filled (well, half filled) one of those florist arrangement vases that's been sitting on my kitchen counter for a long time because who knows what to do with it with a combination of apple cider vinegar and dish washing detergent. The gnats were excited to see me, but I don't know how they'll react to this little poisonous (but not harmful to the environment) cocktail.

I spoke to a friend who suggested the gnats aren't gnats at all but fruit flies.

I don't care what they are. I just want them gone!

Wanda Vaughn said...

Sending well wishes for your mom. Hope she's feeling better soon!

Your youngest biggest fan said...

hope your mom feels better. i know whats its like to have a older loved one in the hospital. my grandpop past away 2 cristmases ago. but if your moms that old nothing is gona stop her!

Lee said...

Best wishes to your Mom too!

I learned a good trick for fruit flies - take some vinegar, get a 2-litre pop bottle, cut the top off and turn it upside down so it creates a funnel.

Put the vinegar (perhaps add a banana peel) in the bottom, duct-tape the top part back onto the bottle.

The flies crawl down into the bottle and can't fly out again.

More here:

vanishonthebow said...

I had an invasion of something, gnats or fruitflies or whatever they are, twice at my apartment. I took my trash out more frequently, and hid all my food - never even left a banana on the counter. I put vinegar down the garbage disposal to clean it out a little and cleaned off all my surfaces... It seemed to help a lot. After a few days the population pretty much died out. I still see them here and there but nothing like what it was. We had A LOT, which it sounds like you do! The vinegar in a cup thing never worked for me. Best of luck! I know how awful it can be to have such an invasion.

Bridget Higdon said...

Oh Susan! Seems Like you have a lot going on! Good luck!

Amanda Leigh said...

Best wishes to your mom, I hope she's feeling better soon.