Constant Carnage or Conquered Cohabitation?

The first thing I do every morning when I climb the stairs to our kitchen is peek around the corner to see if I can see ants in the floor and then  flip the light on and check the sink and counters for more intruders. More mornings than not there are at least a few scrambling around somewhere. A good day is a few. A bad day is a full sink. Or a trail coming down from the ceiling. That’s happened too.

If they’re in the sink I just flush them down the drain and watch as their on-counter companions retreat in droves for the nearest tiny exit hole. Probably one I’ve already sprayed or plugged with bait half a dozen times.

You see, that’s the thing about the ants here: they don’t care. I spray them with poisons (even one type of poison outlawed in the United States because of its effects on humans); the first few die and the others climb over their fallen comrades and continue their raid. I spread tasty Combat-brand ant bait around all their favorite entry points; they eat it and say “thank you” and continue on their way after my garbage disposal. I use traps; they ignore them. I scatter piles of ground cinnamon on the window sills (because I’ve been told by many that that works); it doesn’t; it just makes my kitchen look dirty. I squish them, stomp them, vacuum them and drown them and they just keep coming!!! Short of burning the house to the ground, I don’t know what else to do.

We’ve determined that they mostly come in after water, since I do keep the kitchen clean and the sink mostly empty. But we haven’t had good rain in months and they mainly congregate around the faucet so that has to be what they want.

Which brings me to the following confession: I am learning to live with ants.

There are always a few scattered on the kitchen counters, but as long as they aren’t directly in the way of me preparing food, I leave them be (my rule of thumb is about 15. More than that and I bring in reinforcements). We also have ants downstairs in our bedroom that come in under the window every night at around 9ish and follow a set path underneath the dog kennel, in front of the bathroom door and underneath our entertainment center, where Meera has lost a few bits of dog food that I just can’t reach with any cleaning utensil known to man.

I was going on a tirade every night around 10, vacuuming and stomping and spraying until nobody could breath in the bedroom and everything with more than four legs was deader than a door nail. However, that gets really old after a while and, like everything else, it doesn’t work. So I’m learning to just step over that particular line of grout where they walk and go about my business while the tiny scavengers go about theirs. They’ll get what they came for and be gone by morning anyway.

It’s gross, I know, but sometimes things have to be sacrificed in the name of personal sanity.

So, do you ever just throw up your hands and let nature have its way or are you a fight to the death kind of person?

Dragon Sightings Reported in Eastern Caribbean

**DISCLAIMER: This has been my most popular post of all time, with 8,758 views in three years. That doesn’t even count 2013, when it was published, so I would say well over 10,000 total. Everyone, this was a spoof news story, never intended to be taken seriously. Thank you for all the comments, but dragons are not real. I’m glad I am such a convincing news writer, but please don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Thanks. Now, with reality in mind, please enjoy the post.**
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – March 27, 2013 – DRAGON SIGHTINGS REPORTED IN EASTERN CARIBBEAN

Local hikers on the island of St. Kitts in the eastern Caribbean have recently reported dragon sightings in and around the island’s dormant volcano, Mt. Liamuiga.

The hikers, students at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, report seeing large shadows in the persistent fog around the volcano’s crater while hiking last weekend.

“It was like the biggest bird I’d ever seen,” said one hiker. “Just this huge dark shape moving through all the fog. The heat up there was intense!”

This is not the first time visitors to the mountain’s crater have reported strange occurrences at the peak. A group of tourists last October reported seeing bursts of flame and hearing a muffled roaring sound coming from the caves at the crater’s bottom.

These dragon sightings also serve to explain why the fields of St. Kitts are constantly on fire.

“Every day you drive down the Bypass and see clouds of black smoke rising from some area or another. There are scorched fields around every turn, and no one ever seems to know how the fire got started,” a local explained. “We live in fear for our homes and our livelihoods.”

Government officials on the island have refused to confirm or deny the presence of mythical creatures on Mt. Liamuiga, insisting that the raging blazes are “controlled burns to clear fields for development.” However, locals find it hard to believe that so many controlled burns would consistently threaten the homes and businesses of island locals and visiting tourists. Many find the presence of dragons a more plausible explanation.

Experts in the field of mythological creatures have come to the island from around the world, hoping to confirm the dragon sightings.

“We are looking for tell-tale markers that would indicate the presence of dragons in the area,” said one scientist. “Things like scale sheddings, particular types of scorch marks and piles of exceptionally large excrement will let us know exactly what type of creature we’re dealing with here.”

If the presence of dragons is confirmed, a special quarantine area will be constructed around the volcano’s rim to protect these ancient creatures from human interference, as well as to protect the local population from further dragon attacks.

More information will be provided as the investigation unfolds.

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What have I gotten myself into….

Ok, so most of you have heard me talk about all the little Easter bunnies and chicks I’ve been crocheting for the RUSVM student community in recent weeks. Well, last Wednesday was adoption day, and even though all my animals had been pre-ordered, I still had a lot of people stop to ask about them and about placing orders for other animals.

I left campus Wednesday with about 9 new animal orders (some of them for Easter chicks and bunnies, which will be the last Easter chicks and bunnies I ever make. Ever.). Then Thursday I woke up and turned on my computer to find that the Chesnut Crochet Creations Facebook page had blown up overnight – literally doubling its “likes” – and my inbox was crammed with new order requests! I wasn’t able to close my Facebook or my Excel order spreadsheet (yes, it’s even come to that) all day long. Every single time I checked I had new orders and new requests for price estimates. Friday evening I actually had to post that I am no longer taking new orders until I can start to get a handle on what’s already come in.

Right now, looking at my list, I have three orders that have to be finished in the next three weeks (for graduating students) and 27 other animals to be finished throughout the year. 27!! That includes the four bunnies and four chicks that are repeated orders, but the other requests are at least spread out across a wide variety of projects. Here are just a few of the items that have been ordered so far.

Free pattern Olivier - ordered by Christine Caisse and Alison Palmer  Ravelry: Cutest Little Sperm Whale pattern by Patricia Castillo - ordered by Christine Caisse  Eduardo the donkey - ordered by Rosalba Oramas   Miss Giraffe amigurumi crochet pattern by StuffTheBody   Soren the Barn Owl - ordered by Christine Caisse and Polina Bazlova   Crochet Puppy - ordered by Karen Brown   Amigurumi Despicable Me Minion - FREE Crochet Pattern / Tutorial @dotti C C C McCoy

YES!! Someone has ordered a Minion!!! I am so excited about that one.

While the sheer number of orders has been a bit overwhelming, the individual projects themselves shouldn’t be too chaotic once I can actually get them started. The problem right now has been a lack of supplies, but I hope to be going craft shopping in town tomorrow to find colors for my most pressing orders and then Mom is sending me a giant duffle bag full of lush, beautiful yarny goodness in April, so that should cover a lot of what I need to get done.

So excited about this duffle bag. I might be more excited about the duffle bag than I am about April break itself. I might be more excited about the duffle bag than I’ve been excited about anything in a very long time. (Did I mention that I’m super pumped about a certain duffle bag?)

I’m grateful to have such a willing supplier, as well as several ladies from home that have gone through their own craft closets and sent my mother bags and boxes of yarn, ribbons, fabric scraps, buttons and a variety of other things to fuel my crochet animal obsession. I am very appreciative of all of you – you know who you are. 🙂 (Yarn is sold here, but in small quantities and very limited color choices, so shipments from home are vital to filling my orders.)

The students seem very excited about it, and while I was on campus Friday selling a rabbit to a pre-order customer, I had three different people approach me and ask if I am the “cute animal lady.” Apparently, I have a name now, which ranks me with the Bread Chick and the Cake Pop Momma (also self-employed campus novelties). It’s a real honor; it truly is.

I’m thankful that my Momma taught me how to crochet so many years ago and gave me the basic skills needed to expand into the “cute animal business.” I didn’t think I’d ever find anything to do here that would give me a sense of purpose and allow me to contribute financially to our family, but I’ve been blessed with a way to do both and I couldn’t be more grateful. I may not be making much money by U.S. standards, but as long as I can pay our electric bills and keep that much more money in our loan account, I’ll be happy.

There are even whispers in the works to open an Etsy shop, which is something a good friend suggested way back in the beginning before we ever moved here. This would be a mother/daughter endeavor and probably won’t happen until after the St. Kitts years are over, but if you can wait that long the Creech/Chesnut craft obsession might be available for sale in your area too. 🙂

Hurricane off the port bow!!

(Bonus reader points if you know which of my favorite movies that line comes from.)

Ok, so it’s not hurricane season yet (that starts in June), but you can sure tell we’re headed in that direction. The weather here has been beautiful – your idyllic Caribbean vacation weather – since early December. “Summer” (as opposed to what, I don’t really know) doesn’t technically start until May, but those of us who have been here through the “winter” can already tell it’s starting to heat up again.

Of course, “heating up” is a very relative idea around here.

Basically I mean that there isn’t quite as much breeze off the water, the ceiling fan doesn’t seem to be quite as effective as it was and I find myself kicking off the bed covers more often than last month.

Yes, I know, all my polar vortex friends back home are throwing things at their computer screens right now and making up new things to call me.

You’d think that as a Tennessean I’d be used to the unrelenting humidity that makes you want to take a shower every time you step outside. But I’ve realized that, at home, you get to go inside. You endure the pressing heat for the time it takes you to get to your car or into a building, and then you cool down and spend the majority of your day inside an air conditioned office, house or vehicle. So, yes, your desktop weather report might say the temperatures and humidity levels are technically the same here as they are at my parents’ house, but remember, we don’t have air conditioning, so 89% humidity is a lot hotter when you have nowhere to go to escape it.

My in-laws are coming to visit at the end of April and asked me what they should pack to wear, because “it’ll be in April, so it won’t be so hot yet.” Ummm…. no. When the Mister and I got off the airplane at the end of last April, I thought I was going to have an instantaneous heat stroke right there on the tarmac. And we stayed that way for eight months.

But, rejoice! I only have one more summer to spend here and then I’ll be back in the great land of the changing seasons! (Albeit, just in time for Tennessee summer and tornado season, but, like I said, air conditioning makes a big difference.)

Can’t wait to see what Meera makes of her first cold snap…..

The Gang’s (Almost) All Here

Well I’ve almost filled the barn. I only have two Easter chicks and two bunnies left until all the Easter crochet critter preorders will be done. And thank goodness for that! I’ve made 28 of these things total, and I can tell you I intend to never make another bunny or chick ever again. Other animals, yes certainly, but no Easter-themed orders.

In other crafty news, one of the Ross students gathered together a group of students interested in learning to knit or crochet and we are having our first group meeting tomorrow evening. This student, Samantha, will be teaching those who want to learn to knit (I have no idea how) and she’s asked me to teach the beginning crocheters. Most of the comments on the Facebook page show interest in granny squares, so I’ll spend tomorrow finding good patterns for beginners and making a few example swatches to demonstrate the various basic stitches. Should be fun; I hope for a good turn out. I’ve only ever tried to teach one other person before and that was stressful, so I hope this group is more determined to learn.

I’ve been working on making African Flower hexagons in the past few days, which I hope to one day turn into a blanket.

african flower hexagon crochet

This is an African Flower hexagon – a type of shaped granny square – that can later be attached into a larger blanket.

My mom is sending a duffle bag full of new yarn colors with my in-laws when they come to visit in April, so I’m very excited to get that when it comes. So many possibilities!

What do you think I should make next?

Siridean – The Legend of the Faerie Cross Begins

Well, readers, I finally know someone who has done it.

Mrs. Joy Stephens, wife of the UT Martin church of Christ student center leader and a friend of mine, has written a novel, now available on amazon.com in paperback!

I’m waiting for the Kindle version to be released later this month, so I haven’t started it yet, but I know Mrs. Joy, so I know this is an epic adventure story appropriate for Christians – young and old alike. You won’t have to wonder what your children are going to be reading with this series.

Siridean is the first book of the Faerie Cross series, a story of an Irish princess destined to destroy the archangel who rescued her from an early death. Read the Amazon.com book review below:

There was a time that it didn’t look like Aishling would ever be in this position. When she was just six years old, a war between clans left her dead…until she was brought back to life by Raphael (aka Rafe), a rare healer and archangel who used his powers to save the little girl. For Aishling, the price for that act of kindness is just now coming into focus. For Rafe, transgressing the rules without authority has cost him dearly ever since. Battle trained with many supernatural tricks up her sleeve, Aishling is now a far more dangerous foe than she might at first appear. Bound by prophecy to marry Patrick Kavanaugh, the son of the next most powerful clan and also one of her best friends, she meets Rafe at the Hogueras Festival in Spain during her first year of college. Drawn to him, she has no idea of his true nature—or their long history. What she does know is that this man moves her in a way that Patrick never could. For Rafe, ten years burning as a demon followed by a life as a mortal possessed by demons has not deterred him from pursuing his goal of regaining his place as an angel. But his meeting with Aishling is no mere coincidence: he is protecting her as the powers of good and evil are destined to explode in a confrontation that will decide the fate of their lives—and our world as we know it. Well paced with fully realized characters and clever plotting, its sense of unrelenting tension binds the proceedings and fully invests the reader with the epic struggle facing her young heroine. An action-adventure series of uncommon intelligence and suspense, Siridean: Legend of the Faerie Cross signals the arrival of a new, first-rate young adult author and her must-read first series. -Createspace: An Amazon Company

Visit http://www.faeriecross.com or http://www.siridean.com to learn more (and to watch the book trailer, which features one of mine and the Mister’s good friends as the angel Rafe), and order yourself a copy on amazon!

Birthday Antics

So the Mister’s birthday was this past Saturday and I made my first attempt to throw him a surprise party Friday night. I say “attempt” because he figured out there were people coming an hour or so before they arrived, but at least it lasted that long. (When you tell a man he has to put on decent clothes after his shower, it tips him off that something is going on.) He was a good sport about it though and let me surprise him anyway. It was a good party and we had fun – melted strawberry cake and 30+ mosquitoes and all. (What’s a party without a mosquito-smashing tournament?)

A group of our island family also went to see the new Robocop movie Saturday night. Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about a terrible film. Definitely on my “top 5 worst movies I’ve ever seen list.” I spent the majority of it getting angrier and angrier at the audacity of the characters that thought they had the right to turn a man’s humanity on and off at will. But part of the fun (apparently, I was told later) was seeing how terrible it really was, so the Mister enjoyed it, anyway, and that’s what matters.

The day AFTER he turned 24, the Mister and I spent 6+ hours watching ABC Family’s classic Disney movie marathon. That is definitely something they should do on a regular basis. Enough of these tween-aged “Disney feature original” movies; give me animated animals, flying pirates and sing-a-longs any day.

The Mister and I have also started watching a British-based TV series called “Merlin” on Netflix and it is WONDERFUL! We absolutely love it. It’s about the legendary city of Camelot from the story line of the powerful wizard Merlin as a young man working for (then crown prince) Arthur. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes the legend of Camelot, action, adventure, magic, dragons or, really, television at all.

So, the Mister’s 25th year on this earth started with Disney frolics, legendary adventures and futuristic crime-fighting robots. Here’s to another wonderful year!

 

[Just in case anyone is wondering, the other movies on my “top 5 list of worst movies I’ve ever seen” include Field of Dreams and Transformers.]