Archive for August, 2007

The Ants Come Marching


This summer, Garnet has been dealing with ants in the house.

A stray on her desk in the studio might be one thing but a battalion is definitely another matter.

They entered through a gap between the wall and window above the kitchen sink and climbed all over the utensils drying in the dish drain. So everything had to be washed again.

After she patched that crack, another battalion appeared in the cabinet that houses such precious foodstuffs as the Ovaltine for Doobins’ morning glass of “Ovaltine milk,” as he calls it. So Garnet had to pull out all the food and wipe down the insides of the cabinet.

I have had my own visits from ants this summer.

His Dogness has always been a finicky eater, and, somewhere along the way, I started offering him food out of my hand as a way to encourage him.

Eventually, I was feeding him his whole meal by hand.

Although I’m mildly embarrassed that I do this – as you can imagine Mr. Whitfield makes fun of me for spoiling him – I find it a satisfying way to spend time with His Dogness. So I have never made a serious effort to try to break him of the habit.

And he has never stopped wanting to be fed that way. As more than one person has said, if someone were feeding you by hand, would you want him to stop?

During the summer, after we come back from our morning walk, I sit on the front steps to feed him.

The powdered medication that he takes for his kidneys has to be mixed in with his food. So I bring everything out and go through the ritual of mixing the powder with his food while he eagerly awaits his first bite.

As he eats, bits of food inevitably end up on the brick walkway that my father put in for me. If a big piece drops, His Dogness takes care of it himself.

If it is too small for him to bother with, I leave it.

After His Dogness has his breakfast, I go in and give Garnet a good-morning call. Next comes my breakfast and reading the paper followed by getting ready for work. By the time I take His Dogness out again just before I head off to work, at least a few ants are working on the bit of dog food.

Sometimes, lots are.

If the piece was small, it may be long gone by the time I come home. If it was a larger piece, they may still be hard at work. By the next morning, though, there is no sign of the food and no sign of the ants, and we start the process afresh.

I find it all quite satisfying.

Ants in the house, highly irksome.

Ants outside, highly entertaining.

Context is all.

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