Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flea Circus

We retired to our home after road tripping for much of June and July.  A scourge awaited us.

Walking into our century-old home resulted in one's ankles being immediately bespeckled with fleas.  In the time it took one boy to walk from the front door to the back, 20 fleas had made their home on each of his ankles.  While we have mostly hardwood floors, there are two bedrooms that still have old carpet (that needs to be pulled up) and a few scattered throw rugs.

That's where those f*ers breed.

And lay their eggs.  And hatch.  And feast on our dog.  And breed.  And...you get the idea.

Leave our dog alone, fleas!  

We've been victims of this vicious cycle all summer.  When I complained to the vet, I was told, "It's just a bad year for fleas."  

This, despite the fact that Yellow Dog has been given flea treatment since she was a wee pup.  Religiously.  Every month.  And we've treated the outside of the house.  And set off bug bombs underneath the house.

We had to step up our game.

So we set off bombs in the house.  This meant being banished for 4 hours, turning off the electricity to eliminate any air intake with filters, and busying ourselves with doing yard work and hanging out with our awesome neighbors until we could return to our abode.

Then, at about 10:00 p.m.,  the real work began:  washing every sheet, towel and article of clothing that had been exposed.  Vacuuming every inch of rug and carpet.  Mopping.  Wiping down counters, washing dishes and appliances that might have been exposed to the toxins we hoped would kill the nasties but not hurt us or dim our sons' chances for fathering offspring in the future.  It was a lot of work.

The next day, Aquaman treated the yard with more toxic stuff.  We couldn't walk on it or let Yellow Dog outside until it had all been watered in and allowed to dry.  We treated Yellow Dog with a Capstar.  I don't know what this little pill has in it, but the fleas drop dead in 4 hours.  Then we bathed her.  And vacuumed some more.  And washed her dog bed.

Then we waited to see if more fleas showed up.

So far, it's an all clear.

When the temperatures are in the triple digits, the fleas evidently step up their activity, but we rein in ours. Because 106 degrees isn't good for much but napping, reading, eating cold things and complaining about the heat. I've done my best to accomplish all of the above in the past week.

It didn't take long to figure out that when we turned off the electricity, our gas oven had decided that was just too much for it and gave up the fight altogether.

After Aquaman peered around, he declared that we needed a new igniter and promptly ordered it online. While we waited for this to arrive, I planned dinners with the slow cooker which is just a brilliant idea in the summer - even if your oven's not broken. The oven heats up the kitchen so much, that we also had installing a ceiling fan on our list of to do's that we decided to make a to done.

So now air flow in the kitchen is much improved. The oven part arrived in the mail and Aquaman installed it promptly.

The igniter that burned out.

The new igniter installed.

Then we did one of the only things that it's not too hot to do: make ice cream. Our favorite recipe is for Raspberry ice cream from the Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. It is divine. I believe it is the most heavenly ice cream on earth. It was especially good when we lived in Alaska and made it with our own raspberries fresh picked from our patch in the back yard. But it is still acceptable made with raspberries bought from a Super Target in Texas.

We make it with our Donvier ice cream maker -you freeze the aluminum canister ahead of time and you only turn the paddle a few times over a 20 minute period - no ice or salt required.  Then we throw it back in the freezer for 30 minutes or so.  It produces a kind of soft serve style ice cream.  

This is what our ice cream maker looks like.  They call this the "vintage" model now.  Wow.  

The ice cream maker was given to us as a wedding present by our dear friends who were finishing up vet school while we were finishing up graduate school and the pottery bowl I'm holding was given to us as a wedding gift from Aquaman's stepsister.  So it's kind of like people we love help us every time we make ice cream.  And that is a very cool thing.  

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