Monday, 27 May 2013

The Caterpocalypse

They're coming.
*insert Plants vs. Zombie music when the zombies start making their way onto your lawn. And maybe there's fog.  Or not.  But definitely zombies.*

Last weekend, we drove off to a wedding.  We noticed that the tops of the trees in the valley looked like they had been painted brown.  We guessed it was the start of the caterpiller outbreak we all figured was coming.

But it is so much worse. 

It's the Caterpocalypse.

My parents were on holidays, so my mom asked me to water her flowers and new strawberry plants. No problem.  I went every day, watered, bam. Done.

Thursday morning: I get a text from my mom.  Can you check on my rose bush in case of caterpillars? You'll have to start spraying it with soap solution once or twice a day.
I respond: Ok.  Sure.
Thursday evening, after work, I go to my mom's. I walk through the little arch into the back yard.

And I shat myself:

Holy shit.  Too late. Moment of silence for the rose bush.

Holy. Sweet. Peter. Paul. And. Mary. That used to be a rose bush. Like 24 hours ago. What. The EFF?!
Creepy crawly forest tent caterpillars everywhere! They're in the rose bush. They're stuck to the siding, they're crawling up the patio doors, trying to get into the house to devour my mom's brains.  Or houseplants. Who knows. They are vile, sick, and smell awful when squished.  But the only way to stop them is to squish them because the damn things don't seem to drown! And what with it being so DRY up here, you can't very well blowtorch the mothertruckers without causing a national incident.

So they keep coming.
Caterpillar orgy

And coming.
Caterpole dancing. Not sexy. At. All.
Those aren't even trees you idiots! That is a metal pole! No leaves! Not even green! Why would you climb it other than to gross us all out and make silky meshy webs all over the place that you need to pressure wash with gasoline?!

Oh. And you know what else is gross? Having a T ball practice in a field infested with caterpillars.  Because Yea! your kid is playing T ball! Yea he's going to bat! No, wait. The bat has caterpillars all over it.  Let's whack it a few times. Oh crap, now there's caterpillar guts all over the bat. And it stinks.  Wait, there are caterpillars crawling up my leg! OH SWEET JESUS GET THEM OFF GET THEM OFF GET THEM OFF! AAAAAAAH! WHY ARE THEY SO STICKY?!?! iBean does not like them at all.  One starts to crawl on her sandal.  She whimpers and then quivers and then full on freaks out.  Then I have to carry her for the rest of the one hour T-ball practice while the creepy crawlies fully take over my bag of water bottles and Off spray.  Which, for your information, does nothing to caterpillars.

Then you drive home. Back through a semi-wooded area, where the stench of the squished caterpillars on the road is like vomit and bile and decomp. And then you drive past all the bare trees (they just got their new spring leaves two weeks ago...they just want to be pretty.  WHY CAN'T THEY JUST BE PRETTY?!) And drive into your driveway, which is two houses up from the main road.  The caterpillars have only taken over the houses and yards on the river side, not the upside. They have not made their way across the road.

They're here.
They're in my driveway. Five days of inching their way through acres of forest and they have finally made it into my driveway.
And my garage.
WhAT?! My garage?! Close the door! Wait! Open the door!
Grab the big broom, sweep those things out!
Put down the broom, run to push the garage door button, but by the time I get there, the caterpillars are already crawling back into the garage! NOOOOOOoooooo! They're so fast!
Grab the broom. Sweep sweep sweep. Squishy squishy. Sweeeeeeeep! Hurry! Hurry Hard!
Run to push the garage door button.
Garage door is closing...closing...and it opens itself back up. Something triggered the sensor.
My brain finally turns on.  I grab the remote opener from the car.  I squish and sweep and swear and scream: GET OUT OF MY GARAGE YOU PIECES OF SHIT!!! And as soon as the last one is out, I push the button.  And wait. And watch. And see them starting to try and crawl back in.
Close faster! CLOSE FASTER! HURRY!!!!!!

And it closes. 

Safe for another day. But it's only a matter of time.

They're coming...

Saturday, 11 May 2013

33 ways to greener living

I read today that the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere are the highest they have been in 3 million years.
I would love to write a post about 3 million things you can do to help change that horrible fact, but that would be excessively long and I don't know if I personally know of 3 million things.  But here is a list of things that we (our family) does to lower our carbon footprint on a daily basis:

1. Wash laundry in cold water
2. Avoid purchasing food that comes individually wrapped. More wrapping not only means more waste, but involved more costs of production (more carbon) at the manufacturing plant.
3. When you clean the inside of your fridge, UNPLUG IT. Your food will survive.
4. Grow your own food.
5. Make your own food.  And that does not mean reheat food that you bought in the frozen section of the store.  It means buy actual ingredients and make real food.  I could go on, but you get the picture.
6. Buy a manually-powered lawn mower. Like this one.  We own it. Never have to sharpen the blades, easy to push. And the best part: no noise.
7. Plant less lawn and more food-producing plants.
8. Wear your jeans more than once before you wash them.
9. Shower with someone.  Hey - fun for everyone!
10. On hot days, keep windows closed and cover the windows during the day, open the windows at night.
11. When the heat is getting ridiculous, seek refuge in the basement.
12. Be naked.
13. On cold days: your car only needs 5 minutes to idle and warm up the motor in the winter.  5 minutes.  Not 10, not 20. Five.
14. Make less trips into town. Plan ahead and do all your errands at once.
15. Keep a reusable cup in your car for when you want to buy a coffee or iced-coffee.  No waste.
16. Use waste-free lunch containers like these.
17. Unplug your electronics EVERY NIGHT. The easy way: plug them all into a timer-equiped power bar. Then set the timer to turn on and off at a certain time each day. You have no idea how much power your LCD TV, blu-ray, etc are sucking when they are turned off. 
18. Use a rain barrel to water your plants.
19. Buy a green car. Not the colour green.  One with better fuel economy than your current car. Although the car could also be green on the outside. Not all families need minivans. You can fit three carseats into the back of a Prius.  We have done it.
20. Walk or bike to get where you need to go.
21. Turn the lights off when you leave a room.  Or install motion sensor light switches. 
22. Reuse plastic grocery bags as garbage bags for your bathrooms.
23. Use cloth diapers.  Even considering the cost and energy consumed to wash them, they are still much more green than disposable.
24. Compost
26. Turn down your hot water tank. Especially if you leave for a few days.
27. Turn down the thermostat at night and cuddle up to someone for heat.
28. Wash and reuse your ziploc bags.
29. Grow your own herbs and dry them. They taste so much better than store bought!
30. Make weed tea to fertilize your plants.  It stinks, but it works!
31. Drink regular tap water.  You can filter it through a Brita or whatnot, but it saves money and plastic from all those little water bottles.
32. Make your own iced tea from tea bags, lemons and sugar. The tea bags get composted, the lemons are biodegradable, and the iced tea is super delish. Want some recipes? Check these out.
33. If it's yellow, let it mellow...and get a toilet that uses less water per flush.

Off the top of my head, that's what I've got.

What do you do in your house?