July 9, 2011

The Great Ant Debacle of 2011

It's been an oddball kind of week with a little of this and a little of that. The big event of the week was finally putting living creatures in our ant farm.

I bought the kids one of those Space Age NASA ant farms for Ayyam-i-Ha and when I went to order the ants, I got an e-mail stating that because of the delicate nature of ants, they would only ship them once the address to which they were being shipped had temperatures with lows above freezing and highs below something in the ballpark of 80.  Well, in our quaint little valley it will be 80 in the mid day and then freeze around midnight, so needless to say, out ants never arrived.

But never fear!  This past weekend Haven discarded the unwanted 3/4 of a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich in the driveway (yes, we had words about that) and at the time I happened upon it, it was in the process of being carried away in bits by about ten thousand ants.  I seized the moment (with not nearly enough forethought) and shook the ant violently into a plastic cup, getting them all over myself in the process, and running as fast as I could with them into the house.  Once I was inside, I had to quickly try to determine where I had chosen to store the ant farm while we waited for our little friends who may or may not ever actually arrive in the mail.  In the mean time I'm shaking the little escape artists repeatedly back into the bottom of the cup.  I find it, and I can't open it. 

 By this time I'm panicking.  Some are on my arm, my foot, the kitchen counter.  But Hannah Jane heard my distress and came to help me pry the thing open.  Finally I go to dump them in and for whatever reason I was prohibited from fully grapsing the reality of how ten thousand ants would shake out of a round cup into a skinny slit.  They went pouring all over the place.  Hannah Jane was squealing, we both had flip flops on our hands smashing away at the ones that were crawling on the counter as I tried desperately to close the lid.  When we finally thought our trials were voer, we realized that these captive ants were smaller than the air holes which had obviously been designed for some monster size lab-bred ant and despite the lid being securely attached, ants were still pouring out at rapid rates through the air holes. 

Hannah Jane fetched me some masking tape, which apparently she has been storing under her pillow in the event that some paper object should appear in her life which must be hung on the wall immediately and without permission (if you could see her room, you'd see what good use she's been putting that tape to)!  I taped off the air holes and then poked smaller holes through the tape. 

Needless to say, this was quite an ant debacle!  Form hence forward it shall be referred to in the annals of Christison lore as the Great Ant Debacle of 2011.  A day to go down in history!

We read that without a queen, the ants wouldn't do much and die within a day or so, but it's been a full week and so far they're working hard doing whatever it is that ants do and the kids are still enjoying measuring their tunneling progress!  I'm chalking this one up to a success!


  1. you are one brave woman. wow. i had thought it would be fun to have an ant farm for the boys to watch. didn't realize the temps requirements. that's tough.

  2. The temp thing should be on the outside of the package. It was very annoying. And yes. I had to be brave to get those little buggies!


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