Thursday, November 05, 2009

A fun story about indoor composting

After reading this article (the comments section warrants a giggle or two), I began to reflect on how I have not seen a house centipede since leaving Ottawa.

Then, I recalled something that happened last summer, in our old house in Wellington Village.

Dave and I are big believers in composting. By disposing of the rotting garbage separately from the rest, your garbage can remains sanitary, odourless, and generally inoffensive. Moreover, when given time (and worms), the garbage that rots eventually undergoes a fabulous alchemy into black, nutrient-rich soil. In turn, this soil translates into healthier houseplants, beautiful flowers, and succulent tomatoes. In short, everyone wins.

The only drawback is the persistence with which one needs to ensure all compost is BURIED. Exposed rot is a perfect place for fruit flies to populate, and once established, these pests require Herculanean efforts to get rid of.

This issue was one we'd had last summer, and were dealing with it in a gradual and pesticide-free manner. What this meant was, that for one maddening week, we had fruit flies EVERYWHERE. But after that, the population noticeably declined. We must have been doing something right.

Now, decline is not the same as erased, and we were expecting houseguests in the near future. Dave's sister and her husband were due to visit, and we wanted our place to be gorgeous (read, fruit-fly-free) for their stay. So, a week before they arrived, I moved the compost out to the garage, and put up fly tape. Soon, there were no more fruit flies. Life was good.

One week later, I was sweeping the house, and came across some oddly-shaped dustbunnies hiding in corners. Only, they were NOT dustbunnies -- they were dead spiders! There were likely a half dozen of them in that sweep alone, and it got me thinking... had they starved from the lack of fruit flies??

Naw, that couldn't be it.

Fast forward to two weeks after THAT, where I found something else very strange -- several shrivelled, dead house centipedes! Now, recall that house centipedes eat spiders, and now that there were fewer spiders to eat... could they have starved, too??

I didn't know whether to be mournful or revolted. Frankly, I still don't.

But what I do know is that the circle of life can happen anywhere, even in one's humble abode. ;-) Take it away, Disney...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Halloween in Victoria

Halloween has come and gone, and it's made me realize just how long a year can be.

Precisely one year before, Dave and I had only just moved into our new house in Ottawa. We were still surrounded by boxes, which we had to frantically dig through to find the components of our impromptu costumes. Having no idea on what kind of Trick or Treater turnout to expect, we'd bought way too much candy.

Unfortunately, we learned that night about how Trick or Treaters tend to avoid busy streets (like the one we live on) in favour of quieter roads nearby. Not one kid came to our house, and it still kinda bums me out to recall.

On the upside, the costumes turned out fabulously, and the party we went to later was an absolute blast. The StatsGang was partying en force that night, and the evening proceeded in my favourite set of phases: the crowded, giddy stage, then the silly, comfortable phase, then the dancing phase, and lastly, retreating to the basement to play guitars and sing until the wee hours. Amanda had a songbook of Weezer hits, and we went through nearly all of them in varying states of inebriation.

That was also the last time I saw Begona, a dear friend who was to return to her life overseas the very next day. I miss her.

All of that feels like it happened many years ago. Since then, Dave and I have done yet another cross-country move, this time ending up in Victoria, BC. We have finally settled into our new house, and so, this Halloween, we were able to host the party!

This arrangement worked out best for all involved; most of our Victoria friends live in condos, which are generally nonconducive to late night parties, or to Trick or Treaters. We had about two dozen kids come by, all in fantastic costumes such as Optimus Prime, Lady Gaga, and some young boys in hilarious drag. (I even got props for spotting a kid dressed up as Naruto, a popular anime character.) ;-)

The party itself was a success, as well. The potluck-style dinner assured an overabundance of delicious food, from which we would have been stuffed even if we hadn't filled our faces with candy beforehand. ;-) We watched some amusing and retro Disney Halloween specials, and then played two games of Cranium in which the girls triumphed handily over the boys.

We also carved a number of fantastic jack-o-lanterns, which still stand proudly on our stoop.

Be sure to check out our Flickr space for more pictures from the evening. But, to close off, enjoy this set of photos of "Wolverine" carving a pumpkin!