Nature's Best

by Tina Shake

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I am a natural woman. You know the kind. I am the one with the flowing natural blonde curls standing on a breezy hillside chasing the butterflies through the prairie grass. I am woman, hear me roar. Okay, I am a middle-aged grandmother that wears sweatpants that are two sizes too small. I lug around a snot-nosed grandchild on one hip and I am usually swatting at various insects and pests with the new book that my daughter Petunia checked out in the library. I am learning natural pest control.

This book said that if I was serious about getting rid of the flies and other pests that I should carefully read each chapter. I did read every chapter. One chapter was about the flies; it said that bats eat over 3,000 insects per night! Bats! Now that is a great answer to a big problem. I could let the bats eat the flies at night while we were sleeping. When I get up the next morning, my home would be fly-free! Petunia and I got little Eugene tucked into his car seat and proceeded to a rural farm store in search of bat houses. I figured if they were going to work so hard for me, the least I could do is provided them a comfy place to sleep during the day. I set up the houses outside and it wasn't long before the houses had their little occupants living inside. Yes, you could watch them at night swooping around the security light. Now I want you to learn from my mistakes. Please do not sneak the bat houses into your house. A bat in the house is a bad idea, and yes, it is messy. Your little darlings will die of starvation, as they need lots of flies to live on. Not that I tried doing that.

Flies and mosquitoes do not like basil. Fix up a few muslin bags with basil inside to keep them away. Put the bags in inconspicuous places. If you hang too many bags, your dinner guest might be a little too curious. Don't have the bags in the same areas as the bats, again the bats will starve. Not that I tried doing that.

Now, sometime in your life, you will have to deal with a cockroach. Cockroaches hitch hike in your home through very innocent means. Some come in from the grocery store hidden in your sack of potatoes or in the paper bags. Now I am not saying that I have cockroaches in my home. That stampeding sound when you turn the lights on in the kitchen at night could just be your imagination. Anyway, the book said to place a shallow dish of cheap wine under the sink. The cockroaches drink the wine and you find them later on their backs with their little feet sticking straight up in the air. A little tip from me to you. There is no need to sample the cheap wine. You do not need to buy an assortment of wine for this purpose. Not that I tried doing that.

My pet poodle, Killer, brought a flea into the house this past summer. I do not like fleas. Dinner parties can be ruined by fleas. Do not try to make the best of things by trying to start a flea circus. (Fleas, contrary to popular belief, are hard to train.) Anyway, according to the library book, fleas do not like the scent of brewer's yeast and garlic. You could put out this concoction in small containers around the house. Do not attempt to make carpet sprinkles out of yeast and garlic. This does not smell like Glade. Not that I tried doing that.

Rodents among other things are rats and mice. Do you remember the cartoon "Tom and Jerry"? My mice were nothing like Jerry. My mice don't have a cute little house in a hole in the wall. Mine are nasty. I mean I have heard that they are nasty because I haven't really ever had a mouse problem. If I did have a mouse problem, I would know that rodents do not like oil of peppermint. You can find oil of peppermint at your drug store and other department stores. It is used to make candy, but in this case, just put a little on a cotton ball and place them in the areas that have shown evidence of rodent visits. Candy canes do not work. Do not leave leftover candy canes throughout your home. Not that I tried doing that.

I thought that I would pass on this wisdom to you all because I can just imagine what it would be like to have a nasty pest problem like yours. Of course, when you keep a house as clean as mine, you rarely see a......"Eugene, that is not a pet! No, no! Petunia get the wine! No, it is underneath the bat house! Oh drat that candy cane is stuck to the bottom of my slipper. There it goes, it is underneath the couch!"

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