March 14th, 2007


You realize, of course, that this means war

It's spring! The weather is warm, the birds are singing, the trees are all in bloom, and THE WASPS ARE BACK.

Our balcony is primo A-1 super+++ wasp habitat. They love it. They adore it. They advertise it in little waspy magazines with phrases like "must see" and "build to suit" and entirely too many exclamation points.

Monday, I went out and knocked down five (5! FIVE!) different proto-nests. Today, only one, but I shall remain ever-vigilant. The balcony belongs to ME, dammit, not to nasty stripy insects that mock my paper-mache skills.

We have a Spray Can of Instant Death That Should Never Ever Touch Anything That Might Once Have Been Near or Thought About a Water Supply (we got the less toxic kind, see...), but so far I've caught them early enough that the patented half-pitcher of soapy water plus long-handled death from a broom method has been sufficient.
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The second, minor, war has been won. I think.

In addition to the war of the wasps, we've been having a twice-daily series of battles with the rodents. They've had this sniffle, see, and eventually I decided that since it wasn't going away we should maybe have it looked at, so now they're on antibiotics to clear it up. They are on two different antibiotics, which I think is kind of odd but I am not the vet. The first is regular ol' Baytril, which tastes really, really bad. Fortunately, it's quite concentrated so they're only taking two drops each. The second is doxycycline, mixed up with a fruit-flavored tasty base. They get a quarter of a milliliter of this. Doesn't sound so bad, does it?


Things started off well -- they didn't like the Baytril at all, because who does?, but they thought the doxy was okay and would lick it right up. I tried mixing the two, but the doxy isn't strongly flavored enough to cover the Baytril. Then, oh then, then they decided they didn't like the doxycycline either, and wouldn't take it no matter what we mixed it with. Corn syrup? Ew. Fruit juice? Not good enough. Frantic begging? Pfaugh.

So then there was medicating by syringe for a couple days. This worked okay with the Baytril, because it's less than a mouthful, but not so well with the doxy. Calliope started out knowing how not to swallow, and how to wipe nasty icky pick stuff off on my pants, or the chair, or a cardboard box, and Echo picked it up pretty fast. We should have gotten pictures, because little ratty nasty-faces are so darn cute.

This morning, though, Andres went out to the grocery and picked up our secret weapon, sweetened condensed milk. It is a most fine and excellent carrier of medication, and has now passed muster with both the picky, picky, picky little rats. So there.

I wonder how long it will take for the pink stains in Calliope's fur to come out.
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