I always joke about my black thumb, but I happen to have two orchids that I’ve kept alive and in relative good health for years. They’re actually not too bad to care for. Just let them soak in a sink full of water once a week for at least 10 minutes and make sure they get fed a little too. So when I left for my vacation I figured the orchids would be OK while I was gone.
So when I went to give the smaller of my two orchids its weekly soak, I was completely unprepared for a swarm of ants to emerge from the recesses of the potting mix and start going everywhere looking for drier ground.
Good thing for me, I don’t squick out over bugs easily. And it wasn’t like they could go anywhere, surrounded on all sides by water. Truth be told, I felt a little bad for the suckers. They had no idea they would face an apocalyptic deluge when they got up that morning. Victoria Schwab once wrote, “The bodies in my floor all trusted someone. Now I walk on them to tea.” I’m sorry they felt my samurai orchid was a safe place to camp. But they had to go.
Although I wasn’t scared of them, I also had no desire to have them immediately race up my hands and fingers when I picked up the pot. First I made sure the front door was open. Then I grabbed one of the husband’s t-shirts in water, dunked it in another sink until it was sopping wet, and used that to airlift the pot to the outside, while I shouted “Leeeeeroy Jenkins!”
I don’t know if there was a smarter way to do it, but not too many ants were willing to make the crossing onto the wet t-shirt during the space of time it took me to get the pot out. Once I put it down on a grassy spot in my yard, the survivors streamed out the side. I gave them all night to clear off. In the morning I poured off all the water, carefully wiped the outer pot with vinegar, and moved it to a sunny spot near my computer so I could keep an eye on it. So far, so good. I hope they find a better home. But it better not be in my other orchid.
Ants keep to the dark
knowing that the large don’t care.
The small step lightly
to reach safety in the loam
where some control is achievable.
This poem is linked to Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads' Tuesday Platform.
Art work by Gina Morely, hostess of Daydream Believer.