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Old 05-06-2005, 04:49 PM   #401
Ealasaide
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Thanks for the suggestions, Mithalwen. I have a good start on my Container Jungle already with heather, philodrendrons, a few varieties of lily, and a jasmine vine, not to mention a fiercely overgrown ficus tree. I had thought about trying a fruit tree or some vegetable plants, but hesitated since my balcony is screened. Don't you need bees to cross-pollenate the flowers in order to get veggies? I've always had this weird fantasy of growing pumpkins on my balcony...

...but I don't think I want a colony of bees on my balcony!
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Old 05-07-2005, 10:57 AM   #402
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Erm well you don't actually have to keep the bees (though we used to have some living in the neighbor's garage that would swarm on our apple tree) .... I think it is worth a try. And I think many species are self pollinators now.... :S I also have container ponds. A large planter and a half barrel .... just need a mini water lily and some weed if you add fish!!

Hide ... youcould go for a meadow/ wildernesss garden? I am trying to cultivate a bamboo thicket to conceal the compost heap but the frost got at one of them and alas my chances of luring in a panda are slim ...
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:39 AM   #403
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I am trying to cultivate a bamboo thicket to conceal the compost heap but the frost got at one of them
What sort of bamboo are you using? I hear some types are extremely invasive and can send up shoots fifteen feet away, so I'm a bit worried about growing it. I'm trying to think of plants for an exceedingly dry border. Unlike the rest of my garden which seems to suffer from excessive damp, this one border lies under a neighbour's vile leylandii and everything seems to die. I might just put some of my planters on there because I've gone over the top again and planted up too many.
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:44 AM   #404
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Ealasaide, if you ever decide to install a lemon or lime tree, you have a customer for any extras!

Mithalwen, I have a sort of been aiming for a wilderness garden in this bit of space. Never thought of meadow flowers though, thanks. That might help with the mowing! I've been trying to do a little research on what might grow well, but I'm experiementing with a few edible plants this year. Seems like all the hobbit children round about are named Hosta and Clay even quite a few poor dears named Hickory, but none are called Carrot or Radish! Good luck to you with the pandas...if I see any, I'll send them your way, to the help cheer your bamboo and make it feel at home!

EDIT: Lalwendė, is bamboo something were you can plant its container in the ground to prevent its spreading?

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Old 05-08-2005, 07:32 AM   #405
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And I think many species are self pollinators now....
Self-pollenators now? Oh, I will have to give it a try, then. All this time I had been picturing either taking up bee-keeping or crawling around with a little paint brush, trying to hand pollenate the flowers (and I'm far too lazy for that.) I had no idea there was such a thing. Thanks for the tip!

Hilde, remember the lemon tree you gave to me when you moved to Balto all those years ago? It was about a foot high. When I moved somewhere (I forget where - I've moved so many times!), I handed it over to my mom who planted it in the ground. It is now about 30 feet tall and has lemons regularly. I should ship you a few of those, but I think it would take a midnight raid of my mother's garden to do it. She's very attached to her lemons. On the other hand, any lemon trees I grow would have to be bonsai trees by comparison. I wonder if a mini lemon tree would have mini lemons....?
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Old 05-09-2005, 04:03 AM   #406
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Oh yes! I do remember that little lemon tree. Thirty feet? What a gardener she must be, to think it sprung up from a seed! Look for email soon Ealasaide, regarding proposed midnight raid. Mother permitting of course!
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Old 05-09-2005, 09:06 AM   #407
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Why do I suddenly hear the distant echo of "Theme from Mission: Impossible" ringing in my ears?
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Old 05-09-2005, 11:11 AM   #408
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ealasaide
I wish I could have a proper garden, but, living in a condo, I am reduced to container gardening, although I do have definite ambitions toward creating a container jungle out there on my balcony...
Pollinators on your balcony: no problem. They'll find you. Plant the plants, and don't spray them when they come! Lots of flying things can pollinate: moths, bees, wasps, even bumblebees will do the trick. Leave them alone while they are hunting pollen and you should have no problems. I love my wasps; I stand a few inches away, and they are far too busy to bother me. (I don't wear perfume, so they don't think i'm a flower... if you do wear perfume, that's another story.)

Veggies on the balcony: if it's sunny, no problem. Not quite hobbit-like, but probably very Gondorian, and maybe elvish too in places like Gondolin.

A friend of mine grew morning glories in tubs and window boxes on his balcony, and put up strings here and there, and had a LOVELY balcony jungle.

EDIT: whups, Ealasaide, I missed the part where you said your balcony was "screened"... er, how about window boxes??
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Old 05-09-2005, 11:41 AM   #409
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Tomatoes, strawberries and peppers are self pollinating and while I have not managed a significant crop from my strawberries (I have one of those plantes with holes in the side for plants) they are delicious. You can get a good crop of cherry tomatoes from a few plants - and well I am embarking on my first attempt at peppers this year!

Will check on the bamboo - but you can sink a container! .. I didn't but the living one hasn't spread at all yet - it has yellow leaves and dark stems. The crispy brown one was a dwarf variety .......

Leylandii is a horror - apart from anything else it strips the minerals from the soil :S

Mini lemon trees produce mini lemons that look really cute in a gin and tonic
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Old 05-09-2005, 02:04 PM   #410
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Hey Ealasaide, don't forget to check on the weight limits for your sanctuary.
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Old 05-10-2005, 06:24 AM   #411
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I know someone in this building who grows tomatoes on the window sill by his desk. I've seen him pick one and eat it with his lunch - how's that for fresh food?

But as for pollination, you can just leave most species to the hands of nature. Though I think pear trees can be difficult if another one is not close by, and you can end up with interesting white and pink Hawthorn (May blossom) on the same bush if you have red flowers close by.

On a balcony I'd hang a lot of baskets - a few cascading balls of lobelia (stick some plants through the sides of the basket liner, too) would be lovely. As for weight on such a structure, stick to light plastic containers.
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Old 05-10-2005, 06:40 AM   #412
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but the problemisif it is enclosed that nature can't get even it's hand in.. But if you buy you plants anywhere half decent they will be able to guide you even if it doesn't say on the lable... certainly trees are more of an issue.

I am feeling very virtuous because I managed another gardening session before work this morning (it would be a less viable option if the garden were not secluded enough and the weather mild for me to get away with gardening in my jammies :P)..... got to get the jungly bits under control....
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Old 05-10-2005, 10:00 AM   #413
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Hey Ealasaide, don't forget to check on the weight limits for your sanctuary.
KABOOM! heh heh heh

But seriously... my balcony is fairly sturdy - block & stucco - but weight is why I tend to avoid putting in any water features, like waterfalls or goldfish ponds.
I do need to add some more hanging pots, though, and welcome any suggestions for pretty cascading varieties. I will look into getting some lobelia. Thanks for the suggestion, Lalwende.
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Old 05-10-2005, 10:03 AM   #414
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Don't forget youcan mix fruit and flowers in a hanging basket - lobelia and cherry toms go well...
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Old 05-12-2005, 06:32 AM   #415
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Hmmmm... lobelia and cherry tomatoes... I never would have thought of putting the two together. To be honest, I had never thought of mixing flowers and veggies in the same pot. Interesting!
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Old 05-13-2005, 06:52 AM   #416
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Hmmmm... lobelia and cherry tomatoes... I never would have thought of putting the two together. To be honest, I had never thought of mixing flowers and veggies in the same pot. Interesting!

The only caveat is that I would be careful which food and non food plants I mixed - especially if i had small peopel around...
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Old 05-29-2005, 09:30 PM   #417
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Nasturtiums are edible and would look great with cherry tomatoes. In fact, I often put nasturtiums in salads. They are sweet with a peppery after-taste.

Pansies are also edible.
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Old 05-30-2005, 10:46 AM   #418
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And so are roses .. I saw a beautiful cake recipe which I quite fancied for my forthcoming birthday but it requires in addition to the rose (which is no problem ) rose petal jam... which I have only ever seen in Fortnum and Mason at vast expense many years ago so ..... anyway with a bit of luck - I will not have to provide my own cake.... ..... I have spent much of hte bank holiday weekend in the garden and queued for ages to get to the tip ...then the way home passes my favourite garden centre so my car looked like a compost heap going and a conservatory coming back ...... I couldn't resist getting some currant bushes (White red and black..) and a paeony...vabout to bloom... I have various paeonies already but have never persuadced them to produce flowers so while I know it is cheating... I do love them..... I have also bough a pond liner .. when I cleared the space between the greenhouse and the garage (bit of an over grown dumping ground for old flowerpots, watering cans etc.). I realised I was making various frogs and other creatures that I can not name homeless .. so I am building a nature pond to rehome them before I finish the clearing ..... must be mad... but even though I screamed when this frog jumped out at me, I don't want it to die because I have destroyed it's habitat .... eeek .....
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Old 05-30-2005, 11:01 AM   #419
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The cake sounds wonderful. I've seen a recipe for an angel food cake with rose petals in it. It was beautiful.

As for frogs, I like them and even spiders, but you're right, no one wants them jumping out at you unexpectedly. When I worked as a florist I opened a box of leather fern (they come form florida) a frog jumped out at me and I screamed and scared the manager. Leather fern is well known in the industry for harboring creatures in the boxes with it. I even heard a story of a snake ...
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Old 05-30-2005, 11:48 AM   #420
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Ooh how lovely to have worked as a florist .. I do love flowers but I don't think I am creative enough. A snake would have finished me off .... it is the unpredictable way they move with frogs that gets me since at least in this country they aren't dangerous. And also if you have assumed something is a small stone it is extremely disconcerting for it to move at all..... the worst time was years ago ... I was alone in the house becasue my parents had gone to my sister's graduation and I had stayed up late and (stupidly) watched one of those true life crime programmes about women being attacked by intruders and even though it is really as safe a neighbourhood as you could find, I thought I would double check the doors.... So I went into the hallway and something moved ... and I screamed .... and it was a frog.... don't know if the cat had brought it in through the flap or it had hopped in while the doors were open (it was a hot summer day) ... but it was there. Since it was so late, I was tempted just to go to bed since I was fairly sure it couldn't manage the stairs (or the door..) but the idea of it being somewhere downstairs waiting to pounce the next morning was too much..... so I improvised on the glass and postcard technique for removing spiders and grabbed a wastepaper basket.. of course everytime I was about to drop the basket over the frog the wretched thing jumped, every time the frog jumped I screamed (and felt ridiculous and worried that the neighbours would think I was being murdered ) ......was so relieved when I finally trapped it...
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Old 05-30-2005, 12:08 PM   #421
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Oh, if only Ealasaide were around, she could tell some tales about large Floridian spiders captured via candied fruit container and fly swatter. The things were as big as my hand!

But this must be the weekend for frogs, or toads rather. I upset one when moving the wood pile. All sorts of things under there, including a depleted store of hickory nuts. No snakes thank goodness, though I did work at a place where they imported neem seeds for research and got quite a few extra that came with it!

Well, I still have to plant my currants and raspberries, but at least the beaver den and high grass look is gone. Off to the outdoors to find a nice sunny spot!
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Old 05-30-2005, 01:28 PM   #422
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Spiders I can generally cope with though I loath Daddy Long Legs as they flutter .. I learnt it was quite useful to NOT be afraid of the things my evil elder sister was ... mwaahahaha... of course we are fairly short on toxic creatures here (unless you count politicians and the stars of reality tV)..which helps. Had to remember to be more careful in exotic parts.. the alligators were enough for me in Florida ... (and post & rail fences no protection!!!)..
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Old 05-30-2005, 03:10 PM   #423
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Ah, Daddy Long Legs! I remember thinking that those waving legs were sending some sort of code to their brethern when I was young, and that hoards of spiders would seek me out if I harmed one of their comrades. Funny that the description of Shelob didn't affect me quite so badly as those fragile spiders of my youth!

But the mammoth spiders of Florida! I remember when I was staying with Ealasaide's family one summer, I was talking on the phone when one of the fiendish things ran across my lap! I became convinced that they got some sort of sinister joy out of shocking people, dropping from the ceiling or nestling in the bed clothes.

But living in India cured me of such phobias in a hurry.....
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Old 06-01-2005, 08:46 AM   #424
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Anyone ever put flowers in your bath? That'll make you feel like an Elf!
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Old 06-01-2005, 10:30 AM   #425
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No, I haven't tried flowers, but have put in a bit of rose water now and again. Now that makes for a sweet smelling hobbit, if not an elf!
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Old 06-01-2005, 10:57 AM   #426
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I sometimes put rosepetals i if I find a bloom fresh windfallen ... but I do like the "Lush" bath ballistics that contain petals too... only pain is cleaning the bath...

My father told me plenty of horror stories from his time in India (Army 1945-48).... aand how vital it was to shake your boots out really well....
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Old 06-01-2005, 11:03 AM   #427
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I actually saw a scorpion crawl across a pile of sandals at a child's birthday party when there, and plenty of venomous snakes showed up at unexpected moments!
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Old 06-01-2005, 12:46 PM   #428
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Well there was the man who walked around all day with a (squashed ) frog in his boot..... .and as for snakes ...the night he fell in to bed after a late duty without checking his bedroll... and felt something wriggle..... fortunately it was the mongoose who had attached himself to the camp........ I would love to go to Kashmir but it is a bit iffy at the moment.... and some places are easier than others for women lone travellers
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Old 06-01-2005, 04:51 PM   #429
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Fortunately, I didn’t find anything in my shoes! I did have a snake crawl up the wall and under the roof tiles into my bedroom. Luckily, I wasn’t there when it happened or I wouldn't have slept for weeks! Yes, it was poisonous.

Last I knew Kashmir was iffy for everyone, including the people who called it home. It seemed from my rather disadvantaged vantage point that everyone had moved out. But still it must be beautiful. I never made it that far north.

If you do go there yourself, there are some wonderful places that might be less risky. Some of my favorites are the Ellora and Ajanta caves near Aurangabad, and the Vijaynagar ruins of Hampi and Badami futher south. I can’t describe what it was like to stand there and picture what these places must have been like in their heyday and the people who inhabited them. And the best part was that they were largely not commercial when I was there.

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Old 06-01-2005, 05:33 PM   #430
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... I would love to go to Kashmir but it is a bit iffy at the moment.... and some places are easier than others for women lone travellers
I was in Kashmir some 13 years ago and, even then, travel there was not recommended. There was a 7pm curfew, a strong Indian military presence and gunfire in the (not so far) distance at night. One day, on a car trip into the mountains, we got stopped by a very scary looking group of individuals toting machine guns who demanded to see our passports (to check for Israeli stamps). It was not long after that some backpackers got kidnapped and (ultimately) beheaded and the government issued advice not to travel there ...

Stunningly beautiful place, though, and extremely friendly people (although I did get ripped off on a carpet purchase). It is a shame about the troubles because they were very reliant on the tourist trade. I have heard, though, that with easing Indo-Pakistani relations, it's starting to open up again and they have even refurbished the fledgling ski resort there.
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Old 06-02-2005, 06:18 AM   #431
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Well when my cousin was planning a gap year we had been thinking of going together.. but he has decided to proceed directly with his brilliant career....
Actually, the terrorism side I find less scary - I have had enough near misses in London and Paris to think that what ever fate has in store for me it isn't that. Terrorism is relatively random....but even on the verge of old-bagdom, if you travel alone in areas where respectable women do not travel alone you are certainly courting trouble. Especially since my height and colouring would make me very conspicuous..... maybe one day ..... and we still have the carpet that my father brought back all those years ago ... it probably would be valuable if it hadn't been left on the floor and had its tassels " hooved"....
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Old 06-02-2005, 10:41 AM   #432
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The last time I was in India was when those hikers were captured. And ater 10 years of living there on and off, I wouldn't suggest traveling alone. The people are wonderfully hospitable, but it would be good to have someone who knows the area take you around...and keep you from paying too much for your carpets.

Where was your father posted Mithalwen?
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Old 06-02-2005, 11:50 AM   #433
Mithalwen
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Well I think he was moved around a bit .... He was in England (indeed in those famous crowds outside Buckingham Palace ) on VE day (I would point out that he was a very young soldier and a rather old father ) ...... and then sent out to India to fight the Japanese - which wasn't necessary in the end but he was stuck out there for a bit .... it is a terrible cliche I know but I all I can say for certain today is "Daddy was in Poona..." ... I was going to say another coupkle of names but just for the instant I cannot be certain that they are from his photo album or the current Radio Serialisation of "The Jewel in the Crown"!!!!
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Old 06-03-2005, 03:41 AM   #434
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Ah, Poona! Not too far from where I was as well.
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Old 06-03-2005, 09:46 AM   #435
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Pipe

... i dont like spiders and snakes, but thats not what it takes..


Oops... He everyone! Its been awhile since I dropped by! I remember when Kashmir was known for its instead of violence, but then its always been a disputed zone.

Good to see everyone again!
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Old 06-05-2005, 12:24 PM   #436
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I think Poona (Pune) was just a depot since he aparently spent most of his time near Madras ( I was very noble and asked about it over Sunday lunch) ... i did flick through the photo album and noted down some names but I don't have my list with me.

However most pics were of of him, tents, the CO haranguing the troops and the troops being harangued, trucks stuck in rivers, the regimental "goats", various impromptu sports fixtures and the visit of the US Military attache who appropriately (though I can hardly believe it can be right) according to my best deciphering of Papa's scrawl seems to have been Col Hotshot.....
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Old 06-06-2005, 10:25 AM   #437
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Col. Hotshot, eh? That is a bit like Dr. Pain isn't it? I searched it as a surname and came up with one person named Bobby Hotshot, not even a Robert. Not knowing your father, I would hazard to guess that somebody must have dubbed him so.
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Old 06-10-2005, 01:43 PM   #438
Ealasaide
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Hilde Bracegirdle said:
But the mammoth spiders of Florida! I remember when I was staying with Ealasaide's family one summer, I was talking on the phone when one of the fiendish things ran across my lap!
I suppose I should explain. That was quite a number of years ago at my parents' house. They are rather eccentric book collectors who didn't believe in pesticides. Cockroaches, the scourge of the tropics and semi-tropics, eat books. Rather than have their lovely book collection destroyed by cockroaches, my parents decided to let the spider population explode so that the spiders would eat the cockroaches and the entire situation would sort itself out naturally. Then, the spiders got out of hand. (There is a slash in the hall floor outside my old bedroom to this day marking the spot where I decided to take on a rather large spider with a flyswatter in one hand and a replica Civil War saber in the other. I missed with the flyswatter and struck with the sword. Missed with that, too, but I did leave my mark!)

Happily, my parents now see the virtue of a monthly visit from the Orkin man.
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Old 06-10-2005, 03:04 PM   #439
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Oh heavens, Ealasaide, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing over that! And here I thought the spiders were due to your parents not believing in clear cutting the woods before they built their home! Just glad you didn't have the saber handy that day I was on the phone!
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Old 06-10-2005, 03:24 PM   #440
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What can I say? My parents have a logic unto themselves...

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Just glad you didn't have the saber handy that day I was on the phone!
Oh, dear, that would have been ugly indeed! No, I think would have exercised a little restraint with the ol' saber. Sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor!
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