Monday, April 12, 2010

Aussie chores

Today I scraped snails. I used a fly swatter to shave them, and their piles of poo, off the inside of our shed wall into an empty ice cream bucket. I took a short break to vacuum up some spiders and their webs. When I got back the sneaky snails had slid up onto the flyswatter, that was balanced on top of the bucket, and had formed a snail chain to lower themselves down to the ground. I couldn't resist calling the kids to see the clump of snails hanging from the swatter. A few of the quicker ones were already half-way up the wall, and I had only been gone for five webs. I quickly emptied my vacuum into the wheelie bin before the spiders got the same idea.

As always, I quickly flipped the lid of the wheelie bin and carefully peeked into it's depths before dumping the vacuum. One never knows what might be lurking in a wheelie bin. I'll never forget the huge carpet snake that my hubby rescued from his mother's bin. He tied it in a burlap bag, popped it in the trunk so we could drive it out to the sugar cane fields where it could go to work eating mice and cane toads.

Can't get rid of enough cane toads. Ugly, rotten things. They were introduced to eat the cane beetle, which they did, but now everything that eats them dies. They have a poison sack on their back which they squirt for defense. If that doesn't work they still get the last laugh because their poison kills anything that eats it. Including pets.

Cane toads breed like rabbits and are spreading throughout Australia with a vengeance. A good reason to make sure you don't take out the garbage at night in your bare feet, especially after the rain. They are everywhere.

Which brings us to another Aussie household chore…killing cane toads. The traditional way is to pour Detol on them. But if you give a man the job they'll probably opt for the more productive way – practicing their golf swing with them. Nothing quite as satisfying as the squelching splat of a good square hit as the feral vermin sail into a distant neighbor's yard. The most humane way, they tell us on TV, is to put a plastic bag over your hand, pick up the toad, tie him up in the bag and put him in your freezer. The trick is remembering to take him back out on garbage day.

Doing laundry is different here too. Most everyone still dries their clothes the natural way, on the good old clothesline. This puts you at the mercy of Mother Nature which makes the already dreaded chore even more of a challenge. Being a naturally frugal person, I appreciate the cost effectiveness of this approach. It is also very thought provoking. Once of those mindless chores that give you plenty of time to muse about life. As a matter of fact some of my best blogging ideas come to me while hanging laundry.

Or scraping snails.

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