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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:06 pm 
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I love baking bread, kneading it is so comforting, and with my newly cleaned kitchen counters I wanted to make sourdough. The main problem is we live on a huge ant hill with two or three different kinds of ants invading our property. The fire ants stay outside for the most part, however the black ants seem to be a repeating invasion, kill them all and ten minutes later there are twice as many.

Anyway, my sourdough smells like fermented wine by day two. I needed to find a way to keep the ants out of it while it fermented more. So my solution was to put my jar in a bowl of water. Now there is also a problem with activiating the starter and making the bread, so I inverted a small bowl on a lipped plate, filled the plate of water and put the mixing bowl on top creating a wall of water preventing the ants from getting in.

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Now how to get the bread kneaded and risen without those little anoying marauders getting into the dough...


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:57 pm 
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Location: PNW
I make a bait of boric acid and honey and put it in a pint container from cottage cheese or whatever, then I poke holes around the sides near the bottom, big enough for them to crawl through and that puts an end to my ant problems after a few days. Word gets around that there's a tasty treat, so they come in greater numbers and feast. I water down the honey to make mixing easier. You could probably try sugar water too.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:37 pm 
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Location: philly
cornmeal also kills them. and isn't toxic to the animals in the house, so i opt for that over boric.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:48 am 
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How does corn meal kill them? I've never heard that before and would give it a try, but I wouldn't think it would work on carpenter ants too.

I did forget to say to put the lid on the container, making sure it has a tight fit that can't be opened easily. You could wrap some duct tape around it to be sure. I just use a very small amount of boric acid and mix it into the honey and water.

I just did a search on boric acid as an insecticide and this is one article I came across. http://alsnetbiz.com/homeimprovement/boric_acid.html They use a lot more in their mix than I do in mine. It helps with a variety of insects.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:10 pm 
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Location: philly
seems to be a combination of things - they eat the meal (you can even use grits) and then it swells inside them and/or it acts as a fungicide (when regurgitated) and kills their food supply...

to keep them away (like when you're doing your bread starter) put down a ring of cinnamon around the bowl - the cinnamon will repel them. a ring of vinegar will also repel them.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:13 pm 
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Location: PNW
Interesting. I'll have to try it some time. Corn meal might attract mice, though, which we have too many of.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:44 pm 
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Thanks for the tips. I used to use borax with peppermnt oil. It worked for a while then they got too smart.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:41 pm 
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Location: philly
nah, they didn't get smart...they died. then you ended up with ants from another nest...

if you can find the nest outside, put the cornmeal (or borax) around the opening - with some sugar to act as an attractant. it'll take care of that nest and then you'll need to repeat once another group starts squatting - which will happen unless you put something down (as repellent) after you're sure all the current residents are dead.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:37 am 
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Location: PNW
Doesn't the mint repel them? The mix I make attracts them and they take it back to the nest.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:24 am 
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I didn't find that to be the case, often times Ihey will make nests in my pots of mint and leave everything else.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:20 am 
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Location: PNW
I never would've thought that. Interesting.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:38 am 
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Location: Little Rock, AR
Good tips everyone on ants...

Mentha, I want to make a sourdough starter too. I'm thinking of doing that next week.

Do you have fire ants in CA too? We here in Little Rock are overwhelmed with them however, they stay outside. I've been bitten many times too, however, I'm not sure if I'm been bitten so much or IF now when I get bitten I immediately come inside to wash the area with lots of soap and water. B4 I wasn't doing that. And the area would swell like a balloon. One time I couldn't even get a pair of shoes onto my foot, it was so swollen and it would stay for a week. NOW with washing right and I do mean right...afterward I get itching and a bump but hardly any swelling, and the area goes away to normal in a day or 2.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:02 am 
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I also have sourdough starter (it is a couple years old now, for sourdough that is still young), but I keep mine in the fridge. I let my dough rise in the oven (not on of course.) For awhile there I had a HUGE container of starter because I was baking daily and also making pancakes or waffles with it every morning.

Anyways.. don't forget the ants are dropping scent trails as the scouts & foragers wander out.

If it gets too bad I will send you my dog. If an ant wanders by he licks 'em. Avid fly catcher too. Just he has a bad habit of taste testing anything. Like the back of your knee when you are washing something at the sink.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:13 pm 
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Location: Little Rock, AR
wiggleit, I hope your dog doesn't eat any fire ants, otherwise his tongue might swell. I guess dogs get the same reaction as people do.

That sounds good sourdough pancake. Well I will keep my sourdough starter in fridge too.

You must have a gas stove, I don't think that would work in electric about the sourdough.

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Retirement is the best job I ever had.
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From the Short Estate
I'm Ginny of Ginny & Jerry Short
Little Rock, AR USA


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:09 am 
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Electric. In winter I will turn it on for a few minutes to warm and mist water, then shut it off. Just enough to speed up rising but not warm enough to start baking.

I have to have the bread rise in the oven because I use olive oil on it. The cat will do anything to get at olive oil and butter. Cast iron also gets kept in the oven when not in use because she will bust into the cabinets otherwise.

We have some red biting ants that are somewhat aggressive... but they are not nearly as aggressive as fire ants I encountered in TX. They do swarm when the nest is disturbed, and a bunch will bite, but not crazy swarm like the TX ones did.

He won't go after a nest outdoors, but indoors any bug in his reach he eats. Yellowjackets included.

Anyone try "clone of cinnabon" off of allrecipes.com? OMG... horribly decadent. You can make it, slice it in the rolls... then freeze the rolls before they rise again. That way you can take them out of the freezer the night before.. they thaw and rise overnight so in the morning you can just bake them up fast. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Clone-of-a-Cinnabon/Detail.aspx

Sourdough pancakes... this is similar to what I make http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Herman-Pancakes/Detail.aspx (regular sourdough for the herman stuff... works fine) Except I do add vanilla extract.. and cinnamon. I also use it in the waffle iron on those days flipping a flapjack is just not going to happen without vats of coffee.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:25 pm 
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Location: Little Rock, AR
WiggleIt wrote:
Electric. In winter I will turn it on for a few minutes to warm and mist water, then shut it off. Just enough to speed up rising but not warm enough to start baking.

I have to have the bread rise in the oven because I use olive oil on it. The cat will do anything to get at olive oil and butter. Cast iron also gets kept in the oven when not in use because she will bust into the cabinets otherwise.

We have some red biting ants that are somewhat aggressive... but they are not nearly as aggressive as fire ants I encountered in TX. They do swarm when the nest is disturbed, and a bunch will bite, but not crazy swarm like the TX ones did.

He won't go after a nest outdoors, but indoors any bug in his reach he eats. Yellowjackets included.

Anyone try "clone of cinnabon" off of allrecipes.com? OMG... horribly decadent. You can make it, slice it in the rolls... then freeze the rolls before they rise again. That way you can take them out of the freezer the night before.. they thaw and rise overnight so in the morning you can just bake them up fast. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Clone-of-a-Cinnabon/Detail.aspx

Sourdough pancakes... this is similar to what I make http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Herman-Pancakes/Detail.aspx (regular sourdough for the herman stuff... works fine) Except I do add vanilla extract.. and cinnamon. I also use it in the waffle iron on those days flipping a flapjack is just not going to happen without vats of coffee.


Why do you use olive oil in your bread?? What difference does it make? I would be interested in why you use oil olive.

thanks for the www. I will check them out.

That amazing about the cats and olive oil. So far our 2 "BUMS" as I call the cats collective haven't been aggressive over any foods. They aren't even crazy over table food. They just like their cat food, mostly.

speaking of vats of coffee, I don't drink as much coffee since I retired. Lots of things have changed!!!3 cups is my max most days.

Your dog is something else. I guess he keeps down the bugs inside he is your "terminix dog" LOL!!!!

My sourdough starter is ready. I have feed it for 4 days. And so I put it in the fridge. B4 I did I started my sourdough pancakes. This recipe I have says you need to mix the starter, flour and milk and let it sit for 8 hours b4 making the pancakes. So 2morrow Sunday I will have sourdough pancakes for breakfast and hope to have some for freezing.
I think my next sourdough creation will be sourdough herb bread, I'll use part white flour and part wheat flour too.

I don't have any cast iron pans anymore. I use to but I got several years ago for Christmas Rachel Ray set, one of the stores were going out of business and they had a mail in rebate so I got it and love using them. And they are orange in color, and I have black appliances so it a good contrast. The only thing I now have that is cast iron is a 5 slot thing for making corn pone sticks.

You are very fortunate you don't have 'fire ants', you destroy one nest and soon a few foot step away another one. And I've been bit (last year I was bit a lot) but this year I've only been bit once. Thank goodness I'm not allergic...to any stings matter of fact...

_________________
http://www.ginny.thegardenjournals.org
Retirement is the best job I ever had.
Just another day in PARADISE
From the Short Estate
I'm Ginny of Ginny & Jerry Short
Little Rock, AR USA


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:20 pm 
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The best way to repell fire ants, I've found, is Bronco brand fly spray. It's made for dogs and horses, you can usually find it in the pet department at Walmart or your local feed store. I could afford it, I'd invest in this company :D I really love it. It comes in a white bottle and a nice citronella scent. The other brand they carry just doesn't work as well. I was upset the last time I was at WM and they didn't have it. I spray it liberally on my shoes and (pants or bare) legs and the ants will not usually cross the path. I usually get one or two bites at most as opposed to a hundred without. I've even sprayed it in the cat's bedding and it keeps fleas off of her. I spray it around the house to repel the flies which comes in the windows without screens. it also works on ant trails. I need to go today and see if they have it in stock because I can't function without it. The other stuff works, but only for a couple of days and not against fire ants at all.
The best thing I've found is it repels spider mites, scale and mealies on my house plants. I just spray it on and it has a two week residual without burning the plants. It also doesn't make my husband or children ill when I spray it. I've even sprayed it on my tomatoes to keep the horn worms at bay. Be sure to wash it off your edibles with soap though.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:07 pm 
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Yeah I am not one to wait. It gets mixed up and maybe, if I am really slow that morning, it sits for an hour while I get everything else chopped and ready for breakfast.

My cat is a dilute calico. Calico... spelled i-n-s-a-n-e. She hates most cat foods, she loves catnip, any kind of bird meat (turkey roasting will make her drool), cheeses, oils, butter, and chips (sunchips, doritos, potato chips, tortilla chips). Her butter adoration is obnoxious. Let me put it this way... cleaning the basement I was moving the couches... I found 9 butter wrappers under it.

The dog will eat anything that moves fast enough, or looks like it might be remotely edible.
Image

I have a heavy duty stainless steel set as well, but just something about my old cast iron I like (the major flaw is just it is so dang heavy).

Sourdough starter gets better with time. 4 days is super young, so don't expect much.

I oil the bowl with olive oil when I let it rise. Oil the bowl, plop in the dough, flip it, cover it and let it rise.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:18 pm 
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Location: Sunol, CA (9B)
We make borax baits and pour a couple ounces of it into old soda cans, then leave them around the perimeter of the house (nestled between potted plants out of view). They hold a lot of bait and the small mouth prevents it from drying out quickly. When we're done with them we just recycle the cans.

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