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Thoughty Thursday: Hummers, Writers & Antsy-R-Us

by | Aug 4, 2011 | Appearance (Theater, Signing, Talks) | 15 comments


Ants invaded the hummingbird feeders. This isn’t two or three , but a thundering horde. They squiggle into the birdy faucets, clog up output, and commit ant suicide in the sugar water. This doesn’t seem to bother the hummers–more protein, yum!–until the floating ant DOAs exceed a half inch depth.

Setting the pole in a pan of water works for half a day until the 110-degree weather steams it away. The little bit left provides the bugs with water ski opportunity. The little buggers cry, ‘WHEEEEE!’ as they slalom a pathway to reach a drink.

Smeared Vicks on the holder won’t keep them at bay. It just clears tiny ant sinuses so they appreciate the sweet taste all the more.

These days, fiction writing time gets clogged up with ant-icity just like the hummer juice. Some of these “bugs” offer necessary protein. They suck away a modest amount and bring in $$. And hell, these days the economy–like Texas temperatures–creates a climate that demands everyone bow to the forces of nature. House payments come due, AC goes out, fur-kids need kibble in the bowl–life’s funny that way. But when lots of the ant-icity bring nothing to the table other than a giant sucking noise, something’s gotta give.

The fiction am a-calling. So’s the play. Two more nonfiction books are on the to-do list. All those projects feed a writer’s soul the way hummer juice switches on birdy delight.

You’re a writer. You know what I’m talkin’ about. Yet ant-distractions demand more and more time.

When the ant-load gets too deep for sparkly tennis shoes to navigate, the hose comes out. The hummers–and writers–deserve a bit of uninterrupted beverage, after all.

How much ant-icity clogs up your soul? What are your limits–2 or 3 bugs in the juice, a dozen, a half-inch of floaters? When do you cry UNCLE and get out the hose? How do you flush away the the sucky parts so you can enjoy the nectar?

Cuz I don’t want the hummers to get chased off by #$%^&*!@#$%T^&! ants.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!


  1. Stacy Green

    Hmm. Sometimes the Internet clogs me up. I get distracted from my writing or sucked into research. And then often I’m a victim of my own thoughts. I have to step away from the self doubt monster and just write.

    • amyshojai

      Stacy, the Internet and Email are my downfall. I need major bug spray to deal with those ants!

  2. animalartist

    I don’t think the irritation of the ands has ever been described as well.

    I’m ignoring my ants at the moment but keeping score, letting my irritation build up to the point where I can use it to expel them in one fell swoop of the hose, taking as little time and energy as possible in the process.

    • animalartist

      I meant “ants”, not “ands”, of course. “D” instead of “t” is today’s chosen typo. Another little ant.

      • amyshojai

        LOL! Yep, I have that same problem especially with certain words. My fingers just don’t wanna do the write–er, right thing.

  3. maryannemiller

    For the ants, instant grits. Find the source or the head of the trail and leave these ants a pile of goodies. They carry the goodies back to the nest and by golly then they vanish never to be seen again. Wish the writing ants were that easy-

    For now, for me it is kittens running up and down my leg when I sit at the computer. It’s Reese biting my hand when I type on the keyboard. It is worry about making the bills that keeps me here plugging away, knowing that soon, the dam will be released, the kittens will tire of turning me into a cat post and the juices will flow again.

    Can’t write at night because the lights attact the tiny flying insects. They quickly find the cat tunnels and fly into the house- then I have kittens playing kamikazee on the screen monitor as they try to catch the bugs they see while I sit here trying to tame the bugs within.


    • amyshojai

      Thanks for the tip about the grits and ants–will try that! With our patio we have pretty much a swarm, though, hard to see the trail.

      Kittens at least offer lots of a-muse-ment. *s*

  4. Penny Emily Youngreen

    And then there’s the yellow jackets! Although not as bad as last year and the year before when the invaded one room of our house. Ants have always been a problem around our hummingbird feeder but still, not as bad as last year. Instead, the ants have decided that there’s a lot more going on for them in our house. We expect to see them in the kitchen, so I keep counters clean, put food away and sprinkle aspartane in the corners. Apparently the phony sugar is deadly to them. So, they’re not in the kitchen. They’re all over the house, even in our beds! They come in all sizes from the tiny sugar ants to the huge carpenter ants that bite. I stepped out our atrium door and had five of the monster ants drop on my head. There’s even a war going on between the ant colonies on our patio. We can’t seem to get rid of them and I don’t want to use anything that would potentially harm our kitties, dogs, or the wildlife that abounds around us. Help!!!

    • amyshojai

      I hope others will post suggestions. We’ve used diatomaceous earth and there’s an ant “repellent” powder (stinks!) that you sprinkle in a line around the foundation of the house to stop them coming inside. Maybe you could use the aspartane around the baseboards, too?

      • Franny Syufy

        We’ve been lucky so far this year, but in previous years I’ve sprinkled cinnamon around the area where the ants entered the house. Next time I’ll try cinnamon mixed with aspartane.

        As for the ants in the creative center I’m still working on that. Sometimes “busy work” helps to clear the neural pathways to make room for those juices to flow.

        • amyshojai

          Ohh, cinnamon would smell lovely, too! *making a note*

          My creativity ants need some major stomping today…so now I plan to shut off the internet and get some writerly work done!

          (thanks for visiting, Franny…miss you!)

  5. Lois Richardson

    I do know what you’re talking about. There was a time in my life that those old juices would still flow into the wee hours to the burning of the midnight oil. But that was in another life and I try to hoard minutes and hours as though I’m planning a safe room. Come to think of it-locking myself in my studio has been done.

    • amyshojai

      Lois, I like that–collecting, saving up the minutes and hoarding them to be spent wisely.

  6. Peg Silloway

    My favorite ant barrier is still that old stand-by, Skin So Soft bath oil. I kept a small bottle handy and sprayed it around the base of the hummer feeder and on the pole – the ants must hate it ’cause they never crossed the line. Same in the kitchen – sprayed where they came in and even when I’d wiped off the oily sheen it worked. That worked on Maryland sugar ants, and it may be that Texas ants are unimpressed, but it’s worth a try.

    Now if only they made Skin So Soft for literary ants…haven’t yet mastered the “step away from the Internet” solution for myself. Sooo seductive.

    • amyshojai

      Aha…hadn’t thought of the Avon product but it does work for mosquitos. Thanks for the tip. And yep–someone would make a fortune if they find a cure for literary ants. *s*


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