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Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's Beauty and the Beasts at That Old House -- Invite the Ants for Lunch

So, you think I'm kidding about inviting the ants?
Sadly, no.

On Tuesday, after Alida and Howard and I finished our lunch, I noticed a couple
of tiny ants wandering aimlessly around on the old wood floor, at the corner of the oriental rug.

Oops. Did we leave crumbs from a past meal? The dining room gets used a lot,
especially on muggy days -- it's cooler in there -- and just maybe isn't vacuumed after every meal.

My bad.

But we know what to do about those little black creepy-crawlies,
and I'll tell you all about it at the end of this post. You have been warned.

Here's an ant's eye view of today's table setting:

And a stomach's eye view:

And a human's eye view:

It's a casual summertime luncheon, set for two.
Among the things I used:

***Mid 20th-century silverplate flatware, in the Exquisite pattern by Wm Rogers & Son.
It is grille or viande style, with the elongated handles and smaller-than-usual bowls and blades. Technically it belongs to daughter Anne, but she's not here, so ha-ha! 'Tis mine today.
***My friend Betsy gave me the amethyst glass and pewter hurricane.
***The small spaniel figurine is a gift from a dog breeder friend.
Yes, she breeds Cavaliers. What else?
***Salt and Pepper shakers -- apple and pear. HomeGoods.
***The crystal Pilsener glasses were Howard's treat to himself years ago,
at Bloomingdale's I think.
***The green checkered mugs were a gift to us from our daughters' friend Nick,
who came to our House Blessing party in March '09.
***The chubby little plum-colored vase is a recent yard sale find from this weekend; it's filled with Peruvian Lilies, or Alstroemeria -- one of the best bargains in cut flowers; they can last for 3 weeks, and a bunch at our supermarket costs less than $4 year-round.

***The placemats belonged to my Mom, and have matching napkins but I didn't use them. Instead, I used napkins I serged about 10 years ago. I considered several napkin choices before deciding on the printed ones.

***Lastly -- green Dollar Tree dinner plates. I love their concentric circles, and their nice big size.
We used them on Wednesday for lunch in the dining room:

We were all clean plate club!
I'll be sharing some summer lunch recipes tomorrow for Foodie Friday.

You are welcome to join us, if you can wait for me to set another place.

At least we have enough chairs in this dining room. Too many, in fact!
Have you met the latest members of our That Old House Chair Brigade?

This one is waiting for you . . .

Its sister is posing coyly by the window:

There are five of them, Thomasville brand Queen Anne chairs in cherry.
We bought them at an estate sale in Bergen County, and need you ask?
Yes, they were a good buy!

They need some scratch cover and polishing, and new seat fabric that will go with our red room.
You are invited to come with me to look in the $1.00 a yard decorator fabric room
at the mill ends store in Fairfield. . . . but you better get here fast, I want to go today!

Do you think I chose the right napkin for the setting?

A confession:
I could only find one of the napkins that match the placemats. The other 3 must be in the wash!

We -- Alida, Howard and I -- have been gathering at the window end of the dining room for meals this week.
It's cool, it's quiet, and we love looking out on the side lawn.

See you tomorrow, for summer lunch recipes fit for company,
when you have nothing in the house to eat!

Now you can visit Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for the many, many wonderful
tablesettings showcased in her Tablescape Thursday.

Leigh of Tales from Bloggeritaville is hosting Thrifty Thursday.
Join in the fun by participating or by visiting!


And now, as promised -- or threatened -- a primer on how to get rid of ants in your home.

Forget sprays and little plastic disc traps. What you need to do is go to a well-stocked hardware store,
or Home Depot or Lowe's, even Amazon, and find this: Terro Liquid Ant Bait.

Even more economical, is to buy the Terro Liquid in a little bottle,
apply it to bits of cardboard, and place it where the ants go marching one by one.

It will not hurt pets or people.
It is a sweet thick liquid, laced with Borax. It is Ant Crack; the little buggers love the stuff.
Be prepared. It gets a bit creepy -- literally -- when you put down Terro Ant Bait.

the ants go from marching one by one, to this:

They will swarm the Terro Bait. You must get past your ick-ick-ick-eeeeekkk! factor, and resist stomping on these swarming ants, because they are the tiny traitors who will tote the bait back to the nest and the queen, and -- patience, patience, patience -- with us it took only 15 hours -- no more ants!

Spraying ants only croaks the ones you spray. This liquid bait sticks to the ants, and they can't help but bring it back home with them. It's deadlier than when your husband brings home Dunkin' Donuts.

Speaking of husbands, Howard took that shot of our dining room floor with the Ants Gone Wild image.
I was 3 rooms away, and satisfied with his play-by-play descriptions.

Ant invasions are rare at That Old House, but we had them more frequently at our old house, and we got pretty savvy about getting rid of them. We found success every time when we switched to the Terro Bait.

The Terro company has not paid me to tell you this -- the Terro company doesn't know I exist!
I'm just a satisfied customer who hates ants. -- Cass


  1. Great advice. I will get me some Terro. You need to send this post to Terro and they will make a tv spot for you. You deserve it.And the place settings are so pretty.

  2. Oh Cass- been there, done that - the ants in NY were a horror! But your dining room looks like such a pleasant place to be- just beautiful!
    xoxo pattie

  3. Love the table set for a family meal! I like the mix of patterns in the table linens -- very appealing!

  4. The sneak peek of lunch looks yummy!
    I have an army of ants to march in around a window and around the counter by the sink every year about this time. I need to put Terro on my list.
    Have a safe and fun weekend.

  5. Cass,

    Putting terro on the list. The table looks lovely and I can't wait to see your recipe!


  6. Lovely table, Cass. Do you think you have so many ants due to the rather wet spring? I am another putting terro on my shopping list!

  7. Thanks for the tips on Ants - we've had a parade of ants for the last three days ....and I'm not a happy camper.

  8. We've used Terro for years (in the bottle) every time we see one ant it goes out. We've seen a few this year because we've had so much rain. Very nice table setting. The napkins are what really caught my eye, so I think you did select the right ones!

    Thanks for the kind words about my mom. One of my friends here said, "welcome to the club you don't want to belong to". I guess you and I are now in the same club, and it is hard.


  9. Thanks for the ant-killing advice! The only time I have ever had them was three summers ago in the terrible drought we had here in Alabama.

    Your tablescape is great, as always.


  10. Before I forget....thank you so much for visiting my blog!

    Second....we have a few ants in our screen room for the very first time...not sure why or where they are coming from but we're afraid to put anything out because our kitties like being out there....thanks for the information - maybe I can use it on a day I can keep them inside.

    Love your tablescapes!


  11. When we bought Pondside the old owners told us that we'd be swamped with ants for a week or so each spring, as the house was built on their traditional 'migratory route'. I nodded and smiled, and the first year I used ant bait with great success. No sentimentalist here, when it comes to creepy crawlies.

  12. We now know you exist! I work in public relations for Terro, and we just LOVE happy, satisfied customers! And we also love your gorgeous home and amazing table scape - wow!!

    Ants Gone Wild...that is soooo funny!!

    We have a new outdoor ant bait product, Terro Perimeter Ant Bait Plus - I'll send you a free sample to test drive! I'll send you a seperate emails to get details on where to ship it to.

    Warm Regards,

    Carolyn Schinsky
    Ryan Public Relations
    St. Louis, MO

  13. I love the comment from Terro - you never know who is reading your blog!

    Your place setting is lovely. You can tell how much you enjoy your home, your family and friends and your pretty things. I love your sense of humor, too!

  14. Love your table and I liked those napkins the best. We also use Terro and it's the best. Patience is the key.

  15. Hi Cass,
    Your table looks very inviting for a summer luncheon. Wonderful tip on the ants (and so amusingly told)!

  16. Hi Cass,
    Your table looks so welcoming for a nice summer luncheon, I'd love a seat at one of your chairs. Thanks for the story on your ant problem. I had a problem about 10 years ago...but nothing since, thank god! Have a wonderful weekend!


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