Friday, June 12, 2009

Life cycle complete

I've had a cold/allergies for the last couple of weeks. Under normal circumstances, my nose is extremely keen. I can smell when dogs have walked on a carpet the day before. I can detect serious illness in an animal. And until today, I hadn't realized just how much I use my nose to determine how well my house is doing.

This morning, after blowing my nose, I went downstairs for a second cup of coffee and was greeted at the bottom of the stairs by an incredible stench. "Great," I thought to myself. "Someone's tracked more dog shit into the house."

Except it didn't really smell like that. It DID smell like shit, but not doggie, not kitty, and not human. What the hell was it?

The closer I got to the kitchen, the worse it got, until I came face to face with the compost bowl. It was piled high with coffee grounds, watermelon rinds, bits and bobs of other vegetable matter - and fruit flies. Flies EVERYWHERE.

And their children.

I nearly lost my first cup of coffee right there. Why didn't I smell this the first time I came down for coffee? Had I not blown my nose enough? Had the pile not been disturbed by the latest round of coffee grounds yet? Or had there suddenly been an explosion of maggot gas that finally caught my attention. It wasn't like that last night.

Today is garbage day (thank God), so I dumped the mess into a garbage bag (very un-pc, I know, but this was an emergency!) and I ran it out to the road as fast as I could. The bowl may need to join the trash - I'm soaking it in oxy-palmolive and lemon juice right now but it could be a lost cause.

I also tossed sponges and sprayed the counter down with spic-n-span, let it sit a bit, then used paper towels (disposable!!!) to start wiping up the bodies.

Maggots are quite beneficial, actually. They clean up the world and we'd be in a real pickle without them. They eat dead matter but not anything living - which makes them an ideal, if gross, choice for cleaning dead skin out of wounds and such. There are some cultures that eat them (fried), and of course they are a prized delicacy if you happen to be a chicken.

But I'd rather not have them in my kitchen.


Janis said...

ewwww. Maggots, Gross

margaret said...

Yikes! Glad your sniffer is back in working order :-)

Jennifer said...

Oh my. I think I may lose it (have we talked about my very bad gag reflex?) Although, I'll be honest- I feel a little less freaked about you helping me clearn now, hehe ;)

nikki said...

i totally just threw up in my mouth. thanks! (lemme know if you need a sure fire way of getting rid of fruit flies.)

Pamela said...

I've never seen any maggots in my compost crock. But we try to empty it often. I do see lots of bugs in my compost bin at the far edge of the fence.