Roof goats and ant kitchen cleaners — pet brigade rocks
Burt's Eye View
My friend Warner observed that we do ourselves a disservice by killing ants that crawl into the house.
“It makes sense,” he said. “You drop crumbs. They take them away. If you kill the ants, you’re stuck cleaning up both insect carcasses and crumbs. Let the ants live and they clean the kitchen for you.”
It made a crazy sort of sense — in a guy sort of way. I’m sure neither Warner’s wife nor mine would grasp the genius of the plan.
It’s the same kind of logic I used as a kid when I was supposed to do dishes. If I spread the plates on the floor, the family dog licked them so clean that I could stack them in the cupboard without ever having to wet a dish cloth or unfold a towel.
It was foolproof — until Mom walked back into the kitchen. She wet the cloth, unfolded the dish towel, handed both to me, and I ended up scrubbing twice as many dishes as I started out with.
Still, that’s no reason to dismiss Warner’s idea. Add a dog and between dishes, Rover gladly will handle any chunks too big for the ants to carry.
Why stop there? As a husband, I’ve come to learn that my primary purpose in life is to kill spiders. But are we doing a disservice there, too?
Summer’s coming. A fly or two always manage to get inside.
Now I could either run around the house swinging a fly swatter like a swashbuckling idiot, or I could take a nap while the spiders do all the work.
True, they do tend to spin their webs in some inconvenient places. Maybe they can be trained. Who knows? My orders always have been to squash, not teach.
What else? My knees are old and my back aches. Instead of bending over to dust the furniture, I’ll get a couple cats and a laser light. Simply point the light beam at the dust balls and Frisky and Muffin get the job done.
I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but I think I could roll a tiny remote-control ball or wind-up mouse through the duct work and have the kitty service clean those, too.
Indoors isn’t the only haven for labor-saving pets. Instead of mowing his huge front yard, my neighbor Rafael fenced it in and acquired a flock of sheep. His lawn is always green and neatly manicured. And if you ever need a fleece blanket, he’s got you covered. Or rather, his baa-baa-mowers do.
I’m still looking for a herd of roof goats.
I’ve got green moss puffing up among the shingles on my roof. Tiny trees tend to sprout from my gutters.
I could take care of these issues myself except for the very simple reason that a ladder would be involved. If I have to mount anything higher than a step stool, I’m not interested.
But goats are nimble climbers. So why not keep a few on the roof? The shingles would be clear of moss, the gutters devoid of sprouts and as a bonus, the squirrels wouldn’t dare try to squeeze into the attic.
Roof goats could double as guard goats. Can you imagine the look underneath a burglar’s mask when Billy Goat Gruff drops from the sky and plops onto his head? The burglar probably would topple backward onto the lawn, where he’d be trampled by a flock of woolly mowers.
But before I get too carried away, let’s see if I can sell my wife on the idea of helper ants. I’ll bring it up while I’m rewashing the dishes. She didn’t understand the dog thing any better than Mom did.
— Send Cole to the doghouse at at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.