I am currently waging a war on my living room floor. My foe is tiny — teeny tiny, in fact — but what it lacks in size is made up in sheer number.
Our living room has been invaded by ants. This is a battle that ensues on an almost annual basis, usually after we’ve received some steady rain. In their search for dry ground, the tiny pests infiltrate through tiny cracks into our living space.
In previous years, it’s been easy to locate their point of entry — usually a small gap near the front door, likely caused by the house settling over the years. This year, however, regular perusals of that spot have not revealed a steady stream of ants coming and going there. I spent much of my lunch hour yesterday looking for other possible sites, but without pinpointing a locale.
So, at the moment, our living room carpet is littered with ant baits —small pieces of cardboard dotted with ant poison. Yes, I know that the covered ant baits would be much more practical —and in the past I have used them — but I didn’t have any on hand and didn’t have time to run to the store. In the meantime, Hubby Bryan and I will have to tread gingerly through the living room lest we end up with ant dope on the bottoms of our feet. I’m hopeful that by the end of today — after Bryan sprays around the perimeter of our house — the invaders will have been vanquished.
While this is generally a seasonal problem, I have noticed that there seem to be more anthills than usual surrounding our house. Having read online that cornmeal was a natural way of getting rid of ants, I have sprinkled that around the the sites but haven’t of yet noticed any reduction in their numbers. (Or maybe that’s why they’ve come inside — to get away from the cornmeal?) Supposedly the ants eat the cornmeal, but aren’t able to digest it, so it does them in. In the past, I’ve also tried other natural remedies, such as sprinkling cinnamon or other spices that the ants supposedly don’t like. And still the ants return.
Since the rain has been regular enough to instigate an ant invasion, I imagine it also continues to promote the growth of area rhubarb patches. I haven’t gotten any answers to my call for more rhubarb recipes, so I turned to the Betty Crocker “Big Book of Pies and Tarts” and found this seasonal selection to share with you today.
Rhubarb Custard Tart
1 refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup quick-cooking oats
¼ cup cold butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 egg yolk
3 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place cookie sheet on middle oven rack while oven heats. Place pie crust in a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom or a 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for one-crust filled pie. Press in bottom and up sides of pan. Trim edge if necessary.
In small bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and oats. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly; set aside
In large bowl, mix granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons flour. Stir in whipping cream, preserves and egg yolk until well blended. Stir in rhubarb. Pour into crust-lined pan. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling.
Place tart on heated cookie sheet. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until filling bubbles around edge and topping is deep golden brown. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes before serving. Remove tart from side of pan. Cover and refrigerate any remaining tart.
Serve topped with whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.