Green Pest Control

Here at Bethesdabakers we take our pest control obligations very seriously. But sustainability and carbon reduction are equally weighty considerations and here we try to combine the two. Take the fly killer in my workroom, cum office, cum flour store, cum junk room. It doesn’t need a power supply, batteries or even winding up. It is self-powered, maintains itself and its equipment and has a tiny carbon footprint – well, eight of them actually:

Sometimes we work as a team. It’s built its web about an inch from the window so flies can happily walk up the glass underneath it until I startle them into flying into the trap and the spider dives down and pounces:

Look at that – a fly as big as the spiders body. That’s what you call a good dinner.

Down in the jungle by the waterhole, guarding the outer perimeter and keeping the bakery safe from rodents is Legs the transgender cat.

We had to change her name from Legless to Leglass when a friend watching him/her wash pointed out that he/she had no cojones, not even an operation scar. Her pedigree name is Legs Lazarus. Legs because the bottom half of her rear legs are white so, like the Cheshire Cat’s grin, her legs are the last thing you see disappearing into the jungle. Lazarus because a couple of years ago when she was a very young cat there was a day of freak weather – a weird combination of heat and humidity which brought about the only real baking disaster I’ve had in the past four years. The temperature in the fridge ROSE overnight. Doughs were collapsing before I had time to get them in the oven. Also collapsed was Legs found lying in the garden in full sunshine hyperventilating. Sue moved her into the shade and put water out for her but she was still there panting by the time we went to bed. We thought she’d die but by morning she had risen again. So it’s Legs Lazarus.

Not that she’s our cat, you understand – wouldn’t be hygienic to have a cat in a bakery – we just feed her and in return she kills rodents and leaves the proof on the doorstep.

Which reminds me. A few years back I was quite excited to discover that a well-known Paris boulangerie had a webcam in the bakery. Went to the website and the camera showed a deck oven with a loader in front of it. So I settled down to watch the action and learn some technique. Nothing happened. I logged on every few days and never saw a single movement. Just when I decided it was only a still photograph, a cat wandered into the frame, hopped up onto the loader, cocked a hind leg in the air, gave a good washing to that part of the anatomy where Legs would have had cojones if she was a boy child, and then settled down to sleep. Never saw so much as a ficelle …

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