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Eight billion babies…. and counting

I’ve been breathing in a sickening sweet aroma all week – that is to say, I’m not in it all the time, but if you come into that room hours later you can still smell it. Not very attractive.

That’s because of the babies. Eight billion, roughly speaking

Maybe I’m coming up with that number because it was recently in the news that the 8 billionth human baby was born – because how on earth do you come up with a number like that? Counting is impossible, it takes you a lifetime, so there is nothing left but higher mathematics.

That is, in the case of the news of the 8 billionth human baby.

Since my math nodule is completely missing, let alone the worm-shaped higher-math appendage, I just have to guess. And it wasn’t about human babies either, it was about these ones:

Any idea? They look like mouse droppings, but I got suspicious because they were moving. In the photo above it doesn’t look like that many, but I couldn’t get them in the picture in one go.

The chicken food was also Com-Ple-Te-Ly covered in babies

You probably wouldn’t guess, because I had never seen this in my life either. Moving mouse droppings. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer: they turned out to be cockroach babies. Cockroaches apparently love pet food, and I kind of knew that.

When I used to put the dog food outside, there were often, especially in winter, a whole dynasty of cockroaches in the morning. Then I took that tray to the chickens, which they pecked out flawlessly from among the chunks. They loved it. Too bad for them that I don’t put the dog food behind the kitchen anymore.

If there is even the slightest danger of animals crawling in, I immediately take measures, because Rule 1 is: “No animals in my kitchen!”

Fortunately, it was now only about the animal food. You can buy the broken rice grains here at the rice factory for little. They are like pinpoints, but perfectly usable for the chickens. I cook it for them, they love it. The bags of mixed grain are less well sealed. They are sewn shut with large stitches, so a mother cockroach can easily get in there.

It’s getting a bit colder, so even though a cockroach isn’t exactly overflowing with warm motherly feelings, she probably wants her 60,000 babies to get a good start in life, so she’s looking for a place where it’s nice and warm and preferably a little moist.

If you are born as a cockroach in a bag of chicken feed, you have a silver spoon in your mouth, so to speak. I’ve now had plenty of opportunity to study them up close. You wouldn’t say they are baby cockroaches, you know, they look very different from the adult specimens. They don’t have antennae yet, but they do have legs and a trunk. Very cute actually.

Once they have hatched, they immediately start crawling up. Very curious. So there were quite a few on the ceiling – easy to vacuum. I had put deadly powder in the vacuum cleaner bag, because I’m merciless when it comes to insects.

That is, insects in the wrong places. In the great outdoors, they go about their business and are incredibly useful. They are actually the basis of our human existence, so you should never kill insects and spiders anyway. Always work out the Albert-Schweitzer way*. But when they’re indoors somewhere they don’t belong, like in this case in the workshop where we keep the food, I get fanatical.

I reason like the Inquisition at the time: if you are suspected of being a witch (= cockroach), you will be mercilessly drowned

I had a case of doubt, lying in the sink: “You are suspected of being a cockroach,” I said sternly, “what do you have to say to that?” The animal was still moving quite lively with its front legs, it could also be a tiny spider. I have nothing against spiders, but I also don’t feel like grabbing a magnifying glass, so: on with that tap.

“In the Other World you may be rehabilitated – although they may not have anything against cockroaches there,” I shout after him. Anyway. So I’ve been busy last week killing roughly 8 billion babies. With powder, spray cans, vacuum cleaners, brooms, buckets and mops. To be on the safe side, I also checked, soaked and mopped the places we walk into, such as our kitchen, from top to bottom.

Silver lining: the kitchen has never been so clean! Just like the workshop

Only that sickening sweet aroma in the air is a pity.

  • Albert Schweitzer’s method: take a cup and a piece of paper, place the cup over the insect, carefully slide the piece of paper underneath. This way the insect is in the cup, and you can put it outside. Simple, animal-friendly, and very effective.


We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.

A big step, especially with two small children.

We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday houses, rooms and a campsite.

You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

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