Back around the house

By Kathleen Floyd

May 6, 2014

Although musicians may insist that it is the age of Aquarius, parents with children in the intermediate grades and beyond know that it is the age of science.

With six children already in school we find their range of scientific subjects staggering. For instance, chemistry sets, toad’s eggs, mold growing, wine making, aquariums, and terrariums, and those just account for one kid.

The mold growing wasn’t too bad. It started with one jar with a piece of moist bread tucked away in the basement. Then it expanded to four jars with bread in various states of mold tucked away in the basement.

Then it expanded again, and again. It started two years ago, and I think we finally found the last jar last week.

Wine making was interesting. We had enough friends reminding us when the final product would be ready that it didn’t explode. The only problem was keeping within state limits for home protection.

The chemistry set in the proper hands worked well. But then one boring, icy cold winter day, a younger, less experienced experimenter decided to investigate sulfur. When sulfur burns it smells like a combination of sewer gas and very rotten eggs.

After he walked through the house to show everyone his great discovery we had a choice of staying closed-in and dying of air pollution or opening the windows and doors and freezing to death. We chose fresh air.

The chemistry set is now under lock and key. All experiments are cleared with Daddy before they proceed.

The toads were brought home from a camp out. There were three of them. I don’t know what two were, but one was a mother. After being placed in a nice comfortable aquarium she began to produce eggs. We thought she’d never quit.

I suggested that the development of the eggs should be shared with the other science students. The teacher accepted the whole mess and put it in the window in the classroom that Friday. We enjoyed a nice warm weekend.

Shortly after my toad fancier left for school the following Monday, he returned. “The toads are out in the front yard,” he said. “Why?” I asked.

“Well, when I got to school the teacher was waiting outside the classroom, and she said I should bring them home. I wondered why, and she opened the classroom door. I took one breath, and then I knew why. Yuck!”

The three original toads were in great condition, so we turned them loose in the area of the creek. The eggs were…Well, if anybody forces you to choose between sun baked toad’s eggs and burning sulfur, take the sulfur.

Growing plants under various conditions is a current project. So far, no fuss, no mess, no bother. So what could possibly go wrong? As the lady in the TV commercial says, “Don’t ask!”

Editor’s Note: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on May 12, 1971.

Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with her columns, Back Around the House and All Around the House. She can be reached at kfloyd@woh.rr.com. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.