Every once in awhile, I need to revert to the original subject of this blog, which was buying our first real house despite being in our late fifties and, in my case at least, having not one iota of the knowledge or competency necessary to own such a thing.
The reason for the return to this blog’s roots is my recent acquisition of a bottle of concentrated neem oil. This is a substance I had never previously heard of. In fact, I had managed to live 59 years without any awareness of neems, much less oil extracted from them. If, prior to this summer, you had said the words “neem oil” to me, I might have thought you were naming the actor who played Mr. Spock.
The reason I am now in possession of oil of neem is that I have become a Shakespearean witch. Next I have to get some toe of frog, the tongue of a dog, a lizard’s leg, and a few other things. I’ll just order it all from Amazon.
Oh, wait. I just read MacBeth again,* and the recipe calls for eye of newt, not oil of neem. I guess I’ll have to use my neem oil for something else.
I know! I’ll use it on my slime mold!
Yes, part of our property has become infested with slime mold, which is also something I hadn’t heard of before this summer.
According to Wikipedia, slime mold…
“…is a broad term describing some organisms that use spores to reproduce. Slime molds were formerly classified as fungi but are no longer considered part of this kingdom.”
So anyway, when this slime mold was exiled, it emigrated to my kingdom, where it has taken up residence as if it is Edward Snowden and our stonework is the Moscow airport.
Slime mold starts off yellow, moist and gelatinous (top photo at right). It looks sort of like foam that a maniacal chef on The Food Network might make out of cauliflower (bottom photo at right). The mold then dries out, turning grayish and crusty. Then it turns a sort of rust color to indicate that it has gone through its entire life cycle while you were too lazy to do anything about it.
Lest you think it spent its life just sitting around looking like the output of the wettest sneeze ever, it would have you know that it has been very busy indeed. It has been throwing its spores around, spawning auxiliary globs all over the vicinity.
To get rid of slime mold, you have to dig up the soil it is living in, or, in my case, scrape it off the stone work. That sounds easy, but try doing it while not allowing even a single spore to escape. It can’t be done.
That’s where the neem oil comes in. You’re supposed to spray it around to prevent the mold from returning.
So here’s the funny thing. Back at the beginning of this post, I implied that neem oil is the oil of neems, thinking that I was being humorous and knowing that, before I finished the post, I would Google “neem oil” and find out what it really is. I figured “neem” was originally a brand name that became generic, like “vaseline.” Or maybe it was an acronym (Nefarious Extruded Emission Material). It couldn’t actually be oil of a neem, right? I mean, what the heck is a neem? What a ridiculous name that would be for something! If I was something called a neem, I would change my name immediately, even if I had to leave my kingdom in order to do it.
So I looked it up, and sure enough, neem oil is the oil of… a neem.
Neem oil is also frequently used in soap, hair products and hand creams. This explains why you don’t have slime mold growing on your skin.
Anyway, I had to mix my concentrated neem oil with some water in a spray bottle, and douse any area where I found slime mold. If that doesn’t work, I apparently have to spread corn meal all over my property, because wet corn meal has anti-fungal properties, although I don’t know why that matters, since slime mold is no longer a fungus. It would be like using something with anti-planetary properties on Pluto.
If the corn meal doesn’t work, there’s only one more thing I can do.
Sell the house and move back to a condo.
See you soon.