The phrase "Go to the ant, you lazybones" is from Proverbs 6:6. I don't remember which translation. I have a memory of Jennifer suggesting this as a title to me as we were sitting on an airplane. I don't know if this is true or not. Certainly, Jennifer is better versed in the Bible than I am and more likely to be the one reading the Bible on an airplane.
At that time, I was reading a lot of C.S. Lewis, which sort of embarrasses me to think about now. I guess we all have our faults. To be honest, I read two Narnia books, found a third one impossible to finish, started and gave up on one of his science fiction novels and read at at Chinese buffet one of his other books. The reason I was reading all of this Lewis was I'd tried to read the Lord of Rings and absolutely hated it. I had to stop after the first volume. I remembered liking The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when I was a child, so I decided to read those book instead. I started with The Magician's Nephew, which I did enjoy, but couldn't couldn't get into any of the rest, though I kept trying for a while.
Nevertheless, most of the lyrics to the song are a mish-mash of stuff I picked up from the Narnia books. I think there is a toffee tree by a lake in one of them. Also there are probably some talking vegetables. I don't really remember.
The song was written in about 15 minutes one day over that long 2002-3 winter break. I think Jennifer was still at home with her parents, but the few weeks between semesters was the worst at the bookstore and I never really got much time off around Christmas. So I woke, worked, came home and wasted magnetic tape. I remember sitting on the futon, strumming a great chord progression which immediately suggested this really awesome melody. I ran into the kitchen where I had the machine set up and by the time I was ready to record, I'd forgotten it.
What came out instead was "Go to the Ant You Lazybones"--a song nowhere near as great as the one originally suggested to me by the spirit. I ad libbed the words in one take and then spent the rest of the day soloing over the end.
After hearing the solo on the full band recording that we'd done in Finn's mom's house in the Summer of 2004, Paula said, "Whoa, settle down Jerry Garcia."