There are many reports of disasters in the news these days-nationally and internationally-flash wildfires, tornadoes and floods. People have lost their homes, been injured and there have been deaths. Knowing these facts puts one’s little predicaments in perspective….let’s just call it straight. A second assault of wee little ants is nothing, if not annoying.
Early this week score-Mother Nature 5, Man 1: The ants coming marching in two by two: How in the world do ants find their way into a house? We found another forward party this week-in another place. Wee little gaffers-after vacuuming and moving things around I saw the tiniest little dark spot in a baseboard and they seemed to be going in and out there. Outside I searched the foundation and there outside the house at close to the same spot was a little stream of ants going up and down the foundation and slipping under a little ripple of parging. The parging looks no different from most of the rest along the foundation. Out came the ant spray, the ant traps, the vacuum and not having a supply of parging material or any idea what it is or how to seal up the hole outside at that moment, I did what many home owners facing this challenge might consider. As an interim fix, I taped duct tape in that spot. Duct tape is wonderful. One day I might swallow my pride and blog about a time when I thought duct tape and balloons might be a temporary fix for a plumbing problems at our cottage. That initiative was not successful. We’ll move to what I hope will be a permanent fix on these ants who want to visit, as soon as we figure out what that is. Anyone got some advice?
P.S. In one way, we really need to give ants credit. There can’t be any room for brain in those little bodies but look at how they communicate. And they do it so well and don’t seem to lose anything in translation. The message comes through and the march is on. Compare that our human capabilities-if you’ve ever been part of a teleconference or video conference when things don’t work and we can’t communicate or try to get a message communicated and see how often things don’t come through clearly, well you know what I mean. Humans could take lessons.
Later this week- score: Mother Nature 10, Man 1.5 : How green is my garden: We had our first working bee at the garden last weekend. It remains wet. Too wet to roto-till say most. We went at it by hand, picking dandelions and a number of thistles, methinks, Canadian thistles and putting up a little roped off area where we want the (if we ever get dry enough) roto-tiller to stay away. If you read the link about the Canadian thistle you wonder why Canada got saddled with the thistle-it came from Eurasia. Why wasn’t it named the Eurasian thistle? Its roots apparently spread 10 feet in every direction each year. I learned about the root spread from the book Second Nature by Michael Pollan. My gardening partner has loaned me the book-perhaps to give me an appreciation for what we are up against. Pollan consulted many field guides and botany books to find a suitable definition of weeds and one he cites is “a weed is an especially aggressive plant that competes successfully against cultivated plants”. Right now we don’t have any cultivated plants to be competition for the weeds. As we buy something else to use in the currently bare garden we talk about potential return on investment (outside of the social interaction, the fresh air, the coffee and treat breaks and so on). We started out talking about the ten-dollar potato-how much each potato would ultimately cost us by the time we harvest it. We are now up to a fifty-dollar potato-thinking we may only harvest 2-3 potatoes and we haven’t sowed a seed.
We’ve met some of our gardening neighbours including the woman who had our plot previously. Gardeners are quite a friendly lot-they have advice on lots of things. Sometimes all you need to do is ask. It seems sometimes you don’t even need to ask. They can tell you who they think does a good job of roto-tilling but is too expensive. Or they don’t believe in roto-tilling, they turn their plot by hand. Or it’s not too wet to seed. Or yes it is too wet. We appreciate it all but would really appreciate Mother Nature giving us some sun and wind and a chance to get out on the land on our farm.