28 June 2006

Berry good to know

I stopped to buy fresh, organic, local, gorgeous strawberries on my drive home from work today.

Earlier, I had packed several items from my office and had them in the back of my car (we are moving and I am taking some personal things home). I was balancing all these things with the strawberries (do you see where this is leading?) on top.

I got to the door. As I was fumbling with the key I saw the berry box tipping. I spoke firmly, “you are not allowed to fall!”

It obeyed and stayed put as I opened the door. As I was about to set the whole mini-tower of items down, the box toppled and berries rolled all over my not very well swept floor.

OK. I was amused. I can take a cosmic joke.

I began to pick them up and saw something
unfamiliar, organic and vaguely frighteneng in the corner by one side of my door jamb. I very deliberately finished the berry project. I brought them to the sink to rinse and when I finished that task returned hesitatingly to the odd formation.

I got out a flashlight and a large hand lens to have a better look. It looked like moist sawdust, but not as clean. In a fit of sqeemishness I grabbed a broom and swept it all outside. My animal-self, my intuitive knowing self knew what it was! I went to the internet and typed in “carpenter ant sign.”

I know what you’re thinking: Carptenter ant frass.

Yes. Damn.

If the berries had not spilled, how long might that have sat quietly in the dark corner by the edge of my door. How much more damage would the ants have done? Now I have to figure out what I want to do to get rid of: The Queen! Oh god, I am actually plotting to overthrow The Queen!

Only one queen per colony. Queenie can, however, lay thousands of eggs in her lifetime, including what are called swarmers, some of which will go off to become queens in new colonies.

Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants don’t eat wood. They do dig out galleries (rooms and hallways) in it. Excavated chambers are used to store eggs, larvae, and pupae.

Carpenter Ants are an important food source for woodpeckers. Pileated Woodpeckers are known for rooting out and eating entire colonies.

Carpenter Ants are actually helpful, have value even because they help break down dead wood, old trees, stumps, logs. But let me hasten to add they can be a problem when they enter homes or start colonies in wooden objects, such as walls or poles. Usually ants enter wood that is already damaged, but the ants can make it worse.

So really, carpenter ants are more often a sign that you already have wood damage. They aren't the primary problem. I’ve known for years I was at risk for wood rot in this house. I will deal.


Right now I have a quart of
fresh, organic, local, gorgeous strawberries to eat.

27 June 2006

And now for something completely different


I'm listening to Paul Avgerinos "Flying And Floating" from: Sky Of Grace
(Which, by the way, I will never listen to again!)

22 June 2006

Morning has broken...

I’m supposed to be getting ready for work. I don’t want to. You can't make me.

What I am doing is looking at some great new blogs. They are linked on my site. Bad Guitar and Haiku Ambulance.

I am thinking how sad it is that I can’t figure out how to get paid to sit home naked, or in my red robe on chilly days, and swing in my hammock listening to white-throated sparrows, juncos and goldfinches trilling, chirping and per-chick-a reeing away all morning. Or reading. Me, not the birds (but who knows what they do in the privacy of their own branches.)

Or making arty things or napping.

But I can’t figure out how to get paid to do those things and so I will haul myself out of this 1940s swivel, desk chair for which I paid 7 dollars and get dressed. And go to work. And listen to stories about 2 month old babies being literally snatched out of mother’s arms and are now being held hostage; being strangled and waking up in the ER; or raped unconcious by your own boyfriend and how the DA can’t win the cases or it’s not against the law anyway.

I will think about and mime, several times during the day, shoving a pencil into my left temple until it comes out the other side. I will not do it. I will go home and eat ice cream for dinner and wonder why I am over weight.

I will think about developing heathier coping strategies. I will wish I’d written “If I had a Rocket Launcher” but be glad that Bruce Cockburn did.

Someone had to.

21 June 2006

I am in love...

How I wish I had a good stop-action digital camera. Most of the bird photos I take are shot with a very slow digital camera, hand held up to the the lens of my binoculars, through a screen and very optically imperfect window glass!

—grumble of the day.

18 June 2006

Bird Shadow Box

Today is Sunday. I hear tell it is Father’s day in The United States of America. OK, Fine.

I woke up at 4:00. I did a bit of art. And I am working on re-classifying my Exotica MP3s as Easy Listening with exotica in the Comments field. Fascinating.

It’s almost time for lunch.

17 June 2006

Home for a Day

I was home from work yesterday. Just not feeling OK. No clear illness. Just off kilter. Don’t want to get sick, as I watch my colleagues drop like flies with allergies, influenza, colds...

So, I made a this. It’s 5x7 inches. Mixed media on canvas.

14 June 2006

Phasianus colchicus

I’ve been away. I am back. This fellow greeted me upon my return home.