carpenter ants are not a problem
Saturday, March 30 2019
This morning I got up at around 8:00am and made myself a french press of coffee, just because that's the ritual even if Gretchen wasn't around. Then I took the dogs for a straightforward walk down the Farm Road to the abandoned go-cart tracks and then homeward through the scrubby highland forest between there and home. I hoped the dogs would involve themselves in some innocent project and not come home for hours (as they sometimes do), but that didn't happen.
I made several forays into the forest to salvage wood today. Two of these were to the edge of the escarpment east of the Stick Trail where I've been salvaging a downed skeletonized double oak, though only one of these resulted in a load. One of the forays was for cutting only, and I also took the opportunity to cut up some of a large fallen red oak high above (and just west of) the Stick Trail in that place where the escarpment to the west is particularly high and steep. Other forays had me salvaging the last of the skeletonized oak I'd been cutting up several hundred feet west of the Farm Road. I done some of that salvaging yesterday as well, and some of the wood was hollow and contained the rest of a huge nest of large black ants with red thoraxes (that I'd first encountered a couple weeks ago). Based on the modifications to the inside of the tree, these ants look to be carpenter ants. People freak out about carpenter ants getting into their house and pay big bucks to have them exterminated without ever opening their mind to one important fact: carpenter ants require water, and if you don't have leaks in your house, you will not have carpenter ants. So I had no problem bringing a huge nest of carpenter ants to within 50 feet of our house. Presumably they'll try to find some new place to live, and I am confident it will not be our house. Of course, I would've preferred to have never destroyed their home in the first place, but when my firewood gathering protocol depends on salvaging long-dead trees, carpenter ants are part of the collateral damage.
Because I didn't want to actually bring all those carpenter ants into the house, I had to put the wood containing them in the woodshed. But because the woodshed is technically full (all three tranches are full), I had to start a fourth tranche. Wood in a fourth tranche is not completely sheltered from rain, but if I angle the pieces correctly, I can make it so the top pieces shed water in preserve the dryness of lower pieces in the pile.
By now it was a beautiful warm spring day, with temperatures reaching up somewhere around 70. I was feel ing cabin fever and wanted to drive around with the dogs in the Subaru with the windows down. I also wanted to wear something a little less schlubby than what I normally wear to work. So I put on white-spotted maroon long-sleeve shirt and my brown skinny pants. This definitely made me look sharper than I usually do, and I would notice that people gave me more eye contact and volunteered more conversation than is otherwise common.
Our first destination was, as it often is, the Tibetan Center thrift store. I've been in the market for a straightforward record turntable to replace the old Aiwa one Gretchen brought into our marriage (I'd already replaced everything else in that dreadful Aiwa stereo system except for the speakers). At some point someone dropped something on that turntable, cracking its translucent dust cover. So I'd been hoping to find a cheap thrift store replacement. Today I found a modern turntable made by a company called Ion. It had both audio and USB outputs, suggesting it can be connected to a computer to capture digitized audio. It also has two small built-in speakers and a volume knob, which means that it can work without any amplifier. Along with that, I got a 15 foot extension cord (can't have too many of those!) and a springy bulb-holder designed to attach to a broom handle for use in replacing bulbs. I could see that coming in handy on landlording missions. Unfortunately, the turntable was $20, which is a lot for that place. But $20 is good for a turntable, that is, if it works. Later, though, I would find it didn't have a functioning stylus, meaning I would have to order a replacement online. Mind you, I never actually play records any more. But every household should have a means of playing them (at least for the time being).
My errands then took me to the Uptown Hannaford (aka "Ghettoford.") I rarely have occasion to go there these days, so I miss the freaks and weirdoes that place is known for. As I was arriving, that Kingston institution I refer to as "Face Man" was just leaving. He's the guy with the deformed asymmetrical face whom one only normally encounters on Tuesdays. My mission at Ghettoford was mostly to buy things like prepared Indian meals in plastic pouches (since they're one of the main things I eat when Gretchen isn't cooking food for me). But I also found other things to get: corn chips, Ben & Jerry's vegan icecream, and a sixer of Negra Modelo. Today's jolt of warm springlike weather had me craving a Mexican road beer.
While in the Ghettoford shopping area, I bought a gallon of floor paint (and a few painting supplies) at Herzog's and a big bottle of white wine and a half gallon of gin at J & K's. I also wandered into the dollar store to see if there was anything I wanted to buy there. I was in the market for some colored pencils so I could draw grain lines on the fake wood epoxy patches I'd made south of the kitchen island. I did indeed find some colored pencils, but the biggest score there were some large spring-loaded clips, big enough to hold things together that are being glued. I also got some curved sewing needles; I'd needed one just the other day when repairing a torn hose on our Dyson vacuum cleaner (I'd just sewn the support spring together on either side of the tear, glurping in some Gorilla Glue first to make a seal).
It being a lonely evening spent with just me and the critters, I drank a bit too much and also smoked a little schwaggy pot from a jar. I used a pipe I soldered together tonight just so I wouldn't have to fight to get a hit through the various clogged bits of paraphernalia I have on hand. I've smoked very little pot in the past year, and I'd sort of forgotten how fun that can be.
My view from my surveillance robot this morning as I drank coffee. Click to enlarge.
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