Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Garden Wars: A Ship Sinks

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Mayday! Mayday! THE ANTS ARE COMING! THE ANTS ARE COMING!

Ahh, well, there's only one way to take out the enemy...with full gear and enough ammo. Really it's the only way. Men, you know.

So we've had a great deal of rain. Flood stage and higher. People have lost homes. Rivers overrun their banks kind of rain. Darn sky!

With rain come the ants. Fire ants. Sugar ants. Red ants. Flying ants. Ants with no name. They are allowed on my kitchen cabinet. Actually, that's a problem but it's my problem. The garden, however, is scared ground. Remember the Garden War has begun. Ants may cause a gardener to lose to another gardener. So we can't have ants in the garden. Or aphids. Or chickens. Or anything that may eat a leaf. Leaves are good. Ants are bad. Simple. 


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But ants invade, although this wasn't really a tactical move, they were flooded out. So in their defense, it really was the sky's fault. Darn sky! But they should have moved to the pasture. Or my kitchen cabinet. Somewhere safe. Instead, they moved two feet from scared ground. They had to go. 

I am at fault since I warned a gardener to be careful and not stand in the anthill while we were on the daily admiration walk to admire the plants, the leaves, the heights, the vegetables. Then admire the garden in general. Kneel and say a pray for good weather, good harvest, and a kicka-- win. Walk to the next garden and repeat. There are several boxes, remember? It takes a while. 

This particular day, however, I noticed The Anthill. Easy fix. Pour an oil-based liquid on the hill and strike a match. It's what country boys do, you understand. Oil-based liquids are easily accessible, make whooshing sounds, and cause havoc. All three of my boys are reliable pyromaniacs. I, myself, can start a campfire with one match and the items I gather in the woods. It's written in the official "True Southern Rite of Passage Handbook" (section 5, article iii, line 6) True Southerners must be "capable of building a safe fire without harm to human, animal, live vegetation, or self using only natural materials and no more than three matches." It goes on to say blah, blah, blah, blah...

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Adam met that standard at about the age of two, maybe three. He was toddling around gathering wood, so he couldn't have been very old. Today, he can start a safe fire with a wet brick. So he started a fire. It's an interesting way to de-ant a garden. 

That the ants weren't actually in the garden was just a small sticking point. They were around the tall creosote pole that held the electrical wires to Adam's shed. The wires weren't connected to the shed. They were just holding the pole up. Maybe one day they'll carry electricity all the way from the transformer to the shed. Maybe not. 

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But the electrical pole was not the problem, the ants were the problem. So Adam poured paint thinner around the pole, not on the pole, it was to be a safe fire, and struck the lighter. It was a little disappointing that the paint thinner didn't whoosh, but it did upset the ants. In fact, it was upsetting enough that the boy poured on more paint thinner. 

Hmm, there wasn't enough oil-based liquid, so he got out a small can of some other Napalm-like liquid and poured. The fire got hotter. Ahh, now the ants were climbing out of the depths of the nest. They were toast and soon the fire died down to barely a smolder. Not even smoke. Everyone safe. See, a safe fire. That was Saturday.




On Sunday it was easy to explain to the electrical company why the electrical pole was lying on the ground. The wires were faulty, you see. They got scared of the little bitty (safe) fire and let go of the pole and, unable to support itself, the pole crashed to the ground. 

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Here's your chemistry lesson: paint thinner--flammable; burns like a chemical grenade capable of seeping into small cracks. Creosote--enzymatic chemical; can burn without oxygen. In fact, it can create a fire out of itself. And that, my dear readers, is what happened.  A week later and there's still a smolder of laughter.

3 comments:

Kaja said...

Well I'm sorry about your pole, sort of, but not too sorry, because that's a very funny story and a great post. Just goes to show even a family of seasoned firestarters can get it wrong. :-)

Karen S said...

That has made for an eventful week. i am so pleased we don't get ants like you do. There are often more when the rain is coming, but thankfully not like you.
And there is not much more that can be said about the pole!!

Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts said...

It's all going to be okay, although it will cost him money to fix things. What he can't fix is that he'll never live it down. We will kid him about it for quite some time, but that's how it goes. Everyone in this family has at least one or two I-can't-believe-I-did-that embarrassing stories, but we also love laughing together.