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Scruffy has Much to Learn

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Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  scruffyfeathers on 6/9/2015, 10:09 pm

What the red arrow is pointing to is a man made ant hill. I know for fact that it is man made because I am the one that made it.



Several times a day I will take Timmy  into the forest to collect several loads of top soil from the forest floor. The decayed matt covering the ground is about 3 to 4 inches thick. It has a PH reading on the acidic side due to the dominant trees being pine. Mixed in are plenty of old black leaves from hardwood saplings and scrub brush of yesteryear. This is the only amendment I use for the clay soil dominating my garden which has a neutral PH reading from 7 to 7.5.



I use a 5/8 mesh to sieve out twigs, rocks and other unwanted debris and discard the waste into a neat little pile to be disposed of at a later date. This particular pile is about a month old so yesterday I decided to load it up on Timmy and haul it back into the woods.



After piercing the mound with my shovel I noticed ants had used the ready made mound as their residence. Little tiny black ants and most impressive was their numbers. I had once read that it was not uncommon for ant colonies to have a population exceeding a million. Well, this mound had to be the New York City of Antsville. Millions of the little critters scurrying hither, thither and yon in a confused panic as I scooped away the walls of their city.



After the third shovel full I hit a carpet of white. Eggs: again, millions of them. I was awestruck and actually impressed that one little queen laid so many eggs in so little time. (here is an interesting side bar: Did you know that the weight of the total Ant Population actually exceeds the combined weight of every human on this blue marble?) Anyway, I was intrigued and was actually thinking of the complexity of an ant colony when as I removed the shovelhead from the center of the mound I caught a glimpse a huge grayish looking ant moving down from the center of the hill. With the speed and agility I thought to have abandoned me many, many years ago I pivoted, raised the shovel and brought it crashing down on the creature just as it reached the bottom of the hill.



This thing was huge! Its exceptional size answered my questions as to how one colony could have amassed such numbers in only a few weeks. Hundreds of the tiny ants were crawling all over it. They looked really, really mad. I actually stood back about five or six feet away for fear that one of the little guys would put two and two together; point at me and exclaim: “He Killed Dorothy!



I looked around and found a stick a little more than a foot long. Cautiously I began to poke at it while keeping a close eye on the hundreds of thousands of ants now covering the immediate area. With the exception of two of its legs curled up under it there was no indication that I had smacked it with the shovel. Perhaps I only stunned it. I poked at it some more and the curled legs rolled out from under it. I jumped back and waited for it to start running toward me. It just sat there. The concentration of the tiny little ants was growing around the base of the mound. With a longer stick I flicked it farther away from the mound. I had to get a picture of this thing but the camera was in the house.



Knowing ants can easily lift 100 times their weight and withstand pressures exceeding 5000 times their weight (I read a lot) I looked around for a suitable restrainer to hold it in place while I went for the camera.



I pulled a slat from a broken pallet near by and gently laid it across the top of the ant. I didn’t want to crush it. This could be my fifteen minutes of fame. I intended on calling the news station as well as the exchange office hoping someone there could identify the species.



I retrieved the camera as well as a pair of thick leather welding gloves. I stepped lightly as I approached the board. Would it still be there? Had it gotten away? The latter question bothered me so I began scanning over a wide area of my approach.



I was about ten feet away and could see that the slat was still resting on the top of the ant. I actually held my breath as I carefully and cautiously removed the restraining slat. I needed something of a standard size for a comparison photo. I pulled the pack of Pall Mall 100’s from my pocket and scooted it (using a stick) next to the monster. Here is the photo. I wanted to get a picture of the underside as well. I put my welder’s gloves on and using a stick about the size of a pencil I rolled it over. As I mentioned earlier I was curious as to it origin. I had my answer to that question. In block letters across the thorax was one word: “JAPAN”. I was infuriated, humiliated but oddly enough, relieved.



I picked up my cigarettes and walked back to the house. Brenda was anxiously awaiting. I told her of my discovery and she, rightly so, began laughing hysterically. With a raised finger and a stern note in my voice I attempted to admonish her and told her: “Not one word of this to your father”. With tears from laughter rolling down the sides of her face she shook her head and said: “I love you very much, but I can’t make that promise“.



That was yesterday. Today I have taken several calls from relatives asking to speak with the famous “ant killer”. Even Mark from Cedar Creek Farms Brenda’s cousin) called to ask if I could help trap a bug that had killed half his chicken flock and a coyote.



Now that the cat is out of the bag and I am the laughing stock of Upson and Spalding county I figured it was only fair to let you, my SFG family in on the laugh. The story is 100% true - as much as I hate to admit it, it is an actual surrender of yesterday’s events.

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  boffer on 6/9/2015, 11:06 pm

yahoo


You had me going there for a minute. I'm glad you escaped alive!

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  Windmere on 6/9/2015, 11:14 pm

You had me going there too!  My daughter just came in and asked me why I was smiling and shaking my head....

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Scruffy

Post  kauairosina on 6/9/2015, 11:45 pm

What a Great! story.   Thanks for the laughs.

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/10/2015, 9:19 am

Oh, my!  Poor Scruffy...!

At least you didn't get eaten...  Razz

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  Judy McConnell on 6/10/2015, 9:53 am

Poor Scruffy - sounds like "somebody" set you up.  All in the life of a gardener???

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  sanderson on 6/11/2015, 12:24 am

Excellent story! I know the rubber ant was just that, but it's the way you tell it.

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  scruffyfeathers on 6/11/2015, 1:44 am

@sanderson wrote:Excellent story!   I know the rubber ant was just that, but it's the way you tell it.


Thank you. Sanderson.  Life is short and I am finally learning to enjoy the gift we have been given. Having a good laugh at my own expense is no longer a problem. I am glad you enjoyed the story. As silly as it may sound, it actually happened just the way I told it.

I don’t wear my glasses while working outside. Although I am not blind I do miss some detail. Adding to that, I am a compulsive reader. Subject matter is not important. If it is in print and within arms length the chances are I will read the note, article or tag.

I have read about ants as large as 5.5 cm and it is not uncommon for the queen to be 40 to 60% larger. Additionally, I pulled that material from the woods. I have 18 acres of pines with a scattering of hardwoods to pull the much needed top soil from. There are ATV trails throughout (Some day soon I intend to decorate the trails and build a few bridges so Brenda can ride her chair on them).

I was near the center of the woods and well off trail when I gathered the top soil. Now I ask you, what are the odds that some kid lost a rubber ant way back there? Also, while sifting the soil I never spotted the ant in the mix.

I am not a foolish man but on that day I was certainly made a fool. Nonetheless, I am glad I had an opportunity to share the story.

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  sanderson on 6/11/2015, 1:57 am

I know what you mean about not having glasses on. I quickly scrolled down to the photo and then returned to the top to read the story. I thought the photo was a Camel Scorpion! Embarassed

PS I am not showing your acreage to my husband. He would be quading all day.

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Scruffy

Post  kauairosina on 6/11/2015, 2:37 am

Sandersen - Quading? Wvas dat?

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  sanderson on 6/11/2015, 2:56 am

Me on husband's Quad:

Edit: Ops, me on rental Quad, his is in the background. This is his newest off-road toy, a Razor:


Last edited by sanderson on 6/11/2015, 2:58 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Error)

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  Kelejan on 6/11/2015, 7:57 am

Scruffy, what a wonderful property you have.  So lucky to get a second chance to acquire it.

Rosina, when I read the word quading, I also wondered what it meant as I read it phonetically  in my mind as  qwayding instead of quadding and I knew what that meant.  Possibly something to do with doubling the last consonant before adding  the -ing?

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/11/2015, 8:23 am

Sanderson - is that a "boy with his toy?"

Scruffy - Being able to laugh at myself is one of the things that has kept my marriage together, lol.  That's one of the things that DH & I talk about.  If we couldn't laugh at ourselves...  well, our lives would be quite different than it is now!

And, I agree, that's a GREAT property!  I'm quite jealous...

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Scruffy

Post  kauairosina on 6/11/2015, 12:36 pm

What a delight you are to have on this forum Scruffy.

I thought quads was about the opiates!!

What fun to see other aspects of our online friends, whom we will surely never see in person.

Aloha
Kauairosina

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  vortex on 6/11/2015, 3:20 pm

@sanderson wrote:I know what you mean about not having glasses on.  I quickly scrolled down to the photo and then returned to the top to read the story.  I thought the photo was a Camel Scorpion!   Embarassed  

PS  I am not showing your acreage to my husband.  He would be quading all day.


Well, so much for sleep for the next month.

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  boffer on 6/11/2015, 8:01 pm

Razz

That's what I thought the first time I saw a tomato hornworm picture here on the forum. I had never heard of them. I still can't believe the size of those suckers!

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  TCgardening on 6/11/2015, 9:49 pm

I pictured Richard Whitmark in the 1950's movie "Them"
[url=content6.flixster.com/movie/10/91/34/10913472_det.jpg]Them[/url]
Unfortunately we have some invasive invaders that are taking over down here.
https://i18.servimg.com/u/f18/18/80/34/21/carrib11.jpg

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  scruffyfeathers on 6/12/2015, 12:22 am

@Kelejan wrote:Scruffy, what a wonderful property you have.  So lucky to get a second chance to acquire it.

Rosina, when I read the word quading, I also wondered what it meant as I read it phonetically  in my mind as  qwayding instead of quadding and I knew what that meant.  Possibly something to do with doubling the last consonant before adding  the -ing?
Thanks, we are very thankful for the second opportunity.  The actual selling point (in my mind) is that there is a 30 x 44 foot concrete pad next to the garden. 
I plan to build a small workshop and a large outdoor kitchen on the pad.  This won't happen until next year but the plans are on the drawing board. 
The pad has been slightly undermined by water so I can't put a structure on it but I can build a post and beam around it.  The power company here actually gives away old telephone  and power poles.  Some as long as 70 feet.  This will cut the cost considerably so the plan is very doable with our budget.

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  scruffyfeathers on 6/12/2015, 12:25 am

@sanderson wrote:I know what you mean about not having glasses on.  I quickly scrolled down to the photo and then returned to the top to read the story.  I thought the photo was a Camel Scorpion!   Embarassed  

PS  I am not showing your acreage to my husband.  He would be quading all day.

With or without glasses, that critter would have had me running to the house and getting a camera would have been the furthest though from my mind! Laughing

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  scruffyfeathers on 6/12/2015, 12:26 am

@TCgardening wrote:I pictured Richard Whitmark in the 1950's movie "Them"
[url=content6.flixster.com/movie/10/91/34/10913472_det.jpg]Them[/url]
Unfortunately we have some invasive invaders that are taking over down here.
https://i18.servimg.com/u/f18/18/80/34/21/carrib11.jpg

I remember the movie well.

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  scruffyfeathers on 6/12/2015, 12:30 am

@kauairosina wrote:What a delight you are to have on this forum Scruffy.

I thought quads was about the opiates!!

What fun to see other aspects of our online friends, whom we will surely never see in person.

Aloha
Kauairosina

Cool I suspect at some point in time we will all meet.  It will be a gathering I am sure we all will enjoy.

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  Kelejan on 6/12/2015, 1:05 am

@scruffyfeathers wrote:
@kauairosina wrote:What a delight you are to have on this forum Scruffy.

I thought quads was about the opiates!!

What fun to see other aspects of our online friends, whom we will surely never see in person.

Aloha
Kauairosina

Cool I suspect at some point in time we will all meet.  It will be a gathering I am sure we all will enjoy.
The first one to  win a few millions on the lottery gets to choose the venue. Very Happy

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  sanderson on 6/12/2015, 2:25 am

http://www.livescience.com/40025-camel-spiders-facts.html

Tomato worms - I'm afraid of them. I'm just positive that that horn is a "stinger". Shocked Thank goodness the mockingbirds eat them (along with many of the Japanese beetles in the roses).

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/13/2015, 1:54 am

Pretty funny Scruffy! I would have a heart attack if I saw something that big.

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/13/2015, 8:13 am

@boffer wrote:Razz

That's what I thought the first time I saw a tomato hornworm picture here on the forum.  I had never heard of them.  I still can't believe the size of those suckers!
I can't believe the size of the banana slugs! Aren't those out your way, offer? 

Scruffy, what a great writer you are! I hope you're sending stories into magazines so everyone can enjoy them. 

CC

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Re: Scruffy has Much to Learn

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