I'm Covered in Ants

It's true. I just spent a good twenty minutes shaking ants off myself, and I still keep finding them. How did this happen, you might ask? Well, it's the first step in a new project we decided to whip together at the last minute.

Chicken yard before

See, this is the left half the chicken yard, with the compost piles. We are going to climb waaaaaay over the back pile there and put in a fancy-pants post. I figured this would be easier with the compost pile not in the way, so today I moved it.

At the very bottom of the pile was an ant nest. If you look closely you can see Liza there stuffing her face with ant larvae. Carole spent the whole time in the nest box having her egg, so she totally missed out on all the fine bugs and other interesting things turned up in the pile.

After: pile moved

I'm not able to locate the soil sifter (I think we may have lent it to the neighbors), but there was some good compost at the bottom of the pile (among the ants) that I want to pull out and use. I'm going to let the chickens do their business back there for a while before doing any more digging.

Better view of moved pile

It was a pretty big pile: about four and a half feet tall, and pretty dense, too.

Next up, we move the pallets out of the way, clear the ground some more (there's lots of compost stuff behind the pallets, too), and then it's time to go get a new post.

And now, because I'm anxiously checking them every day (and I'm sure you all would, too), our latest crop of Asian pears getting ready:

Gratuitous asian pear shot

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posted by ayse on 08/20/09


We're having an ant and mosquito fest here in Michigan. I'm covered in bug bites.

Your Asian pears are to die for. Mine are not that big and some have little brown spots on them. Last year they had the same spots and they were only on the skin.

Do you use any sprays or special fertilizers to get your fruit looking so good?

My special fertilizer is a few inches of compost top-dressed around the trees annually. That's it. Maybe the spots are just some russeting on the skin? Different varieties have more or less tendency to russet. We have four varieties and some are cleaner-looking than others.

One of the nice things about coastal California, for this New England woods girl, is that we hardly have any bugs at all. Most people don't have any screens on their windows, even. We do have lots of ants, but usually the ants and I leave each other alone. Of course, usually I don't spent an hour digging out their nest.

Hm. Lemons for asian pears swap?

You are always welcome to some Asian pears. It's going to be a month or so before these are ready, though.

I think I've said this before, but I continue to be inspired by how you've turned your home into an urban homestead. You are establishing a blueprint for how we should all be living in this day and age.

Thanks, Rae. It'd be nice if more people who could live this way would bother, but I doubt that's going to happen.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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