There is no street access to the house; a deep ditch and a row of trees hide it from view. The only way in is from the end of the lane, but even there, we wade through waist-high weeds to reach the forgotten garden area.
A couple of weeks ago, I went out for a quick turn around the block, and ended up deep in those weeds, hoping for a good photo of the sunlight on the ancient walls. I found something else; a large anthill. I took a few pictures, but the shadows were long and I had to use the flash.
We went back in this Tuesday, earlier in the day. And the hill was higher, the ant population more crowded:
The hill is formed of cut grass stems, dry and brown. At ant's level, they look almost like logs; an ant's log house. Some of these "logs" are about 6 inches long, and they are piled about a foot deep. An impressive amount of work has gone into the construction.
Another photo, just because I'm so amazed at their prowess:
It's silly, perhaps, but somehow I feel obligated to thank the critters I ask to pose for me, maybe by making a small donation. The first time I saw the ants, I had nothing to offer but a half-eaten after-dinner mint. I dropped it onto the hill.
The ants swarmed over it instantly. And within less than a minute, that mint was moving. The ants were under and around it, tugging and pushing. While I watched, they hauled it down towards a tunnel entrance.
The second time round, I had one of those wormy green apples with me; I bit off an over-ripe spot, and put it on the hill.
And since they had seemed to like the mint, I dug through my bag and found another.
Christmas in September.
The signs are up a block south of here; a backhoe is scraping at another fragment of pasture. A housing development will be going up soon. This block, where the anthill is, will probably be next.
I hope the ants move on before then.