Friday, September 05, 2008

A "green" housing development

Not too long ago, Delta was essentially a farming community. Much of the flat land of the Delta proper is still part of the Agricultural Land Reserve, but even up here on the urban hills of North Delta, where we live, we still see traces of the old rural lifestyle; a pasture here (sometimes with a cow or two), a crumbling farmhouse there, a few abandoned fruit trees dropping wormy apples and mushy plums into the weeds, a moldering old barn or shed. The old house at the end of a short lane a block away is one such remnant.


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.

Logging slash?

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.


  1. That's awesome! I can't get over how organized they are...I hope they feel the dozers comin' and break camp in time, too.

  2. Hi, Lisa!

    Glad you commented, because I hadn't seen your blog before. Now I have. I like your take on things -- grass growing out of a cow's nose -- **big grin**.

    I'm adding you to my blogroll.


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