I had to make another trip into town today, because I forgot something yesterday. I’ve been making more errand trips in the last few days than I do in most months! But that’s okay, because it gave me a chance to find and pick up other things.
Like these modifications to the squash tunnel.
The first is a solar powered, motion sensor spot light. Hopefully, it will get triggered by deer or other critters going after the garden and startle them away. Putting it at the beet or carrot beds would probably have been more useful, but we don’t have anything south facing that we could mount it to. If this works, we can get more (and better quality ones) and install posts to mount them on.
We’ll test it out tonight when, hopefully, it will have enough charge to light up, and we can make sure it is in the on position.
I also finally picked up a thermometer.
According to my desktop app, we’re at 23C/73F right now, but out in the corner garden, in full sun, we’re at 32C/90F.
Where the squash tunnel is, there is no shade, even in the early morning hours. It is full sun from sunrise to sunset, so this thermometer will likely always read on the high side. I still wasn’t expecting a 9C difference, though!
Once these were up, I went to change the batteries on the garden cam. In the process, I noticed something very odd in the ground. A strange line of holes.
You can sort of make it out in this photo below.
It’s in between the red dashed lines I added. My foot is at where the line ends.
The meandering line made me think it was following a root or something, but why where there holes in the ground here at all?
When I tipped the camera stand down so I could access the battery case, I found myself right over this line, and quickly saw what made it.
And the line lead back to this.
The camera focused in the wrong place, though. It’s that blurry, reddish area in the background.
That is a red ant hill.
I don’t know their proper names, but we mostly have two types of ants here. Red ants and black ants. The black ants burrow into the ground, creating low hills in the grass with the soil they displace. They are not aggressive, but their burrowing can be destructive, killing off any plants at the roots.
Red ants build their hills with spruce needles, which they will drag over surprising distances. They will build hills on or in logs, under rocks, in the cracks of sidewalks or paving stones, or they’ll just make a hill on the ground, like this one. These hills can become quite large. The one in the photo is about mid-size. Red ants are more aggressive and will bite if disturbed.
We have quite a few red ant hills. A couple of the maple logs behind the house, from the trees cut away from the roof, now have red ant hills in them, their hollow middles stuffed with spruce needles. The metal ring used to contain the fires made to burn out diseased apple tree stumps is still out near the garden, with pieces of metal covering it. I’d moved them to put some invasive vines in the ring for future burning, only to discover it was half filled with spruce needles, and crawling with red ants! And now I’m seeing this new hill, near the garden cam.
As long as they don’t start building hills in the garden beds, we’ll leave them be.