Photo caption: A legion (hah, get it – not army, but part thereof!) of sugar ants committed mass suicide in my bottle of honey. In honour of those that might resurrect – I can see some of them will – I pooled it in the sink and gave them a chance to extract themselves (sugar ants are resilient to injury). A few less foolhardy brothers and sisters are supping from the edges.
People don’t know what to make of the teeny-tiny ants that march indoors like school children on spring and summer days (when they should be outside!). They can’t be mistaken for carpenter ants. But, like the many other species that aren’t carpenter ants, all searches end up on results about killing them. As if they were as dangerous as carpenter ants. Carpenter ants won’t hurt you, but their infestations are dangerous to your house – they devour wood.
Common talk, mass media, and the extermination industry has effectively enabled people to think that insects are disgusting and undesirable. We know this is just flat-out wrongheadedness. All it takes to realize that bugs aren’t your enemy is to observe them objectively, and if that isn’t enough, it always helps to do a little research.
Of course, when you try to do some research, you have to get past the “get rid of” them websites. The truth takes lot more digging. So that’s what this blog post is about.
Tapinoma sessile is the name of this kind of ant. Here’s the path I took: Continue reading
If you’ve been looking up at the tops of the trees, or watching neighbourhood feeders, you’ve noticed the flitting of unfamiliar birds, newly arriving on their spring migration. Or if you’ve been walking around with open ears, you’ve heard the sweet call of the robins and almost-raucous regular trill of the red-winged blackbirds. Spring has arrived and it’s in full swing. And so we must hone our attention on our surroundings (not a hard task!), while for some us, work begins.
The expansion of urban habitat and housing and mirrored buildings means only one thing to birds: imminent danger. There are three things we all need to take responsibility to do for birds, and this message is so old now that NOT doing something about it is delinquent.
(I just found out that free-standing houses cause 50% of bird strike deaths. Big buildings the other 50%. Not 20:80 or something that seems “more reasonable.” Your house and my house is deadly.)
Do what? The Top Three things to do are in an Audubon article (Fall of 2015):
- Put decals, tape, strings, or another form of “frit” on your windows – all windows reflecting trees within 5 storeys of the ground! – so that birds can see them and avoid crashing;
- Turn off building lights at night, and
- SPEAK UP about this to everyone who will listen, but building managers and city councils, especially!
I’ve written about bird crashes and the resources to prevent them before, and it’s also happened to me (this story has a good ending, and it’s instructive on what to do if you have a little window-crasher). One even happened to me last week, though I’m persuaded that the little bird was startled and survived: Continue reading
Folks, you could be anywhere in the world and not have a specific service like mine or local resources to make your urban home have a real, rustic appeal (whether house, townhouse, triplex, or unit in a building) – or so you might imagine.
I just had a new idea and wondered if you would find it useful to have an e-booklet showing you different ideas and approaches to countrifying your city home. Do you want it to appear charming and actually be more rustic, wild, and wildlife-welcoming? If so, please sign up below. I’ll be making a note of whoever supports this idea. If we can generate enough interest, I’ll send you design and content questions along the way. Thanks!
Spring is in the air, the first migrating birds (red-winged blackbirds!) have reportedly arrived, and I’ve been remiss in giving you interesting things to read over the winter months. But take heart! I’ve been reconsidering the writing and content I’ve put forth over the years in different places, to collect what’s worth your time, and what’s still inspiring to me.
In fact, thinking of old pics and posts as “content” at all was a change in perspective for me. A few times I thought “but didn’t I share it on my blog?” Nope, oftentimes I did not – we often under-appreciate our shares and creations, unless they go viral. And one of the things I thought reshare-worthy was something I did three years ago.
This was a case – I bet you have a case too! – of having a collection of random objects you don’t know what to do with, but can’t let go. Many of mine are rusty, some of them farm-related, some not – and I had no place but a shelf in a closet and a box in my garage for them. Until I suddenly had a lightbulb about it. They’re now what I call my… Continue reading