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America: the good, the bad, and the ugly


This next weekend ushers in the birthday of the United States of America! Here are a few word pictures from this past week from me, in small town America, 232 years and still going. I’ve included the good, the bad, and the ugly, but as you’ll see, in America, we take the good with the bad and roll with it, and even the ugly – well, it’s a free country and we can call ugly if we want.

Yesterday morning, at a local parade, celebrating that old west pastime called Rodeo, I was thrilled to see my friends’ Clydesdales in all their hugeness. This was GOOD.

Lone Pine Clydesdales

And where else but Prineville could I find the Amazing Trash Can Marching Band? They dispose of garbage in step and in style. These guys were GOOD!

Amazing Trash Can Marching Band

On to the BAD…look at the interesting mound I discovered on our property a few days ago.

ant mound beneath old juniper tree

Kids, do NOT jump in the pretty pile, because…take a closer look:
harvester or rifa ants

Ooowwww. These are some aggressive ants, and I’ve been scrambling to find out what they are. Most notably, they have a red head and body and a shiny black behind. At first glance, they look and act just like the Allegheny Mound Ants. Build enormous piles. Have red head/thorax and black abdomen. But those mostly live in the upper Midwest to the New England states and south to Georgia.

So, another possibility is the Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA). They also build mounds. Also have red forebody and black abdomen. But they live mostly in the southeast, however a few California counties have been infested, and there’s been suspected infestations in Oregon. I’m supposed to immediately contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture if I think I have these RIFAs, because they are considered an invasive species, and a serious health risk to pets and children, not to mention the damage that can be done to crops and other native plant life.

A final suspect, perhaps the most likely, is the harvester ant. This is a common desert ant, which fits my habitat. Another aggressive mound-building ant. Someone wrote a whole thesis on the harvester ant and how it’s helpful in locating small artifacts in archaeological surveys. I think I’ll start digging for Paiute relics in this very spot.

The only issue I’m trying to resolve with the harvester ants is whether it’s likely for them to have a red head/thorax and a black rear. This is the only photograph from the Oregon high desert (or anywhere) I can find that fits what I see here on my property; the rest are all red or all black. Anyone?

I can’t live with these creatures. It’s summertime and they are seriously swarming. They inflict especially painful stings and bites. Enter the brave husband. With the poison. We are not poison-happy people, but there are limits to my consciousness.
hubby poisoning the anthill

Don’t worry, my pretties, there’s enough here for everyone. Take this to your egg laying machine MOMMY!! But here’s a small problem. I went back to the mound yesterday, expecting it to be very quiet. But no. More activity and seemingly more ants than ever. I re-poisoned the area, and I’ll check again later.

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her food in summer and gathers her sustenance in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? Proverbs.

Enough of the BAD! But, remember, this is the United States, and I actually own this land of the mother-of-all-anthills (and have many ant poison options), God bless America!

Would you like to see the UGLY from small town America?

"ugly" orangesAmerica is soooo great, that even our “ugly” isn’t that bad. Okay, that is not true, there are truly horrific things going on in America, just as there are around the world. We all need Jesus! But, with our great nation’s birthday upon us, I’d rather find a bit of humor, a bit of appreciation for our free country.

Isn’t it great that a local fruit stand can sell delicious, sweet oranges, ugly and all? Great value, free from government imposed pricing, grown on fruitful land in a country where one can actually be a land-owner, we are so fortunate. If you really want ugly, you can read this supposed celebrate-America-Fourth-of-July-but-really-just-leftist-propaganda editorial, for which this newspaper should be ashamed.

How about these berries? I feel some baking coming on. One aisle over from the ugly oranges, and as beautiful as they come.
berries at the outdoor produce market

In closing, I hope you enjoy this lovely song, one of my very favorites, from that incredible musician, Rich Mullins. Here in America.

Some of my favorite lyrics from this song:

“…Once I went to Appalachia, for my father he was born there, and I saw the mountains waking with the innocence of children…and the Holy King of Israel loves me here, in America!

Do you have anything (good, bad, or ugly) to share from your slice of America?

God Bless the U.S.A.

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19 Responses

  1. Julie June 29th, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Love your reflections on America!! I also wrote in my last post a bit about Patriotism and it’s waning strength in parts of our country and my admiration for the Love of Country still strong in Texas and other parts of America. So glad to see a fellow patriot!!

    Hey- we are home and free from July 6-11. Wanna get together??

    http://www.runninggalinsights.blogspot.com

  2. Heather Young June 29th, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Other than the ants, very awesome! No experience with desert areas (we live in Western PA where everything is green, green, green except for winter (black and white) and fall (multi-colored.:))

  3. Jen June 29th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Julie, we’d love to get together. I know I’ve been famous lately for not showing up at things I’ve been invited to, but I’ll be better, I promise! Hubby keeps telling me, don’t worry, it won’t be so crazy once we’re moved into our house…

    Heather, I know, I miss the GREEN. But beauty is all in the eye of the beholder. One of my sisters, who now lives in Washington State (green as it gets), but grew up in Arizona, tells me she is completely ANNOYED at all the green and can’t wait to get back to the brown!

  4. macadamia man June 29th, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    “If you really want ugly, you can read this supposed celebrate-America-Fourth-of-July-but-really-just-leftist-propaganda editorial, for which this newspaper should be ashamed.”

    I read it. I was amazed at their bravery.

    I agreed with the editorial and not you. Your luck in life is just that, and nothing to do with virtue or rewards for being good.

    Put the shoe on the other foot and tell me what you thought of the Vietnamese for torturing GIs while the US trashed their nation and their children’s futures. What’s the difference?

  5. MooBeeMa June 29th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Somebody’s been to Ryan’s Produce Stand!!! I say set the ants on FIRE!!!

  6. halfmoon girl June 29th, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Hi there, I loved fresh local produce as well- even if sometimes it is not as “pretty”. Love rodeos and parades as well, but not pesty ants!

  7. Sandier Pastures June 29th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    The ants look like those in the Indy Jones 4 movie!Advanced Happy Independence Day!

  8. Rob at Kintropy June 30th, 2008 at 3:10 am

    The oranges look great to me. The supermarket ones here are imported and tend to be dry. I’d buy those up in a quick second!

  9. mrs darling June 30th, 2008 at 9:21 am

    This was a great post. What a unique view of america.

    Yikes those ants would scare me witless. I hope you get them!!!

  10. Miss Jocelyn June 30th, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Wow, thanks for sharing. I loved reading through and seeing all the photos. :) Happy 4th of July!

  11. Jen June 30th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Macadamia Man, one can’t even begin to compare the torture of American POWs in Vietnam with the “torture” fraud of the left going on at Gitmo. The American left has redefined “torture” to mean rough treatment, harshness, coercion, and even simply humiliation.

    The waterboarding at issue in the case of Khalid Sheik Muhhamed, a 9/11 terror suspect, responsible in part for the preparation and execution of a plot that ended with the murder of close to 3,000 Americans – what did you want them to do, serve him milk and cookies and say pretty please tell us what you know?

    Where the possibility clearly exists that the lives of innocent Americans are threatened by terrorist action, you want to preclude this “harsh treatment,” nasty as it may be, that shouldn’t even be classified as torture? Whatever you want to call it, I don’t care, it’s effective. It merely gives the victim (by the way, a killer who chants “death to America”) a sense of drowning, which he is really not, and suddenly he’s willing to talk; and in the case of KSM, his information averted further terrorist actions and further loss of life. If you’d rather see countless more lives lost at the hands of terrorists, then we are just completely on different pages here.

  12. Jen June 30th, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    MooBeeMa, I do need to try fire. Maybe a stick of dynamite down the anthill? :-)

    Halfmoon Girl, ugly is sometimes better, especially in the case of oranges!

    Sandier Pastures, yeah, hope I didn’t give you nightmares about the ants. They are sorta ferocious.

    Rob, I agree! They’re delicious and better than imports any day!

    Mrs. Darling, I’m heading out now to check on the ants…glad you at least enjoyed the rest of the photos!

    Jocelyn, thanks, Happy Independence Day to you, too!

  13. Beckynsc June 30th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Good luck with those ants!!!
    I’m having a battle of my own!
    Love your post. My husband is a pyrotechnician, so he sets off those big fireworks displays. This is the first year I get to go. Can’t wait! I hope I get pictures to display for Independence Day.

  14. aliceb June 30th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    What a treat to find your blog. I’m missing the Coeur d’alene, ID crazy/kitschy parade this year (we summer in the west) and it was so fun to read your account. I found you when I was looking for a Bonhoeffer quote. Thanks for your lovely blog and your insights.

  15. IndianaJane July 1st, 2008 at 6:32 am

    I would definitely do whatever it takes to get rid of those ants! I love “farmstand season,” when I can find fresh produce at little corner stands (and in my own back yard.)

  16. Jen July 1st, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Becky, I know, I remember reading about your ants, and I thought of you! Have fun at your 4th of July celebration!!

    Alice, thanks for much for stopping by. Sorry you’re missing your funky parade! I hope you found the Bonhoeffer quote you needed…he’s very quotable.

    IndianaJane, what a great blog name! I really want to set those ants on fire, but I’m realizing what a fire hazard that could be, seeing as the mound is right in the midst of hundreds of dry junipers waiting to go up like the Fourth of July. Hubby says “no” to fire at the moment – we’re in a high alert fire danger area… Dang it. I need to try a new poison, even after I RE-POISONED the area quite profusely, still not a dent in the ant activity. They are CRAZY.

  17. Sheila July 1st, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Great post Jennifer! Oh those ants! Man!!! I’d have to kill em for sure my boys would be out there pickin’ up getting eaten alive!!!

    I have no idea what they are but I hope the die soon :)

    I love your humor and those Oranges look sweet even if they are ugly!

    And once again, I love Rich Mullins! My all time favorite musician!

    Sheila

  18. Tipper July 2nd, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Very neat post-and interesting comments. I like how you showed the good and the ugly-but celebrated the good and showed the ugly can still be turned into something good too!

  19. Kristina April 23rd, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I was googling red ants in prineville and came across you. I see we both have the same problem and I enjoyed your commentary as you struggle with these pesty insects. I have tried burning them, borax, and now I was trying to figure out how many each of my chickens can eat, seeing how we have 10 acres crawling with ants and only seven chickens the odds don’t seem to be my favor. I am thinking of sending the husband out to get more chickens but I was not really planning on a chicken farm, so please let me know if you found a more economical solution.

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