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.
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!
On to the BAD…look at the interesting mound I discovered on our property a few days ago.
Kids, do NOT jump in the pretty pile, because…take a closer look:
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.
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?
America 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.
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.