Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Garden Trek 5-The Wrath of D-Con


Wrath-The fifth in a series on the Seven Deadly Sins.

What is the best word to describe my mood today? Is it gracious? kind? forgiving? No, I think the best word to describe my current state of mind is EVIL. While my mainline protestant religious beliefs with a healthy dose of Taoist leanings suggest that I should feel contentment and a connection with all living creatures, I have to admit that right now I feel EVIL. I'm not talking about the mildly irked or slightly mischievous kind of evil, I mean full on Danny De Vito in "Ruthless People " kind of EVIL.

This morning I went out to work in my garden and prepare the soil for the fall planting. What I saw was almost total devastation. Most of the plants in my herb garden were dead and the soil was poisoned. Who could be behind something so cruel, so unimaginably horrific? Ants! Now I know many of you in kinder gentler parts of the country may imagine that I am exaggerating when I describe the damage. Let me elucidate.

See, here in Texas we don't have cute little black picnic ants or occasionally annoying little red ants or even the bigger, more tenacious carpenter ant. Here we have ants over an inch long that not only ruin the leaves of plants, but also the soil around them while building their colonies. To make my lush rich garden soil easier to move, they coat it in a sticky substance and roll it into balls to push out of the way. They often gather these balls together to make pecan sized rocks that are easy to shift. The closest example I can think of is the way our children build snowmen. Unlike cute snowmen, these dirt balls are poisonous to plants and make digging the colonies even easier by dissolving entire root systems for better digging. Admittedly, I'm no entomologist and my ant life descriptions may be a little wonky, but I do know garden damage when I see it And when I see it, I see red.

These little brown terrorists destroyed six years worth of work. They must be made to pay. They must be made to pay dearly. I briefly considered planting some toothpicks in the garden and impaling a few on them as a warning to the others. I even toyed with the idea of burning a few of their worthless carcasses:

In the end though, all my rage will be for nothing. The herb garden may not come back this fall even after amending the soil and hopefully discouraging the ants. That's the thing with anger. In the end, it's all about feeling powerless and it generally turns to disappointment. Sigh.

Today I give thanks that I garden for pleasure and was not depending on my crops to feed my family. I give thanks that pestilence is only a nuisance and not a danger in my home.