“Man against a pitiless universe”

Soja finds a new estate in Tennessee but must defend it against the forces of nature:

[W]e finished subduing the last of the moving boxes and took them to the dump. As previously reported, it was nearly $600 worth of elegant cardboard, with our time of possession lasting only about a month. We’re indoubtedly high-and-mighty concerning our carbon footprint and hope we did proud by the county dumpsters.

No sooner had we congratulated ourselves on our profligacy when the ants attacked. Well… they send out scouts, and we kill them one by one, and keep the kitchen counters scrupulously clean in between cookings. Tennessee is a wild place, it seems. We’re not sure how, but the war wages unabated, and we are confidant that the ants will lose.

I like that idea about keeping the kitchen counters clean. With the shoddy domestic help we employ around Vandam Manor, including our longtime houseman Chester, the counters remain unattended until just before the return of Madam Vandam.

But the ants are the least of it. In Tennessee, the backyard sport is Beeminton:

All you need are a couple of cast-off Badminton racquets, and a ready supply of big, beautiful, wood boring bumble bees. We’ve got both. The bees start the game by setting up zones all around the house (and shed and dock!) that they assiduously patrol against other flying interlopers. They don’t seem to mind humans too much, but the little buggers are very annoying, and somewhat threatening, and they make such good sport. A well-aimed swat with the light racquet does them wonders, and is good for our own general deportment.

Plus, see the photograph of what Soja found under an old rug in the house.

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