carpenter-ants

Zombie Ant Fungus

The Zombie Ant Fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis) is an entomopathogen, or an insect-pathogenising fungus. The fungus uses its spores to infect Carpenter ants. Infected ants leave their canopy nests and foraging trails for the forest floor, an area with a temperature and humidity suitable for fungal growth; they then use their mandibles to affix themselves to a major vein on the underside of a leaf, where the ant will remain until its eventual death. The process leading to mortality takes 4–10 days, and includes a reproductive stage where fruiting bodies grow from the ant’s head, rupturing to release the fungus’s spores.

The nice thing about dating an artist? Having him do commissions for me for free :p

Here’s a watercolor portrait of my favorite romantic couple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Captain America and Bucky! They’re surrounded by Team Cap from ‘Civil War,’ plus Black Widow who secretly supports. 

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Super tempted by this one-bedroom custom cabin in rural Central Oregon. Has 2 acres of property surrounded by timbered land, several outbuildings, a barn, new well and septic, and a 25 gallon propane tank. It could easily be set up with solar power, too.

But the place needs work. First thing is to make sure that the well and septic are up to code and operating properly. Carpenter ants abound and will need to be exterminated (the contractor will also have to confirm that they haven’t done any irrevocable damage). The wood burning stove is not on par with legal standards and will need to be replaced. The RV slip doesn’t have a connection to water or sewage, though there is an outhouse and running water in the nearby shop.

I also want to punch a hole in one of the side walls and install a second door there, making the current entrance into a back door, and building a deck/patio at the new front door. This will make the place look and feel more inviting, but should increase the property value significantly. 

On another note, the home is in an area considered to be a wildlife corridor, so the land is only cross-fenced on three sides. In order to have the back area of the property fenced off, too, I will need to get approval from the county, and, according to the north-side neighbors, the only way to do that is to obtain livestock and claim that the fencing is intended to keep predators away away from it (which is ironic, given the fact that the real reason for wanting to fence the place off is to keep wildlife safe from my little predators).

I don’t suspect that getting that approval will be too hard, though, considering that I already have chickens, and plan to get goats and rabbits, as well. 

Containment for the dogbeasts will be an easy project to knock out of the park, as I already have a lot of the required materials and have some local volunteers already lined-up to help with the install. The treed area directly behind the cabin, set far off the road, and out of view of the barn/livestock, provides a perfect (and scenic!) area for Cabal and Jude - and any other fosters I might take on - to live in. There’s enough room there for at least three sizable enclosures. All will be fully wolfdog-proof.

Lastly, I think it would be idealistic (although certainly not mandatory) to have a pond out front, and a tree house just for fun. There’s a depressed area near one of the outbuildings that’s full of marsh reeds as if it may already host seasonal water, and the established lodgepole pines in the vicinity are ideal for tree house building. 

I’ll keep ya’ll updated on how this progresses. I may find a better property in the meanwhile, too. But this place, despite all the work that will need to be done, does hold promise!