Posts Tagged With: ants


Yesterday, I wanted to return to Oldtown to catch some things I’d missed. The five flags that flew over the city, Mexico, Spain, The Confederacy, The United States and New Mexico. I wanted to visit the Kaleidoscope Store, The Cat House,The Rattlesnake Museum  and The Museum of Art And History-at least their sculpture garden.

It was early, and I poked into enticing courtyards and charming adobe bungalows; took pictures of things I hadn’t come to see and missed some I had come for. The truth is you just can’t take it all in.

Pressed metal, one of three entrances to the sculpture garden at the ABQ Museum of Art and History. I love art and Jim loves history but we were warned that to visit the museum, you pay to park, you can’t take pictures, they take any bags, your purse, your camera and put them in a locker that you pay to rent. They tell you there is a camera in every room watching you and  docent’s watching so you do not take pictures. If caught, you will be asked to leave. We didn’t take pictures at other museums in town when asked not to. Incredibly, I’ve visited the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, The New York Metropolitan, Smithsonian, J Paul Getty and major museums in San Francisco and Boston.   All before digital cameras. All allowed pictures. What great treasures are  they are trying to protect from the camera eye?  We opted not to go. The Museum had three gated entrances. I loved the gates.

These brushed steel panels are part of one gate.

And one sculpture that I couldn’t stay away from.

I was riveted by her clothes, jewelry and intent concentration on her task.

And her overflowing purse.

The varied tile walkways were also worth seeing.

The Cat lady loves cats, as I do. And I enjoyed seeing her merchandise. Everyone is so friendly. One shopkeeper, left her store and walked me down the block and pointed out where her store was located in this  little plaza.

We moved on to the Rio Grand Nature Center State Park. After days in the noise of the city, the park was  a pleasure. The long narrow area next to the Rio Grand River has biking and hiking trails. We took a short, less than a mile, hike.

A couple of bikers told us they’d seen a fox. We saw turtles, ducks, ants, bees , birds and this lively rabbit sculpture.

I had never seen a pollinator habitat.  These scrubby bushes appear to have little sustenance to them, but the Rio Grande Park is a great buffer for critters next to this big city, and every plant and flower  is important to something.

From there, we revisited the last section of Route 66 just outside of the city.  Jim particularly wanted to see this old bridge, the Rio Puerco.  It has a newer bridge on either side of it. And, while there,I found a treasure from New Mexico to put on my totem when I get home, two hubcaps on the side of the road.  Jim thinks I’m nuts. But, I saw him lying on the ground taking a picture of a crack in the cement. I didn’t get my camera out in time.  So, who’s nuts, huh?

I uploaded my pictures if you wish to see them:

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We walk old town after we get back to Jiliang. The town square is teeming with people from everywhere. There are performers and  a hodge-podge of eating places. We witness a rat being carried out of a candy shop with a tongs.

If only we could speak the language. What tales might this fellow tell?

You have to cross the moat on makeshift boards in some places to visit a shop.

Like this Chinese couple we could have had “fast food”, but instead we chose to dine at crowded tables along the moat for our evening meal.

We choose various sticks of vegetables and meat served with a small wok of  hot oil to cook it in. Safe!  We avoid the snails, pig tails, pigs  feet, crickets, grasshoppers, ants, beetles, lizard  and the ever popular dog meat, even though the Naxi love their pets. Maybe they love them too much.  Vicki buys an unattractive looking bean cake with spices for all of us to taste and it is delicious. Sweets in this part of China have been very good. Our last night in Jiliang, reluctant to let go, we enjoy the street  party until 11 p.m.

In the morning, we take the bus up the mountain again, this time to view Tiger Leaping Gorge. The gorge is on the Yangtze and stretches about 10 miles  along the Chinese and Tibetan border. The Chinese claim it is the  deepest canyon in the world and are planning to obliterate it and build a dam. This gorge is also a UNESCO site.  We are hooked up with a rickshaw driver for the two miles up  the canyon.

We get our first look at what is ahead.

The rickshaw journey ends at the spot where the Emperor went hunting and aimed at a tiger. It escaped by jumping across the gorge at one of its narrowest points. Thus the name of the gorge. The gorge may have been narrower then, but from what we could see, no animal could have jumped the 70-75 feet across the gorge.

On the return, we pay our drivers off and tell them we’d rather walk. The canyon is beautiful but the road is ever more fascinating, chiseled out of solid stone.

At one point I tried to get an idea how the railing was attached to the wall.

Leaning over, I could barely see  the super structure.  For the  most part the posts seem to be sunk into the solid rock and you wonder how they built this marvelous road without huge machinery.

In some places the posts seem perilously close to a disintegrating edge. And, in fact, at one spot in our two-mile stretch, soldiers stood guard to prevent anyone from wandering too close to the edge.

We came to a spot where the road continues down an adjoining canyon, blocked to us.  Vicki says backpackers go everywhere in the canyon.Far below us, the water rushes and sings over the rocks.

In other places it is calm and serene. Always beautiful.

At every turn in the road is another sheer wall tapestry of rock formations. Tomorrow we leave this area for Kumning.

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People swear by their own special cures for ailments or bad habits. Some people swear by the health-giving benefits of owning a dog or a cat. It has been scientifically proven that pets provide many healthy benefits besides unconditional love.

I just finished reading The Good Good Pig, by Sy Montgomery. Sy developed an unusual and adoring attachment to a pig she named Christopher Hogwood.  She claims all pigs are intelligent, sensitive souls. They love and crave company, and contact. They have a sense of humor, enjoy a good joke, appreciate music. Certainly nothing you’d expect from a relationship with a pork chop.

In her book she mentions E.O. Wilson who had ten thousand ants living in his office at Harvard. He would look at them through his microscope and could actually detect individual differences in them, much to his awe and delight.

Ants and pigs  don’t necessarily cure anything except  the blues, but Sy and her friends and neighbors clearly doted on this pig and claim to have learned much about humanity from him. Mostly that animals aren’t corrupted by greed like humans are. Now that is a truth one can count on.

But, I think if I were to get another pet, it would be a camel.

Consider that if we have a planetary holocaust, the Sheiks of Araby will outlive us all. They are used to an inhospitable land of desiccating heat; they have camels to provide transportation and food, plus dung for fuel. Camels  can live on practically nothing; you can seek shelter beside them in a sand storm, take liquid from their humps and then their milk has ten times the anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of cow’s milk. It’s naturally low in fat, and has triple the vitamin C.  It is the closest thing to mother’s milk. Camels also have an insulin-like protein that survives the digestive tract.  I’m not sure why that is important, maybe their spit is good for you.

My advice to you is if you spot a camel in your travels, you might want to latch onto that baby.

But, in the meantime, I got another remedy in my mail from elmhurst:  “To ward off cramps in a foot or toe, take your thumb and first finger and gently squeeze the area just below the nose. This may have to be repeated for a very bad cramp or charley horse, but it works.”

Thank you for that.

And, Donna Parker questioned Elaine May’s balsamic vinegar cure for hiccups claiming her family’s cure is best because you can cure hiccups anywhere. You won’t be carrying along a bottle of balsamic on the plane or a picnic, right?  She has a point.

Donna’s cure: “Fold your hands as if in prayer interlocking the finger’s except for the index ones. Concentrating on getting the index fingers as close together without touching and before you know it you no longer have the hiccups.”

I almost wish I’d get the hiccups so I can try some of these cures!  I know for a fact that animals get hiccups, I wonder what works for them?

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Its the weather!  Its the rain!  Its the marching ants brigade! I opened a hall closet door and a stream of ants was congregated near the ceiling. I followed them over 30 feet away, marching along at ceiling level and then crossing down to my cupboard doors.

I don’t spray but I do dust my cupboards and baseboards with diatomaceous earth.

It works very well. They don’t dare come in my door, or up through the floor. It controls the small ants I’m used to seeing every once in awhile. But, these giant cousin found a way around my baseboards by coming from the outside, up the side walls, through the attic and ceiling and into my kitchen. I looked to see what they were after, but they didn’t seem to be interested in anything I had in my cupboards. I would have wiped them away, but past experience leads me to believe it never stops the endless stream. Besides, I was busy working on my heritage picture project with my brother and sister.

Bill scanned the photos.

Dawn sorted and read me inscriptions from the backs to type into the program.  We ate dinner late; She told me I should watch the movie ANTZ.  We ignored them.
This morning, before I could get the diatomaceous earth out to discourage this new entrance, they had all disappeared. Haven’t a clue? Glad to see them gone. Its still very wet outside, but the rain is gone. I’ll be watching for them. My youngest daughter, a biologist, claims you can’t do much about them anyway, unless you poison them. I choose not to poison anything anymore. It seems to be working. The ants go marching two by two harrah, harrah!

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