Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tunneler II - The Evil Spawn in the Lawn

Not long ago I wrote about these little critters who live under my lawn. No, not leprechauns, these are destructive little vermin known as moles. They've all but ruined my nice neat lawn! They tunnel around under the lawn eating worms and even as cool as a bunch of subterranean tunnels sounds, they must go.  The tunnels and the moles.  Hey, the tunnels are too small for me, anyway. 

In addition to writing about them, I also explained a tried and true southern solution to the problem, namely Juicy Fruit Gum.  Last week, in the early evening, sun still streaming down in the hours after work, I had plenty of time to go out and carefully put Juicy Fruit gum into 6 or 7 areas of the tunnels. It is important to not get your smelly human scent on the gum, so I carefully broke it up using the paper it was wrapped in and placed them into several  of the open holes and a few I even cut into the tunnels.  I then let them sit for 3 days.

Bright at early Saturday morning I went to complete the 2nd part of my Lawn Wars Attack: Shock and Awe! Dressed in my pajama pants, a tee shirt and a long sleeved light jacket, I donned my hard garden shoes and went out to smash down the tunnels. Using a short, but heavy, step and jamming my heels into the soft dirt I went over as much area as I could smashing down the soft tunnels and returning the lawn to some semblance of flat.  I knew that if you don't get the lawn as flat as possible, the little hillocks will get hard as a rock and pushing a mower over it will be like 4 wheeling with no suspension.

I'm sure I looked the foole (with the requisite extra 'e') as I stomped up and down the yard, taking ultra small steps to be sure I got as much coverage as possible. I probably looked like I was doing some strange and ancient "Lawn Dance" as I moved up and down, stomping and stomping. Then I found something surprising. The tunnels covered more than half my yard!  It was a veritable mole-a-lapalooza! 

I finally wore myself out and went in. Now, comes the waiting game. Waiting to see if the moles come back or if the Juicy Fruit did the trick. In the meantime, the photo above shows what they do to a lawn. The smashed tunnels leave big brown spots rife for weeds to take over before the grass fills in. What am I lawn is mostly weeds anyway.

It's still going to be a bumpy mow, but at least I feel like I've made a good southern attempt at it.  Time will tell.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fear and Loathing in Nashville

It is with much sadness, trepidation, fear, anger and a slew of other emotions that cannot be dictated here that I enter a new project here at the homestead.  Homestead? Sounds like I have acres of lush farmland and a few dozen head of cattle.  No, I have a house on a standard lot and a few hundred head of termites.  

Termites are found in every region of the US, not just the South, so I can't really say this is a Southern problem. It's a problem, but just not something you find only in the South.  Problem might be too light of a word, too.  I mean, I cannot begin to tell you the emotions that come up while you are eating dinner and suddenly you're watching a swarm of termites head across your living room carpet.  Two hours later, you've vacuumed up all the little *&^%*! and now it's time to get to the truth. Just how long have these little *&^%*! been munching on the underside of my house?  

This explains the Walter White-ish get up you see me wearing above.  As much as I hate going under the house, I must go spelunking in search of bugs.  And while I'm at it, I'll be spreading the good cheer that is Boric Acid and termite bug killer.

In a couple of weeks, I'll be tearing apart my house to take out the termite hollowed wood.   You can just read how excited I am to be doing that!  In fact, you'll probably see it posted here...

So, keep coming back. Cry along with Marv and follow my fun adventures.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Swamp - It's A Southern Thing

There is one place in the south I've never been. Not in the 20 some years I've lived here, and it's not hard (if you know me) to understand that I may never visit there, and I'm ok with that. 

The Swamp.

Just saying the words will conjure up images of green sludgy monsters or alligator hunters with accents so heavy you can barely understand them. The swamps of the southern US are as vast as they are amazing. Yes, amazing.  Think of this for a minute.  Let's start with the Okefenokee Swamp. Covering 700 square miles of South Georgia and North Florida, lies a huge bowl-shaped depression in which the Okefenokee Swamp developed. About 25 miles across and 40 miles long, this is a unique 1,000 sq mile area of primitive wetland, hosting hundreds of species of wildlife. 

But, even bigger is the Atchafalaya Basin.  Only about 20 miles wide but over 150 miles in length, the swamp covers a mind boggling 2200 square miles.  The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp, is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge.  

Perhaps the part that amazes me about these wet areas is that people actually live in the swamp. Yep, and it takes a special breed.  They erect houses on the water and, travel up and down the water-ways the way we traverse asphalt and of course, make a living on (and maybe even IN) the swamp.  

Being a good southerner, you'd think I'd be anxious to head on into the swamp and get me some of them 'gatuz' during 'gatuh seezun.'  The problem is the media. No, wait, the problem is that the media has educated us properly and shown us all the dangerous snakes, poisonous spiders and aggressive aforementioned 'gatuz' that prowl the waters of the swamp looking for innocent Nashville Blog Writers to eat.  The Atchafalaya  is even home to the Lousiana Black Bear which, although on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service threatened list, can still eat a Good-Ol-Boy Wanna be like me without a second thought. 

No, you will not find me in the swamp.  I am amazed at the people who live there, and even more amazed to watch them catch fish and 'gatuz' but I will not be traveling there for a visit.  No post cards, no selfies, no way Jose Billy Bob!  I have enough trouble with the arachnids in my crawl space without traveling there just to tangle with some over-sized swamp spider bent on my destruction. 

Perhaps that's why those shows on cable are so popular.  We all are amazed at these incredible people who live in the swamp, but the closest we want to get is punching the button on the remote control.  It's probably what's going on in my house. And, again, I'm ok with that.  

Suddenly, I'm in the mood to spray for spiders...and maybe snakes and gaters too...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Nashville - The Athens of the South

Every good Southerner, nay every good citizen knows a bit about their city that sets it apart from the rest of the world. Everyone knows that Nashville has a rich history of Country Music (yes, with the requisite capital letters!)  Perhaps it would be a bit of a shock to learn that sitting in the middle of a large park in the southern part of Nashville sits the only full sized replica of the Parthenon built anywhere in the world.  Now, for the uninformed, the Parthenon is a temple built in honor of the god Athena and sits at the top of the Athenian Acropolis (naturaly) in Greece.

Originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, this replica of the original Parthenon in Athens serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 B.C. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London. 

Oh geez, did that put anyone to sleep?  Let's try to stay awake here.  

Your next question may be why?  Why put this big, full sized replica in the middle of a park in the middle of a city in the middle of the US? Quite simply, Nashville has always been called the "Athens of the South" and the directors of the 1897 exposition wished to expand on this and so it was decided that the Parthenon would center the exposition perfectly. 

It was originally slated to be torn down after the exposition (as most all of the other buildings were,) but locals loved it so that they left it.  Weather defaced it to such a degree that it was completely rebuilt in 1920 and refaced in the early 1990's.  It houses an art collection and is big enough for public and private parties. It has even been used in movies as backdrop to such action films as Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. 

So if you're planning a trip to Nashville, be sure to add this to your itinerary alongside the music studios, live music venues and gift shops.