Wood and Stone

A site to track our progress as we build our FirstDay Cottage Canadian house kit. Come on in, get a cup of coffee, set a spell and follow along on our journey or join in if you like. Check back for the weekly update (usually by Wednesday when things are going right) to see what we are currently up to!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Dead-ant, Dead-ant....

Since Wednesday we finished the steps to complete the floor for the pour, except for stuffing the boxes with towels to keep the concrete out. I spoke with the foundation contractor today, and he anticipates being able to pour the floor early next week. Once that is done we should be able to start in on the basement posts.

The first shipment of building materials
Meanwhile, we moved on to start grading the lumber. Our first shipment of materials arrived on May 25th, but we were busy getting things ready for the floor slab to be poured. One of the first things we need to do before building is take the dimensional lumber which makes up the posts and beams and determine which pieces match in width and crown, and which ones have bad sides we need to hide. After getting started on that we decided to take a break and move some things into the storage container.

A possibility we hadn't even countered upon struck us when we moved a roll of Typar and found, to our horror, a mass of writhing carpenter ants on one of our precious piles of lumber! A storm was rolling through, so we wrapped things back up and beat a hasty retreat (being out in the open up in the mountains during a thunderstorm is pretty sobering). A call to FirstDay gave us a recommended course of action, which we started implementing the next day - kick the pile apart and go in (RAID) guns blazing - kill 'em all, let nature sort them out - then salt the earth.

In all reality, we picked the pile apart (kicking a pallet full of 2" x 6" by 14' decking apart is not as simple as all that), smashed every ant we could catch and sprayed the rest down with insecticide. Then we spread diatomaceous earth around everything. The DE was pretty tough to find in mass quantities, but our relentless search found a feed store in North Bennington that carries 25 pound bags. When we asked them for two of those bags, they asked if we were at war. Of course, we replied "Yes!". We certainly can't let them have the lumber we need for our house.

The magic of DE in motion.
Before leaving for the night we were treated to the sight of an owl perched on the power line on our property, checking around. Owls are supposedly good omens, and we are taking it to mean that we got the ants.

We spent the next 2 days moving the adjacent piles of lumber in search of infestations, and making our land look like a dumping ground for some sort of crazy bakery - white flour like stuff everywhere. Luckily, it seems that A) the ants hadn't been there long, despite their sheer numbers - the decking was mostly intact - only a handful of boards had been chewed, which we are planning on getting rid of promptly. I think maybe we encountered a swarm that was trying to move in and hadn't gotten far enough to cause much in the way of real damage yet (I hope). B) All we have seen since then are solitary refugees, no organized resistance.

As Henry Mancini's song says, "Dead-ant, Dead-ant, Dead-ant dead-ant dead-ant dead-ant dead-aaannnnnnt....". Let's keep it that way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see things are moving along for you guys!

June 8, 2007 at 6:47:00 AM EDT  

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