Saturday, April 30, 2016

The end of April

Chéz Tortorella had company last night. The seemingly ever-present ants and a mother duck. Ants are like a bad party guest. You know the type. They show up and bring all their uninvited guests with them. Last night, they just kept coming and coming and got into everything. I don’t have much, but what I do have I like to keep ant-free. To add to the fun these aren’t your typical picnic ants. Nope, these are red fire ants (Solenopsis mandibularis) and they bite. Here’s a lesson in Myrmecology (look it up). Fire ants don’t actually bite. Unlike many other ants, which bite and then spray acid on the wound, fire ants bite only to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic alkaloid venom called Solenopsin, a compound from the class of piperidines. That’s a mouthful of biological and chemical babble. If you’re ever in the area, watch out for these nasty little suckers.

As for Mrs. Duck, she’s a Muscovy duck. Muscovys aren’t native to South Florida but they’re

everywhere. Like the pythons we have around here (yeah, pythons), these birds were introduced illegally and were released primarily by private individuals for ornamental purposes or as pets.

Mrs. Duck was sitting on her four eggs. There’s another one around the area with five ducklings in tow. Many people see these ducks as a nuisance. I don’t. Live and let live. They’re kind of cute and the ducklings are hysterical. Okay, so I’m easily amused. I tossed her a couple of cookies. The cookies the ants had gotten into. I made sure the ants were gone first. Mr. Duck showed up, too. He downed a cookie before moving on.

Well, that was my night and early morning so far. Now I get to figure out what to do with myself for the rest of the day and night. As I write this, I’m sitting in the dining court at the mall. It’s air conditioned, there’s food and restrooms. They say, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” “They” say a lot of things. I’m not sure who “they” are but they have some spot-on sayings and euphemisms.

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