We had another run-in with the ants today, but these guys weren’t the same hug-you-en-masse fire ants who made our acquaintance on our permaculture walk. These were more recognizable big, black ants, but still biters, according to Dave. Today was our day of Bokashi – a word we’ve heard gleefully uttered pretty much every day since our arrival. Andres, our gardener, is always enthusiastically shouting “Bokashi!” in his Colombian accent, dissolving into a slurry of Spanish to explain the wonders of micro-organisms and his love affair with soil. And finally today we were able to share in his passion. Only, the ants weren’t as happy about our special moment.

Bokashi, turns out, is more than just something Andres says when he’s bounding from compost to mulch pile, it’s actually a Japanese recipe for creating dirt. Today we mixed mulch, wheat and corn husks, wood shavings, charred organics from town, dried leaves, and ash together with a weird molasses concoction that contained humus Andres had scraped from a nearby forest, molasses, yeast and water. You would think being covered in molasses would be like our olive branch to the ants, but no such luck. After just a few minutes in I noticed a really pissed off colony itching for some payback that was marching out of the dirt I was chucking into our soon-to-be-Bokashi. But, by the time I warned the others, it was too late. Dave already had several dozen ants scrambling from his shoes, up his pants and gunning for the shirt collar. Because these guys are a bit bigger, they move faster than their fire ant cousins.

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Yep, he had ants in his pants. One added bonus of zip-off pants: getting the bugs out easier.

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January 27, 2014