Ants for Breakfast & Tomatoes

This will be the last in this series. Maybe.  In my spot of New England, carpenter ants, come calling every spring and through out the summer.  I have battled them every year I have lived here, which is a few decades.  Everyone worries about termites but I think carpenter ants do more damage in half the time.

Even with a few days that have been warm, I still am using the wood-stove for heat.  I store my kindling in trash barrels outside to keep the wood dry.  When I went to get some from my last barrel, that was against the side of the shed, there were big black carpenter ants in the barrel.  In years past I would have used a couple of bug bombs on them.  Now, I call over the ladies and dump out the kindling.  After kicking the pieces around to reveal the hiding ants I think the ladies got all of them. They will be turning them into my morning breakfast tonight.

They are amazing creatures and so useful.


searching for carpenter ants 4/25/13

searching for carpenter ants 4/25/13

Tomatoes.  I got a late start with starting my tomato seeds this year, 4/3/13 is when I planted most of them.  Today I transplanted them to two 9-packs.  They look so small.  Will they be ready in 4-5 weeks to go into the garden??  They will be ready, might be small, but they’ll be ready.  I could always go the a garden center and buy a larger plant.  No, I’m too frugal.

Cold-frame 4/25/13

Cold-frame 4/25/13

The tomatoes are in the front tray, the 3 round cookie containers are my original starting pots.  There are more plants in these if I need more.  The back tray has my lettuce and basil on the left, then my leeks and finally my sweet potato slips.  The slips are big enough to be cut off of the potato and potted.  Maybe this weekend.

It is so nice to be playing in the dirt.



  1. My tomatoes are little too. Well everything is. I was amazed at the Farmer’s Market…their lettuce and basil were HUGE! I thought I had done something wrong, but I checked with a friend and her stuff is still small too. It has been a cold Spring. But it is supposed to be warm this week end so maybe things will have a spurt. Question. Do you leave stuff in the cold frame overnight? I have a plastic “seed starter” tent type coldframe, I put things in during the day, but I bring them in at night. Just curious. Maybe you could do a blog about building cold frames and how you use them for us newbies. Thanks. Patti

    • The answer to your question is sometimes. Does that help?? The seedlings will be fine if there is no frost. Temperatures below freezing will kill them. The cold-frame gives them a lot of protection from the cold and if a frost is not expected they would be fine. When they are so small though I tend to baby them some. I will throw a shipping blanket over the cold-frame just in case and if a cold night in predicted I also bring them in. One of my favorite sayings is “Since we learn from our mistakes, I should be a genius by now.” and most mistakes you can make with a cold-frame I have done. The worse one, was frying all of my tomato plants by not opening the glass top on a sunny day. To help me remember I sometimes put a wireless thermometer in the cold frame so I can monitor it from the house or shop.

      • My wireless thermometer has a min/max button so you could put one into your tent cold-frame and see if it keeps it warmer at night. Without the plants. I’ve slept in many tents and they don’t hold much heat when it is cold and windy out.

  2. My hens just de-grubbed the former oil tanks where I plant strawberries — the tanks were riddled with vine weevil. They have to earn their keep!

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