I. The Gatekeeper
"First thing tomorrow, we're out of there! We're moving everything out immediately, I'm tired of this shit!!"
First thing this morning, Dave is all about moving completely out of the property in which two of our three current bee yards are. Goodbye mysterious 200 year old bell. Goodbye cannons. Goodbye a dozen other fun mysterious things (old wagon, bunker, water well, adobe castle, etc), and goodbye Bee Yard D and Bee Yard E.
He says the owner called him up yesterday all hollering that I didn't close the big gate to the property. This has happened on several occasions and usually we're almost certain we did not leave the gate open. The first time it happened I'd been up there with Dave, which was fortunate for the obvious reason that there were two of us who were pretty sure we remembered closing the gate. The second or third time it happened it happened to have been the first time I'd gone up there with Ryan, Dave's right hand man in the bee control side of the business, and I couldn't have possibly been more certain I closed the gate because I'd been showing Ryan what to do and where to hide the key, etc.
To hear Dave tell it, this guy just calls him up and starts shouting in his ear that we left the gate open and giving Dave cubic yards of grief over it.
In this most recent case though, the guy would be right. I did leave the gate open. Because I found it open. The gate was wide open, and a number of tents could be seen just a little ways in (the other activity I passingly mentioned in yesterday's entry). Knowing the guy was borderly psychotic about the gate being closed I paused for a long while looking between the open gate, the sign that says "PLEASE LEAVE GATE AS YOU FOUND IT" and the tents, eventually concluding that the gate had been left open by the other people so they could ingress/egress and I should obey the large sign instructing me to leave the gate as I found it, and so I didn't touch the gate.
Next time I'm taking my chances locking people in over getting grief over the open gate. If there ever is a next time.
HOWEVER, later I talked to Amy, our office manager, and she apparently had been present when Dave received the call. She said it seemed like a very calm unexciting call in which her impression was only that the guy had asked when we were up there.
Now, knowing Dave, and I'd think you'd be starting to get an impression of him here by now, I'm wondering if all this time it had just been like a game of telephone. Where the message passes through several people and gets garbled. But in this case, a game of telephone routed through Dave, in which the message is liable to get utterly warped and any negative element gets magnified into a mountain. I wouldn't be surprised if the guy had just asked and at the end of the conversation reiterated the importance to him of the gate being closed, and Dave felt it was rude and gradually built it up in his head over the next 20 hours.
II. Summoning Zombies
Yesterday you may recall I mentioned I was working on researching potential biological control of ants. That is-- using something that eats ants such as spiders or lizards rather than chemicals.
Additionally I wrote about post mortem inspections of failed beehives and how of late I've been finding dead bees that don't look dead -- prompting someone to make a joke about "zombees."
Today these two things come unexpectedly together.
This morning I emailed the attractive and delightful cutting-edge bee researcher Judy Wu. I'd met her at the state bee convention in 2008. Cooped up in a hotel in snowy tahoe we'd stayed up late "getting to know eachother" if you know what I mean. If you don't, I mean we talked about bees of course. Anyway she had gotten involved with bees through research in biological control, so it seemed natural to ask her.
She wrote me back, among other things noting this article about the use of "phorid flies" in the United States (and elsewhere) to control ants. Specifically, this is one of those species of flies that lay eggs in ants, which then hatch and turn the ants into zombies ... before eventually decapitating them (the only effective way of killing a zombie as you know).
Maybe I could leave [land owner] a little parting gift of... an army of zombie ants?
Gatekeeper Round! Summon the zombies!
I. The Gatekeeper