in the morning i examined my finished hollow book. it didn't turn out so bad given it's my first time making one. i could've done a better job cutting the pages as the inner edges aren't the straightest. it'd also be nice to have some sort of magnetic clasp and i read some directions online on how to do that. it has a depth of 7/8", not sure what i'm going to put in it. it'd make a nice novelty box for a gift. i'll be on the lookout for discarded hardcover books, the next one i'll make will also have a magnetic closure.
today was the ultra safe pest extermination appointment so i motorcycled to belmont around noontime for the 1:00 appointment. my father came home to wait as well while my mother left for work. we'd already cleaned up the side of the house including draining some of the rain barrels in case we needed to move them. by 1:30 they still had shown up and i was getting a little worried because we already paid in full so i called them. the exterminator was finishing up a job in somerville and was about to come over.
the first person to show up was mark, who looked like a late middle-aged tough guy with a cross wrist tattoo and a studded earring but was actually very friendly. he arrived in a conspicuously marked truck pulling an equally conspicuously marked trailer; no way to hide the fact that we have a termite problem from the neighbors. since mark wasn't the guy who originally did the inspection, i gave him a quick outline of the problem areas. i thought it was just him, but a few minutes later his partner showed up, a man named ron who was the staff entomologist.
together including my father we all took a survey of the property. as soon as they saw the raised bed gardens in the backyard, they raised some concerns. now we were under the impression from the barrier treatment inspectors that termidor is a very safe product. but both mark and ron were reluctant to drill termidor into the ground so close to the garden; the raised beds are 18" away from the foundation but to be safe they'd have to be 2-3 feet away.
they suggested termidor barrier on all sides of the house except the southern side (where we have our garden), where they'd use bait traps instead (a much greener solution). at first my father and i thought it was a good idea, but something didn't sit right. was this a bait and switch? the whole reason why we wanted to use a termidor barrier was once applied it was effective for at least 5-10 years with no additional maintenance visits. but a bait system requires an exterminator to come out every few months to check and switch out the baits, and once you start a bait system you can't just stop because then the termites come back.
eventually i talked to ron about my concerns. he reassured me that the price we were paying was for a total package, irregardless of whether or not we used a barrier, baits, or a combination of both. "integrated pest management," he told me was what they did. the 5 year warranty included any additional visits. that made me feel better. later i talked with mark, who told me that having termidor along 3/4 perimeter of the house was enough to kill all the termites on the property, never mind the baits.
so how does one apply termidor? through trenching and then pressurized injections. they first dug a shallow trough (about 6" wide) along the edge of the house. then using a tool that looked like a long metal needle with a two-handed handle, they injected a solution of water and termidor every 6" several feet into the ground. on the western side of the house we had some perennials that were in the way that we dug up and relocated. even then, a few still got trampled, casualties of the war against termites. we had a patch of chinese chives that we dug up, so that's edible. along the southeastern corner of the house (directly behind the attached garage) is another strip of vegetation, mostly chinese chives, a few endives (that we grow for the chicory-like flowers), and a large patch of lovage. earlier my father had already dug up some lovage (to be transplanted to my great uncle's garden). these are edible plants but we decided to sacrifice them.
while mark did the termidor injection, ron was busy digging the trenches with a hoe. he was also responsible for drilling some holes, along the driveway by the foundation of the house and along the front stoop. after mark finished his injection work, ron went back and filled up the holes with cement, including finishing the patches on the driveway with black spray paint to better conceal the cement.
mark wrote up a new contract (with their 5 year warranty) for my father to sign, and said they'd sent someone to come back and bait the southern side of the house probably next week (using firstline). and with that they were done. it felt very anticlimactic. there wasn't any way we could see the termidor in action, killing off the termite colonies. even if we were able to peer underground, termidor is slow acting and at the very least would take a few days to do it's damage. the only way we'll able to tell if it works is we don't see any swarms next spring. at the very least there's the peace of mind that something is being done about the termites, as invisible as they seem. it makes me sleep better at nights knowing that fipronil is slowly shutting down their central nervous system.
the chinese chives we uprooted from the western side of the house we planted some in RB0 and some underneath the maple tree. the rest my father will give to my great uncle. we also decided that we'd relocated both the chinese chives and the lovage on the southeastern corner of the house, and use that area to grow some non-edible plants (flowers), like peonies.
i stirred the open-air compost heap after noticing the smell of rotting grass. at first i thought it was dust rising from the heap but realized it was steam from the decomposition. in the center of the heap the temperature was high enough to be considered hot. composting in action!
i returned to cambridge shortly before 5:00, trying to beat the traffic rush. i took with me a bag of chinese chives to grow in my own community garden.
for dinner i ate the rest of my macaroni and cheese, which tasted awful; that stuff doesn't do well as a leftover.
the grow closet is still operational, even though i haven't mentioned it in a while. here's the tally of plants:
the tomatoes aren't in the grow closet but sitting out in a box by the rear door and which i occasionally put outside to harden them when the temperature isn't very cold.