Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Recently I failed to respond to some questions. Forgive my slowness.

Melody asked "What is a 'cinder bug'?" in response to Garden Report.

"Cinder bug" is a local name for a species of Darkling Beetle. I attempted to identify the specie but abandoned my efforts after discovering there are over 12,000 species world wide. I learned there are over 300 species in Texas so I assume there are probably 200 or more in Arizona. I found one article published by the University of Arizona that matches our experience.

Our first summer in Flagstaff we left a door open a few inches so the cat had access to a second story balcony. I saw one fly all summer and thought Flagstaff was a paradise for escaping insects. The first summer after we moved to our current location we had a plague of beetles. The first night we vacuumed scores from the walls and ceilings.

They are a type of stink bug. Touch them and they secrete an unpleasant fluid. Julie and I have a cup of hot tea and a one inch square of chocolate on most evenings. Last summer I ate my chocolate while reading. I noticed a small crumb I had missed so I absent mindedly picked it up and bit it in half. Chocolate isn't supposed to be crunchy nor taste like a darkling beetle smells. I don't recommend them for snacks.

THE Michael left a second question on Garden Report. He asked "Just how thick ARE those timbers?" in reference to a photo of one raised bed.

I bought the timbers on Craigslist from a man who built a house and had extras. Most of the timers were 12 and 14 feet long and measured 8 inches by 12 inches. I split them length wise so the answer is 4 inches. I don't remember what I paid for them but I do remember one odd timber. He told me it was a 6 by 6 about 16 feet long. I took a trailer that is 10 feet in length and discovered the odd timber was actually 20 feet long. I paid $10 for this one beam.

Anvilcloud wrote the following on Hot! Hot! Hot!: "I am not understanding the border issue. You didn't cross in and out of Mexico did you?"

No, we never entered Mexico. Along the southern parts of the country the Border Patrol has several road blocks. Interstate 8, which we took, is close to the Mexican border and at a couple points it's possible to see the fence that separates the two countries. At one road block there was a sign that listed the number of illegal aliens detained in 2008, the quantity of drugs seized and the number of felons arrested. I did a few assumptions and a little mental arithmetic and came to the conclusion that it probably cost several hundred thousand dollars per illegal alien.

Finally, on Garden Ride I found this from MojoMan: "I hope you'll post on 'Blue Zones'."

I did consider writing a review of each book I read. Give me a few days and I'll write about Blue Zones.


Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

You are hereby forgiven.

8/11/2009 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

It took a while, but I have been answered. I was even wondering if there were border points between some states, but that didn't seem right either.

8/11/2009 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Malcolm said...

I loved the story about the crumb of chocolate - I'd be tempted to examine such delicate morsels very closely indeed!

8/14/2009 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

We have those in Indiana. My brother lived in Brown County for awhile and every fall it was so bad, he too literally vacuumed them up like gravel.

Unfortunately, he also became highly allergic to them.

8/19/2009 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger MojoMan said...

I look forward to your remarks on "The Blue Zones." I just read it and found lots of information there even pampered - but short-lived - Americans can use.

8/31/2009 06:46:00 PM  

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