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Passionate experience junkie. Lover of the arts and architecture. Want to see and share the world, one village at a time.

The Ants on the Clothesline Highway

Living off-the-grid in southern Spain for 6 weeks presented a host of experiences ranging from frustrating to glorious for my husband Conrad and me. Glorious were the dry and warm days – consistent to the point of ho-humness – as in, 

“Oh yeah. Another perfect 80 degree day with not a cloud in sight.”

Remote house sitting in southern Spain

Remote house sitting in Southern Spain

Glorious was our swimming pool cut into the mountain rock and in sight of no other humans – only the families of wild mountain goats feeding at dusk. Glorious were the abundant morning glories that draped over our front veranda where we savored every meal outside.

But on the frustrating end of the spectrum, were the ants that laid claim to the clothesline.

Adobe home in remote Sierra Espuna

In the scruffy side yard of our 350-year-old restored adobe home – where we were house sitting – were stuck simple poles onto which the clothesline was strung. When it came to washing our clothes, we were lucky. A fairly new washing machine graced our kitchen. We only had to remember to turn off the swimming pool filter while the washer was on because the limited solar power was not adequate to run both at the same time. Then hanging the clothes was simple, as they dried quickly in the dry mountain air, and smelled really great.

But the clothesline was a major highway for ants. Up one pole, across the thin clothesline and down the opposite pole they marched. I followed their trail back to the ground and away from the poles through the weedy yard, but gave up after my hunt led me into a dense lemon grove and I lost track of them. I don’t know where they were going or what they were doing but the ant highway was well-established and always heavy with traffic. Up and along the clothesline they would go – constantly. And when we swept them off, more would keep coming. They would not be deterred.

After washing, the clothes would be folded over the top of the line, causing the highway of ants to eventually resume on our towels and shorts and underwear. So the ritual looked something like this; before folding the dry laundry from the clothesline, a whole lot of shaking had to be done to release the line of ants.

I still think of those ants today, knowing they’re still trudging along the clothesline highway.

Remote living near Sierra Espuna

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2 Responses to “The Ants on the Clothesline Highway”

  1. Your post brought back memories I’d rather forget, Josie. 😉 Ever since we spent 3 months in the Caribbean I have an ant phobia. I understand they’re beneficial, but still twitch whenever I think of the thousands swarming over orchids or venturing inside the house in never ending traffic lines in order to reach a particular destination that in most cases was elsewhere on the property. Ugh. I’d be doing a whole lot of clothes shaking as well!
    Dianne Burns recently posted..Winchester WalkaboutMy Profile

    April 20, 2015 at 2:18 am Reply
    • Hi Dianne,
      Sorry to have given you the heebie jeebies upon reading my silly post. How crazy that “your” ants had their highway right through the house! I thank you so much for bringing your story here.
      Wishing you safe and happy travels,

      April 20, 2015 at 7:47 am Reply

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