DIY Down Under

IMG_7692Decided to go down under yesterday to see for myself what a termite inspector said he didn’t need to investigate cause he’d already found enough evidence. Turns out I couldn’t see what he meant, cause I didn’t find anything either, termites that is.

But I did find capability, courage and many compliments from my husband and children who were very impressed at my determination and willingness to crawl on my belly army style in a 24-inch space with a flashlight on my head and covered top to toe in homemade crawlspace protector garb which starting with my head, included a layer of old t-shirt covered by a yellow raincoat pulled tight all around my face, and fastened firmly around the wrists, ski pants over pants with socks pulled over pants like you would to avoid a bicycle chain getting caught on the leg cuff, old hiking boots, and rubber gloves.

Surprised by the height of the space, I lay on the floor for several minutes half-torso stretched looking this way and that pointing my flashlight in the directions I knew I’d be navigating. Like a decision long ago to homebirth (another story) and then home school and urban homestead ( , I’m now on my fourth home — DIY home termite inspection. Before I could think further, I found myself lowering myself into the pit of our dusty underground.

A family effort, Doug directed from the inside, and the kids, who had been sweeping the yard, met me at all the sunny chicken-wired shut grates along the outside of the house, describing the places so their directionally challenged mom could figure out where she was .

And there I was, under the house and looking for termites. Finally got a look at the copper pipes that were installed 15 years ago when we moved in. Dang workers left the old pipes under the house.

Turns out I saw no tubers and only the pellets the termite guy found from the outside. Does this mean we don’t need to eventually gas the inside and shoot gallons of pesticides outside and around our precious 6,000 square footage yard? I can’t say, but since comparing notes with our neighbors, who are tenting because termites are crawling out of the floors and walls, I’m pretty sure I ruled out the recommended complete house plastic wrap application.

Seems becoming my own termite inspector is part of an evolutionary DIY path that started with birthing my kids at home (tried), educating my kids’, (succeeding) and growing our own food and chickens (bit by bit). My first impulse used to be, “I don’t know how,” and “I need experts,” but when I try, I find, it’s not mysterious. What about you; pushed yourself to the brink of intrepid Do it Yourself indignant independence lately? If so, please send pictures and stories.