"Strawberry-sized" is the closest I can come up with, as unhelpful as that is because those aren't round. Why would bigger berries be more problematic to juice? Anyway, remember than wyne is now made from drynes, which are as much smaller than fresh yneberries as raisins are smaller than grapes. Juicing the fresh ones would probably not be done large-scale at all, but more akin to squeezing fresh orange juice for a feastday dawn meal (weekend breakfast).
I had a new idea in the meantime, which is that the ants just wait for the berries to drop of their own accord and then roll◊
them into their nest. Imagining an ant trail along which things are rolled rather than carried certainly makes for an awesome mental visual - almost like the natural version of wheeled vehicles on a road! The only problem I see with this is that normal berries would bruise or even slip open when hitting the ground, which would make it implausible for them to be stored for extended periods of time. This could in turn be solved by assuming that these are tougher, or (and I quite like this one, too) that the ants preventatively cover the ground underneath the briars with a layer of soft material. Something fibrous would be perfect.
Also, this means that we have to abandon the idea of building them artificial hives above-ground, as there's be no way to roll berries into those (well, there could be ramps, but that's pushing it). Some of the figures mentioned in the articles I skimmed yesterday actually made me think that that was implausible because of something else in any case: A colony of sufficient size to hold an area of the size I suggested above might number in the millions, which at the suggested weigh means it would weigh the better part of a ton. That's rather a big structure to build, especially for my diminutive Altlings who only weigh around 10 kg themselves.
Further, the fact that berries that large wouldn't fit through ordinary ant tunnels would actually work in this scheme's favour: There would have to be special entrances to special storage chambers, and that makes them much easier to identify for the humanoids when "harvest time" comes.
I agree that it's a little hard to imagine this, but I don't see any hard reasons against it. It works with bees and honey, so clearly it can work in principle. The berry-harvest as described would be a lot more efficient than what bees do, and there is no processing step involved, which should make it at least as plausible as that counterpart, really. And while it's easy to forget, ynets aren't really ants, they just "look and walk and quack" like ants. In other words, real ants don't have to be able to actually pull something like this off.
I did already briefly think about having them harvest some honey-like ant product or the ants themselves instead (especially because of this
), but on the whole I think I like the original idea better.
edited 8th Oct '12 2:40:11 AM by kassyopeia
Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.