Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sneaky Little Things on the Homestead

Earlier this summer we were sitting at the picnic bench at the homestead on a fine, summer day with Tex and Charlotte when we became aware of an odd, rather annoying noise. "Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape." We all looked around. What in the world was making that never ending sound? Finally Charlotte spotted it. It was a Paper Wasp and it had found a piece of cardboard left by the electrician with a schematic drawn on it - it was hanging next to the electric box outside, which was very close to where we were sitting. We watched the wasp work for a while ,and then fly off, only to be replaced by another wasp very quickly. Bobo jumped up to eat it, but we yelled at him and as he opened his mouth, the wasp flew off to safety. We laughed about that a while and then removed the cardboard and allowed Bobo to tear it to shreds. Bobo likes to tear up cardboard.

So fast forward a few months to.... well .... today. Bernie and I spent a couple hours mowing today, and then spent the rest of it working on my trike. We added a two barrel carburetor. She ought to like that pretty well! We'll finish it up in the morning, but we finally reached the point where we could go no further until we visit an auto parts store. So around 4:30PM, we called it quits and came inside to relax a little before cleaning up and eating supper.

Bernie can not relax without turning on a TV, so he did that about the second we walked in the door. I was in the kitchen stirring the spaghetti when I heard him ask "Did we pay the cable bill this month?" By "we", he meant "me". I pay the bills. "Well, of course we paid the cable bill this month. Why?"

He didn't look convinced when he said "Well, we have no cable. The message on the screen says a bunch of stuff that I think means maybe we didn't pay a bill."

"We paid the bill. Maybe that tree foliage got too big. Maybe the dish got out of alignment." I was pretty sure I was not to blame here.

"I'll go outside and look." And Bernie took off outside. I shut off the TV and the dish box and then started them up again. I saw Bernie walking by the window. I opened the window and said "Well, what do you think?" He said "I think you need to come out here. And I think you need to bring your camera." What????? I didn't question him. I grabbed my camera, threw on my sandals and took off outside. I anxiously asked "What is it?" He pointed at the corner of the house, up on the eave and said "Look up there". I expected to see the spot where a meteor had struck our roof and destroyed our satellite dish. Instead, I saw this:

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Paper Wasps! Darn things. And I knew where they had gotten most of that paper from.

Still, we couldn't help but admire the hard work of these creatures. It really is impressive what they can come up with using something as simple as a piece of cardboard:

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And they build those little over-hangs as the entrances/exits. Very impressive indeed. But really not cool to have hanging directly overhead of an area we mow, weed eat, and walk in. So we sprayed them with poison that we hate using. Next weekend we'll remove the nest and dissect it. As much as I am terrified of wasps and hornets, I do admire them. And I'm interested in how they build their abode - although I would highly recommend they do that in one of the thousands of trees we have on our homestead rather than right on our home.

By the way, the cable was fine. When we came inside the satellite had restarted and a nice picture was playing on our TV. I told him I payed that bill.

Bee Free,

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