Yellowjacket bee

Setting My Husband Up For Failure

It’s never intentional if my husband injures himself while assisting me. For instance, one day after shopping, I returned home and found him sitting at the kitchen table staring at me with cold, bleary eyes. I asked him what was wrong.

He said, “Though I am not big on gardening, you wanted me to turn your compost pile, and I thought that I would get some exercise and help you. It didn’t work out well.”

“Thanks for aerating my garden soil, but your face is flushed. What happened and why are you giving me a mean look?  Why are you breathing hard?”

“While I was raking, I hit a yellowjacket nest. Bees swarmed and stung my neck, face, arms, and legs. They even got into my shorts and up my tee-shirt sleeves. I think that I was stung over 20 times. I ran up the deck stairs to escape them and found a locked door.  I ran back down the stairs, around the side to the front door, in the house, and up the steps. With my clothes on, I jumped in the shower to remove the bees that continued to sting me. If you have any questions, I left several in the drain for you to count. Why did you lock the door anyway?”

” I’m sorry, but latching the door is a habit. Did the dog didn’t get stung?”

“No, he’s okay.”

“Thank goodness, but I hope that you are alright too.”

I gave my husband some Benadryl, and then to ensure that he was not exaggerating, I counted about 12 bees in the tub. We rode to the emergency room, and the doctors gave him a shot of adrenaline that made him anxious for a few hours, but he survived another episode caused by dorothyadele.

Since I didn’t want a divorce, I never asked him to work with my dirt compound again. Before I raked it, I waited until the bees were hibernating because they were not stinging me.

Now, I have a barrel composter that I turn to mix the soil. It’s a shame that my husband learned the hard way.

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Black snake

Squatter Snake

The first eighteen months that we lived in our home, I had traipsed barefoot through the basement, using the stairway light, and the sun that streamed through the window to guide me. One night, I turned the corner and nearly stepped on something, consequently I have never walked through the basement in the dark again.

 

I flipped on the light, and a snake lay on the floor in front of me. We eyed each other for several minutes deciding our next move. When I looked closer, I noticed that he had a pattern on his back and a triangle-shaped head. I guessed that he was possibly poisonous.

 

However, there was one thing that I knew for sure: Snake handling was not in my wife/mother employment contract and removing one was a man’s job. Since my husband has always loved a challenge, the logical solution was to present my husband with the gift of letting him determine how to get rid of the snake. When my husband returned home from work, ready to relax, I would surprise him with his next job.

 

The thought of getting close to the snake unnerved me, but I decided that I would put a large bucket over it, and I would weigh it down with several hundred bricks. Though I didn’t want to let our squatter out of my sight, I left to get a bucket. I chuckled wondering how my husband would remove the snake. Would he slide the bucket?  Would he lift the bucket and take a chance of the snake striking?

 

Naturally, when I returned, my husband’s friend was gone. Now he was a full-time resident. I had lain awake the next few nights –or years—  wondering if it would slither up the steps to our bedroom. Suppose it slid up the side of our bed? What then?

 

The following spring, our housemate had donated his skin to decorate his living quarters, and I couldn’t help but wonder, did it belong to him or one of his siblings?

 

Though I have had our home inspected and sealed, this was the first of several snake episodes. Each family member has had the joy of encountering at least one.

Attracting Bluebirds With Mealworms, a Heated Birdbath and Humor

Four Bluebirds and a Cardinal

Four Bluebirds and a Cardinal (photo by dorothyadele)

 Cardinals (photo by dorothyadele)

Cardinals (photo by dorothyadele)

Bluebirds and Cardinal (photo by dorothyadele)

Bluebirds and Cardinal (photo by dorothyadele)


During spring and summer, bluebirds hatch regularly in birdhouses in my neighbor’s yard, who uses live mealworms to attract them. Her success motivates me to try it too, so I keep a mealworm stash in my basement refrigerator during the warm months.  

 

I initially place the worms in a small cup on top of a bluebird feeder that sets on my deck railing. When the bluebirds find them, I put the mealworms inside the feeder and they visit it.  

 

Bluebird houses perch on five-foot-high-metal poles in an open area in my yard with baffles clamped below to prevent snakes and animals from climbing and invading their homes.  Though they have attempted nests in the houses, wrens and sparrows usually evict them before their eggs hatch.  

Bluebird House With Baffle (photo by dorothyadele)

Bluebird House With Baffle (photo by dorothyadele)

 

 My best bluebird attraction is my heated birdbath. It supplies fresh water on freezing days when other sources are scarce. Birds flock to the birdbath and entertain us with their activity and color on cold winter days.

 

 

Not only have the birds entertained us, but the mealworms have too. One day, my sister-in-law opened my basement refrigerator looking for a drink, and she was curious about the contents of the burlap sack on the shelf. When she opened the mealworm bag, I had heard a loud scream, and I knew that she had found my special stockpile. I guess that mealworms were the last thing that she expected to find in my refrigerator!

dorothyadele

English: Mealworm

English: Mealworm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goat Shot on Virgin Gorda

img_2128

Shots fired from the dirt road on Virgin Gorda. (Photo by dorothyadele)

Goats bleating and roosters crowing, some clueless about dawn’s arrival, awakened us each morning in Virgin Gorda. Skittering anoles, singing frogs and dancing butterflies made us feel like we were in a sanctuary safe for all. Unfortunately, that changed today.

I was sitting on the porch sipping coffee when I spotted a pickup truck driving down the dirt trail adjacent to our rental. It stopped. Someone perched a rifle, or similar firearm, out the passenger’s window. Lights flashed as four shots blasted from the gun muzzle through the thick brush, just yards from our residence. Goats bleated, and one screamed louder than the rest for longer than I wanted to hear.

As the whimpering subsided, the truck crept haltingly down the mountain, made a full stop, then proceeded to the bottom of the hill and turned around. As it ascended, I saw what I believed was a goat carcass in the back of the truck.

Though the slaughter disturbed me, someone was making their living on Virgin Gorda.

 

Related Posts

https://dorothyadele.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/why-we-like-virgin-gorda/

Bluebird Flegeling

Bluebirds nested, fledged and one probably dead

I have  attracted  bluebirds using mealworms and birdbaths, but I have not been successful with them nesting in my bluebird box until this year.

In the past, bluebirds have attempted to build a nest, only to have sparrows evict them. This year a pair of bluebirds laid eggs and produced four nestlings.

Two weeks ago, the baby bluebirds left their nest or fledged.  When I walked outside, several adult  bluebirds dive bombed me, and I spotted four fledglings hopping on my lawn.

Fledgling survival depends on the parents hearing their call and finding them. The parents will continue to feed  and care for them for three to four weeks as they learn independence.

Unfortunately not all fledglings survive. The day after I saw the baby bluebirds,  I found fledgling feathers on the lawn, and I suspected that  a predator attacked at least one of them.

Some of their  predators include snakes, fire ants, opossum, mice, rats, owls, and raccoons.  In addition,  humans also threaten their survival through pesticide use and  removal of their habitat through development.

Some sources say about 50 percent of fledglings will not survive, but I suspect that the number is greater.

https://dorothyadele.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/attracting-bluebirds-with-mealworms-a-heated-birdbath-and-humor/

Hydrangea

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

Young Finch

Young Finch (photo by dorothyadele)

Dianthus

Dianthus (photo by dorothyadele)

First Flush of Zephirine Drouhin Climbing Rose

First Flush of Zephirine Drouhin Climbing Rose (photo by dorothyadele)

Forsythia

Forsythia (photo by dorothyadele)