Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Humbling Lesson From a Stupid Idea

If memory serves me correctly it was one of those sweet, sunny, blue-sky days that serves to accentuate the trees and shrubs sporting their last explosive hurrah. Steve was home from work so it must have been a weekend. While he attended to the kiddos I took some uninterrupted outside time. 

Situated on 10 forested acres, our surroundings felt like a perpetual camping trip with all the amenities. If I listened closely I could hear an occasional car on the highway down the hill and sometimes at night animal sounds might echo off the trees and wake us but mostly it was deafeningly quiet and I felt like there was no world out there, beyond our brier-clad borders. Just me, my family back at the house and nature. 

Photo courtesy of Linnie W. Please click to visit her site.
A pile of bricks lay discarded under a tangle of brambly grasses on the far side of the gravel driveway. The day of their discovery was a mood-booster as I contemplated their future utility as flooring for pathways and edging for raised beds. 

But presently, I only needed one member of that obscure pile. One damp, muddy brick would suffice. Fueled with equal parts defiance and stupidity, I was sure that it would do the trick. With it grasped within my palm, I traipsed through the leaning, knee-high grasses over to a clearing where upon closer inspection, one could witness the indisputable opening to a thriving yellow jacket tunnel. But those little monsters had met their match!  

I began my verbal eviction notice. "You might hold some kind of obscure purpose on this planet," I told them in no uncertain terms, "but you were mistaken if you think that you can make my garden your permanent residence!"
And so, as self-appointed Ruler of my dominion, coupled with all the bravado I could falsify, I stepped closer to the opening, gingerly stretched out my arm and held the brick over the opening about 4 feet up. Eyes focused on my target, I began to squat and loosen my grip on the brick. 

Fire! My middle finger...burning, directly underneath the very spot where a fearless Nest Protector just perched its brazen self. I shook my hand to get it off which caused the release of the brick. Where it landed, I wasn't sure because I was running like hell.  

As I got closer to the house, I stopped, turned around and once I was satisfied that the dang bees weren't chasing me, (like that black cloud would always do on those cartoons we watched as kids, remember?) I heaved a sigh of relief. 
My finger healed. And eventually it got cold and the yellow jackets either died or moved on or did whatever yellow jackets do, and that was the end of it. Lesson learned.


  1. OH Grace your title sucked me in and I had to find out what you were talking about.

    I can just see you know! Why is it that yellow jackets seem to protect their nests from the property owners?! I've had the same issue but I can't tell the story nearly as well.

    Great writing as always.

  2. Ouch! But sorry I had to laugh at your lesson learned. LOL! It is one of those moments when we ask ourselves, "Now why in the world did I do that stupid trick?" LOL!

  3. Oh that must have hurt....whoops.

    We all do those things, hopefully just not over and over again.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  4. Oh my!! They are savage little critters for sure! We've run across them while repairing fences; their nest would be right underneath the post.

    It was a pleasure to visit.

  5. I do wonder their reason for being. Rusty has had them chase him from the far back of our property to our front porch!

  6. I tired to extricate or bury ground bees once...woops big mistake... they flew inside my t-shirt and stung me...I have had many earlier encounters with bees and wasps and they always win so I steer clear now and give them a wide berth in my garden!!

  7. Ouch is right! The first house Larry and I bought, when we were in our 20s was an old farm house that was now part of the city, but retained 3 lots. I had 2 huge veggie gardens. One one of them, we had piled grass clippings down the edge, about 18 inches high. I think it was toward the end of the season, I decided to spread the clippings over the garden with a rake. I didn't know some kind of bees had taken up residence there. I sure made them mad! I don't remember if I got stung. I just asked Larry, and first, he said, "Yeah, you got stung 3 times", then he hesitated, and said, "I think you did." I guess he's losing some of his memory, too. It was over 35 years ago.

    I did remember to be careful when working on the compost pile across the street yesterday. The texture of it was reminding me of those grass clippings.

    I like this header, and the blog looks very nice. I love the picture in the sidebar that says, "I can be Googled, therefore I am." LOL

  8. Yellow jackets are the meanest, nastiest critters on earth!
    Sorry you were stung, but thankful it was only once.
    Thanks for stopping in!

  9. My very first memory of my life is being stung up with bees (aged 3). Traumatic stuff, I hear ya.

  10. I like 'all the bravado I could falsify.' That's certainly me and wasps. Great tale.

  11. Dear Grace---first, so lovely of you to visit us...I love your two blogs.

    I am glad you were not chased by those yellow jackets. Your story reminded me of when I was in grade school or junior high. I saw a nest of bees way up on the corner of a wall and decided that I had to knock it down. I did not see any life around it. So I threw a rock at it and knocked it down and was instantly chased by a bunch of bees. I think I had 10-12 bee stings and was swollen for two days. : )
    Lesson learned indeed. Happy November 1st to you. : )

  12. You were lucky, Grace. I have a very good friend who opened the door to his deceased grandparent's home and was stung 36 times. 911 was called and he now has some type of emergency kit that he must carry with him. Now whether he does or not is another story.

  13. Nasty little critters!! We run into them sometimes when building fence; they will have a nest directly under the post!


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