WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2006

My neighbor asked for some help clearing blackberries alongside the ditch runs next to his long driveway. Sure, no problem, except berries are so thick you can't see the edge of the ditch and it is a drop off you don't want to drop off and wouldn't you know it, backed too far, went in too deep, fortunately locked the brakes in time and was stuck in place. Took hooking up a chain to the tractor and pulled it out and now don't get so damned close to the ditch.

Ditch glitch. Tractor mania. Backed into a mess of barbed wire tangled up the mower blade, stuck a hunk of wire in the back tire, now I'm flatfooted, out of order, waiting for tire repair place to open after the labor day cookout before tackling the blackberries again.

It was a struggle getting the wheel off the tractor but neighbor Steve's air wrench wasn't to be denied and once the wheel was off neighbor Steve's bucket on his tractor raised the wheel high in the air and deposited it kerplunk in the back of my pickup where it rested until the tire repair place opened and I took her in and got her fixed and now I wait for neighbor Steve to get home from work so we can put the wheel back on the tractor and I can go over to neighbor Pete's and whack at his blackberries some more.

Mission accomplished. A couple more days of berry whacking, keeping fingers crossed, no more surprises, then should be done with that job. Meanwhile, what to do about the car overheating, losing all its water, no discernible leaks, tis a mystery to me.


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2006

O DEATH WHERE IS THY STING?

Lodged in the rear end of millions of yellowjackets and isn't it funny how God uses those little fellers to bring you down from your comeuppances, and talking about me, not you, for I am the one who while clearing backberries backed the rotary mower over a nest of the suckers and then paused to talk to my neighbor who was watching wild-eyed and screaming something I couldn't hear over the noise of the tractor but when the cloud rose up around me I ascertained promptly what he was implying and jammed on the throttle, lunged out of there, drove like mad through trees and branches hoping to dislodge the stinging bastards but it didn't do any good so I shut down the tractor, bailed out and took off running with the swarm all around me. I'm smacking them with my hat, grabbing them with my gloved hand, rolling in the grass, finally getting them all, even the ones stuck in my hair but my oh my I have been stung many many times on the head and neck and ear and eye.

The neighbor got it too. I was at his place, cutting. He called his wife on the cell phone and she brought down benadryl and ice packs and we popped the pills and laid on the ice packs and went up to their house and suffered like fools gladly till I decided to go home and recover there. A pain pill later I was happily dozing the day away thinking now there's a weapon we haven't employed. You want to clear out a house, toss in a bag of yellow jackets, watch the people come running out.

That was Saturday. By Saturday night I could see out of my right eye again, my right ear was no longer the size of a melon, and the pain was a dull throb. Sunday, the stings were itching like crazy. Today they still ache. The tractor is still at the neighbor's. I think I'll leave it there a while.


my friend Greg said the same thing about his
attack except..they were beeeeeeezzzzz..! tisn't as
wide as a church door, or as deep as a well, but it
hurts like hell!!
--Peace az

so much packed into such a tiny space.

..is the tractor still running? ironically I can't top your beething, but yestereday I was cleaning around the hives and one sucker got me on the eyelid...benadryl to the rescue...they are so cute when they are angry...unfortunately thay only get to get in that mood once. Aloha.
-- macbitten

as cassady once said, no bee is happy angry.

the stinging story on your web site. Everything sure looks different in hive sight don't it?
OUCH.
Wish I could do something to take the sting out of that experience for you.
I think in the future you should leave the Yellow Jackets to Georgia techs or you'll end up a ramblin' wreck.
-- Hammer Slammer

it's happened but like a duck in a rainstorm I let it all run off my back.

Oh sting, where is thy death?
-- geo

in millions and millions of the pricks unless you unfortunately happen to be allergic to them, then you really in trouble.

Damn Capn, that isn't the right way to get a buzz on.

-- Tahoe Jimbo

In about '56 0r so I was helping my dad rake out a bunch of ivy when we uncorked a nest of bumblers, big black and gold ones.
That's got to be the smartest durn bug ever. Built in radar. They coulda picked us out in a crowded room. They chased us for blocks, and thru a field. Two of 'em got inside my tender little mouth and had their way. They each picked a cheek and gave it to me real good. Ouch! I still get the heebie jeebies around bumbler beebies.

-- JT


TOO MANY QUEENS FOR A SINGLE SIZE NEST

MOBILE -- To the bafflement of insect experts, gigantic yellow jacket nests have started turning up in old barns, unoccupied houses, cars and underground cavities across the southern two-thirds of Alabama.

At one site in Barbour County, the nest was as large as a Volkswagen Beetle.

The largest nest filled the interior of a weathered 1955 Chevrolet parked in a rural Elmore County barn. That nest was about the size of a tire in the rear floor seven weeks ago, but quickly spread to fill the entire vehicle. Four satellite nests around it have gotten into the eaves of the barn. .
"I had to sneak down there at dark and get my tractor out of the barn. It's been a disruption."

In previous years, a yellow jacket nest was no larger than a basketball.

A nest near Pineapple, measuring about 5 feet by 4 feet, was coming out of the ground on a roadside. A southwest Pike County house in Goshen had a giant nest spreading into its roof.

The "super colonies" appear to have many queens.

The nest usually dies out each year. All that overwinters is the future queen. There's no way a nest with a single queen could get that big in a growing season. But in a multiple-queen colony There must be space where queens can't get at each other.

-- submitted by skypilot R.R.


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