Yellow Jackets and Spiders

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[ The friendly spider ]

September 7 – This blog is primarily about a recent weekend. I started out the day doing some weed-eating in the back yard, and in the process disturbed a large spider in the grass. Quickly I rounded up a container and got the spider into it and took it up to the house for Chris to take pictures of. She was busy at the time, so spider had to wait.

She and I went back to our pond to do some mowing and weed-eating, as this had not been done for a long time. She used the push mower and I used the weed-eater. The grass and weeds were large and heavy and the weed-eater had to struggle in places to do its cutting.

As I was working I became aware of Chris behind me, in a real panic and jumping around not knowing what to do or what was happening. I soon realized that she had been attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets, whose burrow in the ground she had run the mower across. I sure felt sorry for her but couldn’t do much except go for the can of gasoline near by and take it over to where the abandoned mower stood. A cluster of angry yellow jackets on the ground indicated where the hole was, and I poured some gasoline over wasps and hole and that calmed things down considerably. A yellow jacket landed on one of my fingers but I knocked it off before it could sting and it never returned. Eventually we returned to what we had been doing. The pain of those stings lasted for three days!

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[ Dave working on the pond bank ]

Later, Chris motioned to me to look behind me and there stood our son David, who had come out to surprise us and see what he could do to help. He lives to our west over in Kansas, about an hour’s drive away. Very quickly he usurped the lawn mower and got to work mowing the pond banks, vigorously and speedily, making me wish I had that ability.

After watching him for a while, Chris went off and got our big clippers and started cutting back a large cluster of vines and weeds on the other side of the pond. David just kept mowing and mowing. He used up the gas in the mower tank and went up to the barn to get more gas, and did more mowing until finally I suggested that he stop and we go up to the house and get a drink. He did quit and just stood there bent over, recovering from his unaccustomed exertion.

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[ The balky satellite dish ]

Chris came up with us and we rested for a while, then went into the house so Dave could help his dear mother with some computer problems she was having. Then Dave and I went out into the yard to see if we could restore the channels missing from our big satellite dish, but no luck. When, after a lot of twisting and tilting there was no sign of the missing channels, we gave up and went back in.

We finally got around to photographing that big spider. I poured it out onto my hand but it didn’t stay there and instead ran up my arm and onto my shoulder and around to the back of my neck. And that’s where the photography had to take place. No fear of being bitten, for spiders don’t bite unless they are held and restrained. I think that it was a female spider, of the variety that carries its newly hatched babies around on its abdomen for a few days. After a while the spider jumped down and sped away into the garage, looking large and formidable as it ran.

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[ Some of the brass collection ]

Finally, Dave and I went downstairs to look over some boxes of brass items I had collected over the years, and had invited Dave to look over them and see if there was anything he wanted and could use. There were six boxes of things, so he had to do a lot of moving and examining. He did find a number of items, that he expected mostly to use in an upcoming church cantata in which he was the narrator and a Jewish rabbi. Then he had to pack up and head for home, with much appreciation from his parents for all his help. – DALE

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