Our son JJ stopped by yesterday to pick up something I had printed off for him. He doesn’t have a printer of his own yet. We rarely see him, but that’s ok. He is busy with work and his girlfriend, establishing a life of his own. And, to be honest, although many people talk about how terrible the Empty Nest is, EJ and I are enjoying our quiet, peaceful life together. We enjoy each other and share most of the same interests. It’s nice.
JJ gave his two-weeks’ notice at the Mall, and will be beginning a new job in early August. He had interviewed with this new security company a few weeks ago, but when they told him he’d only get something like 27 hours a week, he politely declined. He can’t pay his bills on such few hours. A couple days ago, the company called him back and said they really want to hire him, and they would give him the hours he needed. They provide security for a number of companies and JJ will be working at two different locations–basically it’s kind of like having two part-time jobs.
While JJ was at our house, I asked him if he was still interested in taking one or more of our bikes. We had bought them a number of years ago–while we still lived downstate–but we almost never rode them. I tended to walk Danny, our beloved dog who died last November, and EJ worked so many hours that he never had time to ride bikes. The bikes were leaning side-by-side against the garage. When I moved the first one out of the way, a cloud of angry bees rose into the air. “JJ! Bees!” I yelled as we both ran. With so many bees, it was impossible to get near the bikes so JJ decided to look at them next time.
After the bees had calmed down a bit, I went back outside and noticed that there was a large hive on the front sprocket of the bike that I had dropped when I ran. I wouldn’t be able to move the other bikes with the hive so close so I got a garden rake from the garage and hooked it on the bike and pulled it a few feet, then ran as angry bees flew out of the hike. I waited until they calmed down again and then hooked the rake on the bike again and moved it another few feet, then ran. I did this several times until I had moved the bike an adequate distance from the others. I figured I had irritated the bees enough for one day so I left them alone until this morning. I saw only a couple bees calmly flying in and out of the hive so I was able to move the others far enough away that JJ will be able to look at them with no problem. If he decides not to take them, we will donate them to Goodwill.
This afternoon I decided to try to ID the bees that on built their hive on the bike. I took a photo of one of the bees sitting on the hive and then kept it for reference while I searched the Internet. No matter how many times I try to learn the difference between bees, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets, I always get them muddled–especially hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets. I always just call them all “bees” for simplicity sake. They are all from the same classification family, although different branches. I believe that the biker bees are yellow jackets, which are quick to defend their homes, can sting multiple times, and will chase a threat quite a distance before giving up. I think JJ and I–especially me–was very fortunate to have escaped unscathed. I told EJ that we might need to wage war on the yellow jackets because they are so close to the house. I’m worried one of the cats will get hurt. Stay tuned….
This morning after I had done my chores, said goodbye to EJ, eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, and watered the veggie and flower gardens, I took a colander out to the garden and picked more green beans. I felt very contented and peaceful as I hunted in the cool morning for beans that were big enough to pick. I thought that having a garden is a bit like treasure hunting–searching the plants for ripe vegetables and feeling thrilled when I find one. Later I washed the beans and then blanched them and put them in the freezer.
My old food dehydrators, which died last year, tended to really heat up the house so I didn’t want to run the new one while it was so hellishly hot outside. But yesterday was a wonderfully cool day so I thought I would try out the new dehydrator. I took the colander and a pair of scissors out to the garden and snipped some Apple Mint. When the colander was full, I brought it inside, washed the mint, picked the leaves off the stems, laid them on the trays, and inserted the tries into the dehydrator. I’ve never had a dehydrator with temperature and timer controls, so I had to read the directions. It was easy. I pushed the right buttons. The dehydrator hummed very softly. I could hardly hear it. It did not heat up the house at all–at least, not so I could notice. Awesome!
After the Apple Mint was dried, I put it in a glass canning jar. This afternoon I picked some Chocolate Mint to dry. Now that I know that the dehydrator doesn’t heat up the house too much, I will be busy drying herbs–oregano, thyme, basil, sage, and others. I love using herbs fresh from the garden in the summer and drying them to use in the winter.
In the afternoon when I went out to gather duck and chicken eggs, which is also like treasure hunting, I glanced at the zucchini plants and caught a glimpse of dark green. Could it be? I moved aside the leaves and found not one but TWO zucchini! Awesome!
Besides trying to ID the biker bees and working in my garden, I also washed laundry and hung the clothes out on the line to dry. And, of course, I walked Hannah Joy down the driveway several times. The spotted knapweed are in bloom and the fields are a haze of purple. It is actually more vibrant than shows up in the photo below. I have a lovely walk along the driveway.