The Biker Bees

Hannah Joy was excited to see JJ yesterday.

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.

The bee hive on the bike

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.

The biker gang, the Yellow Jackets.

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….

Searching for beans

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 Magic Mills Food Dehydrator

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!

Preparing Chocolate Mint for dehydrating.

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.

 

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23 Comments on “The Biker Bees

  1. That’s pretty awesome that big hive on the sprocket of the bike – thankfully no one got stung! Congratulations on all your “crops” starting to come in … Summer’s rewards (something good to show for with all the heat).

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    • I’m very glad I didn’t get stung too. Yikes!
      Gardens are so rewarding. 🙂
      Do you have a garden this year, Linda? I can’t remember….

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      • I did have a flower garden TJ, but not a vegetable garden. I lost most of my garden during the first Polar Vortex and was so exasperated that I did not replant it. I do still have roses in the backyard though – the shrub roses and they are hardy and blooming like crazy!

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      • So sorry about the loss of your veggie garden, but I’m glad you could at least have a flower garden–and roses!

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      • TJ – Since I started walking in 2011, now in the front and side yards I have silk flowers … they are very realistic-looking flowers, and I potted them into the baskets and pots I used to use for real flowers (annuals). I have to replace them next year as they are getting faded looking, but only if you are up close. I bought rocks and marbles and filled the netting bags that you get when you buy oranges or grapefruits, and tied those bags shut with pipe cleaners, then attached the pipe cleaners to the artificial flowers so that a strong wind does not carry them away. It works well and now I have only the roses around the yard and two hydrangea bushes plus the regular bushes. All my perennials were lost during the back-to-back Polar Vortexes and I lost my three butterfly bushes as well. I never sit out in the backyard so I didn’t replace them. I used to be so proud of my garden in the backyard and the landscaping in front and side yards but I was upset after losing everything to the weather, so I lost my enthusiasm for it. (Plus the neighbor with his rats and found rats in my backyard … so quit feeding the birds and squirrels in 2008 … made it less of a paradise as well).

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      • It sounds as if you came up with a creative alternative but I’m so sorry you lost your garden! I can imagine how disheartening in would be to lose it.

        We had a small lot in a small village downstate. I turned it all into garden. Most of our yard was shady so I had a shade garden with a path winding through it. EJ had a small veggie garden in the somewhat sunny back yard and I had an herb garden. It was nice. But the last few years felt exceptionally humid and the mosquitoes came out in swarms so it wasn’t pleasant to work in.

        I love our property here in the North because it’s sunnier. I have a very small flower garden at the front of the house which doesn’t take much effort to keep weed-free while most of the property is forest or fields of wildflowers, which doesn’t take any care at all. I devote most of my energies to the raised garden beds of veggies and herbs in the back yard. AND there are almost NO MOSQUITOES to torment me. It’s a much better situation and I’m totally enjoying it.

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      • The mosquitoes have been so bad this year and this rainy Spring and early Summer we had contributed to more mosquitoes than ever. Next door, on either side, there are old flowerpots and other yard items collecting water and left there so more mosquitoes than normal.

        I got a Metroparks pass a week or so ago as I found my State parks pass was not good for most parks I intended to visit, but it has been rainy this weekend … I hope to take the car for a quick spin this morning and go to Council Point Park before the rain arrives at 9:00 a.m. Last weekend, Saturday I had a hair highlights appointment (2 hours) and some errands and it was too hot to go out in the afternoon for a walk. I also had three separate “house issues” including having Flame Furnace come to put a new part on my furnace Friday and he bumped against the hot water tank and somehow the pilot light went off. I didn’t notice it until Saturday afternoon when I came home and the water was ice cold by then. Saturday morning I only washed my face and brushed my teeth so didn’t notice it was just lukewarm then. I went for an early walk Sunday to Elizabeth Park then had to call a plumber to come in and re-light the pilot light (never happened before and didn’t know if it was some other issue).

        I have a few pictures to use for posts and was going to put them together in one post, but may have to use them separately … not sure, until I can get out and get more pictures. The weather has been terrible the entire year and I am happy we are going to have a mild Winter.

        As to the flowers, it does look okay and easier, and I used to spend hours deadheading, clipping and watering the annuals as well as the perennials/roses, and will need to have new silk flowers next year I think, and should do it over the Winter as I will have to get all new supplies.

        I do have some creative touches that I add to the side garden. I have four Precious Moments statues of girls and boys in the garden and some green garden “Wellies” with flowers planted in them plus a small wheelbarrow filled with silk flowers, so it looks nice, but I didn’t put them out this year as people are stealing yard ornaments … it has been bad as to Christmas and Halloween decorations as well. So I left it all in the garage this Summer. When I had the butterfly gardens and the flower gardens and fed the birds and squirrels and had the four birdbaths, it looked like a mini paradise out there … I hate that it no longer looks like that now, but I do admit that was eight years ago, and I was younger, and have decided to focus my energies on walking. I do hope to improve it again somewhat when I am retired and will have more time to put effort into it. Also TJ … my neighbor on one side put up an 8-foot tall white vinyl fence. My yard is small and I go out into the backyard and all I see is this fence behind the row of rosebushes … it makes it look like a box back there. I could cry when I think what it once looked like. My mom would tell me not to spend so much time back there as we rarely, if ever, went and sat outside once we got the rats from the guy behind with his dog out 24/77/365 and he never cleaned up after him and fed it table scraps. So, we quit sitting outside … scared to see a rat, which we still had, despite getting a pest control service.

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      • I’m so sorry, Linda. That sounds really awful. I would be scared of rats too. And it seemed as if the mosquitoes grew worse and worse every year!!! I’m glad you have nearby parks to walk in.

        I have lived all my life in small towns. I told EJ that I never want to live in a town again because the neighbors are so close and what they do really affects others. We had neighbors to the one side downstate who practically lived in their side yard facing us and I hated the lack of privacy that gave me. I have such a great need of space and privacy and now the thought of living in a town now gives me a feeling of claustrophobia. I hated that surrounding houses blocked my view of the horizon and that city lights hid the stars. I love that we have forest surrounding us now and can’t see our neighbors. EJ calls our property a “delicious secret.” I told him that I was totally meant to live here.

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      • You are so lucky to have this place for yourselves. I don’t like that the houses are so close here and I could almost reach out the window and knock on my neighbor’s bedroom window. If she coughs in the Summer, I can hear it. I would love to live in a small town. This City life and the crime getting worse every year does not sit well with me. If only I was not scared of spiders and mice and things that are in the country. I just got a new follower and she had followed me yesterday with a blog name that had no new posts since 2014. So I made a comment on her “About” post and she gave me her new blog post today. She was writing about a mouse in the chicken coop. I gather she might be from the UK from the spelling of some things … I commented that I had some fellow bloggers who had chickens and ducks … looks like she writes about her ducks sometimes. This was the mouse post – she was fearless once she knew it was a mouse. I would run as far as my legs could take me. LOL! (I’m a City girl, but Country Girl wannabe!)
        https://cosycottageandthequestforthegoodlife.wordpress.com/

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      • I don’t like mice, but we had them in our house downstate sometimes. The cats went after them, with varying success. Some cats are better hunters than others.

        I don’t like spiders or ticks (as you know) but I would rather deal with them than life in town. I figure that EVERY Enchanted Forest has giant spiders. They are less scary than Orcs in the city. LOL.

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      • That’s true TJ – I can live without neighbors, believe me, and if forced to deal with spiders and creepy crawlies, I’d have to put on my big girl panties and deal with them I guess. You can’t have it all. LOL.

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      • Yes, I liked it as well … I have just followed her and her “About” page seems a lot like what you enjoy and write about.

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      • I was sitting in my chair reading a variety of things on my computer and a spider came down and sat on me. EJ said he saw it. I just felt a slight tickle and freaked. I didn’t even see it. I got out the spider spray and sprayed all around. Yikes!

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      • OMG – what kind? I was talking to my boss on the phone one day and a big brown fat spider crawled across the kitchen table where I work and came over near the phone. I dropped the phone and nearly had a heart attack . All the time, my boss Robb was on the other end of the phone and all he could hear was me screaming. 🙂

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      • You screaming on the phone is rather funny, Linda–although having a spider crawl near you is not funny! I totally can relate! I never saw the spider that was on me so I don’t know what it was. I was afraid to ask EJ what it was or how big it was because I didn’t really want to know. The moment I felt a tickle on my arm, I reacted. LOL.

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      • Afterward, my heart still beating and I was sweating from the experience, I could picture my boss on the other end of the phone just rolling his eyes in exasperation. 🙂

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      • I totally understand the heart-beating and sweating fear!

        I used to have a lot of the neighbor kids over when JJ was little. I wanted to teach them not to be afraid of bugs so I would point them out to them and talk about how interesting they were. My whole reputation was ruined the day one of them said a bug was on me. I totally freaked out, did a “Get it off! Get it off!” dance. I looked at them and they were all staring at me with their mouths open in shock. LOL.

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      • I am laughing as I read this – I would be the same way, and here you are trying to teach them not to be afraid. I can picture their shocked faces! 🙂

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    • I really thought so too! But as I tried to identify what they were, I read that yellow jackets like to build hives in the ground or low to the ground while others prefer to build in higher places.

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