Thursday, June 27, 2013

To Bee or Not to Bee

The real question is, what kind of bee?

There is always some new form of wildlife free loading on or in or under my house.  Recently I was watching the bees build their nest under my eave.  Quite fascinating from inside the window.  All the while I thought they were the honey bees from last year - who built under the house and came and went without much notice.
I didn't realize these were yellow jackets until they had built a nest the size of a space ship and surely outnumbered New York in population.

I did a couple of quick videos to document the construction, which looked something like the work of the Winchester House in California - and I am sure they heard the same voice "keep building!".


Here I filmed them from the outside of the house to show the entrance.

In the next clip I filmed it from inside the house looking out the window.


It is a difficult call to make for a person who doesn't even kill spiders.  I believe all things are from one energy - one source of life.  I'm a bit of a Pantheist, or Animist, or some combination of the two.  

So far I have managed to coexist with all of the wondrous creatures here, whether it be squirrels running across the roof, or a family of raccoons under the house.
Any indoor intruders are captured and returned to nature, unharmed.

But the truth of it was, these bees had to go.  I had visions of them swallowing up the house and taking me with them, in some form of a black hole void made of gray paper!  I can see the Inquirer headlines now;  "New Pioneer swallowed by bee hive" lends a whole new twist to the phrase of "leave no trace"!!

I did my usual internet search and sent out a few SOS emails to friends for help or advice.  Fortunately my friend Harry, a retired park ranger, knew just what to do.  First he inspected the crime scene and told me of his return mission that night.  He would sneak up on them in the dark and spray them with the deadly gas.

Oddly, I had no thoughts or feeling of remorse as I went to sleep that evening, having every confidence in the return of Harry 007.  I figured if the mission failed, his screams from stinging bees would surely wake me. 

In the morning there was a deafening silence at the scene of the holocaust.  I did feel a little guilty, but mostly relieved that no humans were harmed.
There were four yellow jackets left, surveying the area, and Harry thinks they were out partying when the invasion took place.  

I waited a few days and could see those last four had new recruits and were already rebuilding the nest.  I was pretty sure I could handle it and sprayed the remaining nest the following morning about 5 am - even before my coffee.  Later, as instructed, I hosed the rest of it down. 

So it was me who put the final nail in the coffin and I just don't know if I still deserve the title of a New Pioneer.  Surely there are lost brownie points for this one.  But honestly, I just cannot see the benefit of yellow jackets on the house.  Perhaps their relatives can rebuild out in the woods.

Back to square one, New Pioneer 101.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice 2013

While most folks here in the northern hemisphere are looking forward to the beginning of summer as if it were a new season full of new beginnings - those of us who work and live with nature see it as a time of waning.  The plant growth slows and stabilizes, as do we.


Our energy has peaked and stops for reflection.  Observing our labors of Spring and taking a deep sigh of fulfilled accomplishment.  




I have been finishing up projects and starting others that have been on the list far too long.  I freshened up the flower beds and burned all the brush from the hill clearing.



I have been getting the firewood a cord at a time this year which makes it so much easier to get stacked and dry.


I've trained the clematis to grow up the pear tree this year and it seems to really enjoy the company!


I've got a major project in the works for the last bit of clean up and paint on the northwest side of the back of the house.  Long neglected because it is out of sight - mine too.  But it is time to finish up.  A coat of paint and a few repairs.  However today I encountered two bees nests near the area, so may have to return in the Fall.

As New Pioneers we spend this time looking to fall and winter needs, while still being able to stay present in the season and enjoy the warmth of summer - as we know all too soon it turns to cold.


What projects have you been working on?