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An Exhilarating Sunday Afternoon August 8, 2010

Posted by Joe in Family, Farm.

Remember Easy Like Sunday Morning from Lionel Richie? Well Sunday mornings may be easy, but this Sunday afternoon was full of adrenaline for me.

I needed to take several items down to the toolshed where we store off-season clothes, camping equipment, and of course some tools. When I got down there, I noticed a couple of wasps flying around near the door.

Generally, I don’t mind all of God’s creatures being around. They’re part of nature. They exist for a reason. In His omnipotence He created them. I don’t pretend to understand why He created some of them, like the horsefly, but I know He had a reason.

So I live and let live for the most part. There’s an exception for me, though. If the animals are causing problems for us, they’ve got to go. For example, I don’t mind chicken snakes, unless they are eating our eggs. In this case though, the wasps were in a very inconvenient place. I didn’t want Benjamin or Rachel to get stung while getting something from the toolshed for me. So the wasps had to go.

I sent Benjamin back up to the house to get the fly swatter. As he walked back up to the house to get it, I began unloading the totes and items from the bed of my truck and taking them into the toolshed. I’d gotten about half of the items into the shed when he returned with a fly swatter and a very old can of Raid. In fact, I believe both the Raid and the flyswatter were purchased when we moved into the house 5 and 1/2 years ago.

I decided to go ahead and take care of the wasps before unloading the rest of the items in the truck. As I approached the door armed with just the flyswatter, I noticed that another wasp came out of a baseball-sized hole in the side of the toolshed. I carefully peaked into the hole. And there, inside the hole, was a whole swarm of bright red wasps busily doing whatever it is that wasps do.

Wow! I immediately retreated, nearly falling over myself, and grabbed the can of Raid that Benjamin had brought for me. Since it was  a very old can, I tested it out before approaching my newfound Sunday afternoon nemesis. I’m glad I did. A fine mist came shooting out of my secret weapon. Well, shooting is not exactly the right word for it. It was more like a mist from can of spray starch. Then I remembered. A couple of years ago, the nozzle of the can somehow broke. I replaced it with the only other nozzle I could find, one from an old can of spray starch. So the can of Raid that boasted of a being able to hit bugs at 25 feet now couldn’t shoot 12 inches.

Undeterred, I approached the hole in the wall, aimed the spray starch nozzle at the home of the little stingers with wings and let it rip. Mist!

And did the wasps come flying out! It seems a fine mist of Raid is very effective at getting a swarm of wasps very agitated. As I turned to run, I nearly knocked over into my 20 month old son, Timothy, who was standing right behind me. A picked him up, holding a can of spray in one hand and a flyswatter in the other and awkwardly ran toward the truck. Benjamin was under the truck.

I ordered Benjamin to take Timothy to the house. He didn’t object.

Then I approached the clearly annoyed wasps again. There’s something very exhilarating about doing battle with a swarm of wasps. Your adrenaline starts pumping was you swat one out of the air, mid-flight. The only thing more electrifying is swatting at one, missing, and then losing sight of it as it flies right by your head. That’ll really start your cardiovascular system to pumping.

In the end, I did battle with the wasps for 20 minutes. I’d get two or three of them, and then have a couple of close calls that sent me running back to the perceived safety of my truck. I’d slowly approach again, score another couple of points and then hurriedly retreat again.

I’m glad Laura didn’t have a video camera on me. I’m sure it wasn’t a pretty sight. Me swinging wildly left and right with a bent flyswatter then high-stepping it out of there with my elbows pumping.

But I’ve got to say it was as fun; fun like going to a haunted house and roller coaster all rolled into one. If you do well, you win. But there’s always the threat of intense pain when one of them gets through your line of defense.

Fortunately, I bested the wasps this day. And I didn’t get stung.

After it was all done I still had to enter the toolshed and finish putting away the remaining items. I was a bit nervous about it. I was still on high alert. But I finished my task without getting stung.

Who says you can’t get a cardiovascular workout while doing farm chores?

What about you? Got any stories bug stories you’d like to share?



1. Beck - August 8, 2010

Back in the old days when I was growing up and we didn’t have all of the toys and gadgets that today’s young ones have, my cousin and I would take fishing poles and know down wasp nests. We discovered that after you make the wasps mad, if you will lie down, the wasps will fly right over you. Took a lot of stings and trial and error for us to learn this handy tidbit. We did prove it sometimes many times a day. Sorry, I didn’t share this info with you before your afternoon exercises.

Saw the neatest sight this morning as I was about to get into the car to go to church. A huge spider (including legs he was about 2 inches long) was weaving a spider web that looked like it had been done with a sewing machine. The web was about 6 inches long and about 3/8 inch wide and it was perfectly zigzagged back and forth. It was amazing. I had to come back in and get my camera to take pictures of it. Amazing what God’s creatures can do – even the ones we don’t like.

2. Joe Webb - August 9, 2010

I remember you telling me about the laying flat on the ground trick. Seems counter intuitive though. Maybe I’ll try it the next time.

3. Beck - August 9, 2010

Let’s hope there isn’t a next time.

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