We do Not “heart” yellow jackets

Another Sunday has plopped into our laps, so time for more mind wandering blatherings from Zen.

Ma and the yellow Jacket

Last week, Ma got bit and or stung by a yellow jacket on the arm, and things went badly.

The weather in our portion of the North West is nothing but dry and hot. Winds have been a blowin’ for weeks on end. This does NOT help when it comes to yellow jackets and wasps.

The hummingbird feeders attract these thangs like crazy…and the feeders are along the porch area for the most part, though we also have them in other areas. The favorite for both bugs and hummers is our largest, by the door.

Having four feeders by the porch area means the yellow jackets hang around more there than most other places that we are moving through in this weather. I finally had to pull the large feeder…. and use a wasp trap that could hold fluid to put sugar water in..so far it works pretty well. The initial take was incredible. The trap was filled in a few hours, knocking down the bulk of the little crap heads, but there are still plenty out there.

I have looked for the nest, but haven’t been able to find it…Beings they go to ground as often as not up here makes it a bit of a task. Although I have mown down the grasses, before the ban, the nasty weeds don’t need water and have covered everywhere, obscuring most of the ground. With thousands of acres around us plus several groves for any hanging nests, it is close to impossible so far.

Ma barely walked outside to go sit on her swing when I saw her out of my window, jump up, crying out and heading, quickly, to the door. I figured I knew what had happened and ran, as well, but to the bathroom to grab the seasoning salt, which normally works very well for me.

I met Ma in the kitchen and we rubbed some paste in for her…. The swelling started, and moved fast. The salt hadn’t worked. We dug around until we found some Benadryl … Both pills and cream. We put cream on the area, and suddenly there were blisters.. Well, I have gotten blisters from the stings as well. It wasn’t until we did it again and new blisters formed immediately that I got worried.

Still being the weekend, we had to wait until Monday to be able to contact Ma’s doc. Appointment made for that day, we got things together and headed to town shortly there after.

During the mean time, Ma’s arm just kept getting worse…. It didn’t LOOK like.. her skin WAS melting. More blisters were forming as well as bursting in an ever increasing circular pattern and her arm looked like she had been in a fire. The swelling had more than doubled, not just in circumference, but also all the way up into her shoulder and down to her fingers, making it all rock hard with her wrist bigger around than her bicep normally is. Fingers splayed like so many over stuffed sausages, casings ready to burst. She could not fully lower her arm at this point due to swelling of arm , armpit and shoulder.

We finally got her in, and sure enough, the doc said the same thing and began treatments from the burn ward . We were in Hooterville for the doc, our pharmacy is in Gotham, completely different town, county and opposite direction.. and we were running out of time. Although the doc called the items in, I know better than to trust the pharmacy to simply get on it.. I had Ma call as we flew down the freeway… The work the doctor had done was already starting to take effect, but that would only last so long. Sure enough, the pharmacy hadn’t done anything yet and gave us an hour to due time…Well, as it is a decent drive to begin with, and I needed to go shopping anyway.. two birds, one stone.

By the time the meds were ready, we were there and had picked up what we needed… including First aid stuff.. we had pretty much run out of that as well… Usually when I get hurt, it is a run to a hospital stupid thing and Ma scares most accidental crap away with just a look.

Meds grabbed up, we headed home and by that time, we needed to change dressings and Ma needed to take her meds. Although her arm looked horrible, it didn’t look too much worse. As the days have gone along, her wounds have stopped growing, for the most part. A lot of swelling has gone down.. Oh it is still a gaping , oozing wound, but at least it isn’t getting worse by the hour.

So… NO ….. No love for yellow jackets here .

CawCaw kids

I have mentioned that we have a mated pair of Ravens along with a fairly large Murder of Crows.

Huginn and Muninn; the Ravens, put up with their little cousins for the most part, though I have seen them change direction when they fly by and see the little cacklers at the water or wood piles.

The crows, however, love the ravens , always coming in when they see them. Pretty sure I have heard

Oh Crap..” from Muninn more than once when she sees them coming in.

I have been doing my best to keep them all fat and happy: wood rats just keep coming in from other areas to replace the ones I evict. Sometimes it’ll take a couple days to have a new bunch come in, but other times, we will get one or two at the north pile and then another or more at the lower piles.

Now that I have had my eye surgeries, the ones I am willing to do, I can see well enough to use a scope. My right eye may not be clear , but through scopes or Binocs, it works well enough…

Having my sight more back than not for the now, I worked on a .22 cal pellet gun that has been sitting for years with a problem that made it completely unusable … Since I did the work, and added a new, very nice scope to it, 40 yards is as easy as point blank, making one shot kills on these vermin a daily thing.

Wood rats are nosey , as well as being omnivores, including cannibals… so when I take out one, any others close by look around or head to the new feast…Yeah, pretty icky, but it feeds my CawCaw kids and coyote kids.

The brush pile still, to this day , holds the crows interest, and sure enough, they always find something.. quite possibly mice, which with thousands of open acres, there are millions of them, getting into everything from shop drawers, vehicle vent systems, eating wires, to getting into our duct work on our still new home.

Any of the critter here that eat mice are welcome to them….. Would be even better if Spike; our rattle snake, would quit trying to make me wet myself when he hunts. We seem to end up in the same areas more often than either of us are happy about.

Each morning, the CawCaw kids fly over the porch area, saying their good-mornings , to which it would be rude ifin I didn’t reply. Huginn and Muninn don’t stray far from the homestead, not much reason to. They have their grove, nest, water here, which is big up here, and a steady food source, with me adding to it both with the rats and the pit. Normally, they have fruit to peck at as well.. but not a thing this year.

The gardens

Well, the weather hasn’t changed so, no, no improvements this year. I am barely keeping things alive in Eden, which is normally the one green spot on the mountain.

The apple gardens are doing ok…not well, but ok… We finally have some peppers showing, including Poblanos and Italian peppers, which are the ones we need most.

The tomato plants are the smallest we have had in years. Even with the wind fence, they are getting battered to pieces along with the heat… Heat alone , they would be fine…Wind dries out and strips leaves far more than any heat wave can. There are tomatoes on them, but as we only can tomato sauce for us for the entire year, it has me a little irritated.

The winds completely destroyed the wind fence for the Zukes and cantaloupe ….which, in turn, destroyed what plant life was left.

Fortunately, out herbs seem to be doing well enough… I haven’t been able to harvest for a while now due to the heat, too hot for drying, they dry too fast and we lose the oils… plus it makes the inside of the house ridiculously hot.

But, they are surviving well…. So, as I am moving ALL of the gardens up to the apple orchard in the spring , we are going to plant more herbs in the old gardens…It is far too much work to set up gardens up here to simply abandon them … and we need WAY more Oregano…

Hummie Garden is the one exception , it is all but over grown this year. I have watered it just a few times and it is staying green.. of course, it was designed that way.. but still, it is always nice to walk through there.. even if I have nothing but dry areas on both ends.

Ma’s Tour de Fleece

Today is the last day of the event. Ma has one last project she is finishing up so I decided to wait until next week to get into all of this… besides.. there’s a prize inside and it’d be nice to have that all taken care of before I post. So.. I am assuming Next weekend we will get into Ma’s projects for the event.


We have had a lot of fires in the North West again this year already. One mega fire to the south, one that was VERY big Just to the south of us, several around us, but so far so good, nothing closer than 5 miles from us.. MUCH better than last year…We still have until September- October yet to go. The fires started nearly two months early this year with the Dry Spring and crazy temps and winds. Knock on Wood folks.. Let’s hope nothing gets any closer and that the fire fighters get a hold on the South Oregon Mega fire soon.. It is already way over 450 square miles of burn so far.

Final Thoughts

Another shorty this week. Oh, I do have lots of new kids stories to share…Always do with the crazy bunch we have around us, but, I think I will hold off for the now. With Ma busy, I don’t like to hold her up to check my work any longer than need be, and I have some projects right here in my office I want to jump on..again.

I finally got in my tools for the lathe , so I will need to get out to the shop and start making a mess… I need to get comfortable with the new equipment, as I haven’t turn any wood for probably 20 years and change and I have bobbins and whirls to try to work up for Ma along with the other tools on my list… I seem to be falling behind in a few directions.

One of my guitars puked on me yesterday, after weeks and weeks……..and weeks of working out bugs. The one part that I can not simply replace has to be the one part that is causing it. It is a modeling guitar so it has Piezo pickups on it…One or more of them is what may be doing this… OR the software… I am afraid it may be the latter, so dead in the water there… Which means, retiring the thing, at least for the now… I DID have it working fine, until yesterday.. and as I didn’t change anything from when it WAS working …… Until I plugged it into the comp…..

Although I am working on my music just for me at this time, I have been enjoying the changes I made over all a week or more ago. I didn’t actually implement the changes until really this week. Having to think completely differently about what I am doing actually opens up my thinking…Does it all sound better? OH HELL NO .. Not yet.. but it will.. Right now it is more swearing softly as I play…and then Loudly in between… It’s my creative mind stretching going wild.

Zen just take the picture already

Ma leapt out of bed scratching her arm. The alarm would have gone off in minutes anyway, so I got up as well. With the days getting shorter, It was still fairly dark out yet.

While the tea pot perked, each Ma and I checked our email.

The alarm beeping for the hot water, Ma and I made our way to the kitchen, then out to the covered porch.

A few of our does were passing through, hitting the water then on to the mineral block. They listen along with myself as Ma talked about what was going on with the Tour de Fleece for the day, and then on to her buddy Jen and what video she was re-watching as well as anything new and sharable from their emails that might interest me and our does.

About that time, in come the little hummers, taking time to first chew me out for their big feeder being missing.. Each and every single one from Hummie to Lass all the way to the brand spankin’ new grand babies all flew to where it should be, complained, flew in my face complaining, then drawing my attention to the spot.. complaining.. then back in my face one again.. repeatedly .. Explaining about the yellow jackets did little good.. I finally broke down, walked in to the Morning Room, grabbed the feeder and told them it was only until the bugs came out. Once the feeder was out… they ignored it…Poop heads…

Ma was still talking about knitting and spinning, our does cradling their heads on their hooves, leaning against the deck, listening… nodding in all the right places…. oohing and aweing where needed and grinning up at me as I sat back down to listen as well. The conversation, of course, rolled on to the individual ewes that Ma had gotten fleece from and the special projects she was planning for them, as they are moving to new pastures as Jen made room for the next generation beings lambing is done, tags on the new babies and more. All but one of the ewes has been sold and or up for sale making the projects that much more important and special to Ma. So simple pair of socks for these girls.

Our girls finally needing to move along, rose up to head out, waving Bye to Ma as they leap the fence.

The big horde of hummers in now, the porch , deck and feeders along with any and all air space in between and beyond covered in aerobatics, hummingbirds chasing each other, only to turn around and BE chased .. The feeder on the other side left for later while they know we are out there to play with.

I top the pond for our kids while hummers flew around my head, getting as close as they possibly can. Wings flicking my ears and tousling what hair I have left as they play around me, using me as BASE.

Pond ready for the day, I sat back down in my chair while Ma laughs with Lass about the forums. The two whispering and giggling as I grin at them.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement .. Sure enough , here comes Teary, trotting along Limpy’s hunting trails.

” Teary”, by far the smallest of our coyotes up here, is also the most refined looking. Looking nothing at all like Dennis or even Rhey. I call to him , he turns and waves.

Jumping up , I grab the camera to get a shot of him. I have trouble trying to get focused on him moving through the brush.

With a huff, Teary stood still, turn to me.

Da.. Just wait a moment.” Teary took a few more steps forward, looked around himself, took his fore paws, making a little window to look through towards me. A few moves later and he turn to give me ” his best side.”

I fumbled with the camera, getting my settings, all the while I could hear him mumbling about

Gonna be late. Take the picture already Da. Take it! Take it! Take it.” While his ears started to pin back in frustration at waiting on me.

I snapped a few shots and sat back down. Teary looked to me grinning.

Finally! Now.. I would like to put in my lunch order, Please and Thank you.”

I laughed. “ Sure Teary, ifin I can.”

Great.. Ok.. I would like Two orders of wood rat Tartare. A side of mouse kabobs.. for two.. and chicken skins.. poached..Thank you…Oh and possibly some pork bones, you know, for garnish. I would like that To Go..

A wee bito peckish are we?

You too? Yeah, I’m a growin boy Don’t ya know…..”

I nodded, “ You are definitely our smallest.. yup. I’ll see what I can do. Not sure I have everything on the shelves, but , I’ll work on it.”

Thanks Da.. Well, gotta go. Limpy says Hurry Hurry. Get in, check things out and get back home. We have new babies to feed, of course and I am on the Homestead shopping network this year.”

Heh.. Where’s everyone else?”

Oh, you know Mom and Limpy..With the new kids and Limpy’s hip gives him troubles so he likes to hunt close to the den. Rhey is hanging with Wraith again…I think she will probably end up moving to his pack soon…She llllloooooovvvvveeeeeessss him. Dennis.. well.. He is out hunting mice….for a change..”

I laughed. “ I am sure he is.. Bit of an obsession for him.. But so long as he enjoys it.. we all get obsessed about something in our lives. So long as what we do is good for us, it isn’t a bad thing.. even if everyone thinks we are a little daft for doing it. It makes us who we are. It is a whole lot better than sitting whining about things or being horrible to people simply because we feel we are OWED something for no good reason.. The world is full of both of those types anymore….I swear, I think someone filled all of the water supplies with Stupid Juice..”

Teary nodded as he listen to me. ” That’s true enough…. Though, I think Dennis may have peed in their water supplies.. That would explain a lot.”

I laughed, shaking my head.” Well.. If citiots start hunting mice for fun and money, then I will agree with you on that.. I think Dennis has far more sense than far too many of those whiny nasty people out there now. They were simply looking for something to go apeshit about while they were locked in their homes and the News and commercials gave them exactly that. I find it interesting that in a single breath, they tell us how badly they are treated and proceed to be horrible to the people trying to help them…IQs aren’t what they use to be”

Teary watched me for a moment, then nodded… “ Yeah.. Dennis would never be horrible like that…Maybe he pooed in their water, sounds like they are simply full of shh..”

Annnyway.. you said Limpy was waiting on you?”

Oh Crap! Ok Gotta go! Byyye!” Teary called over his shoulder as he began to trot towards the den.

Lass, buzzing at my ear, stuck her tongue in it.

YIKES! What the hell Lass?”

The bugs are out Da.. Move the feeder before you guys or us gets stung.”

Really? You couldn’t have just Ahemmed me or something?”

Lass giggled. flying to her fence to sit and watch as I swatted at hornets and yellow jackets.

Get off! Get off! Get Off! You nasty little jerks!”

IN multiple tiny voices, synced together” We are Borg” SPLAT!

I grin as I wiped bug juice off my swatter. “ Hive collective my ass..” I grab the feeder and hauled it inside, shaking my head.

A lone yellow jacket, sat on the bush as he watched me swat his crew, mumbling as he withdrew into the branches

Just another friggin day on Zen Mountain

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