A Ride in the Park

Snowy Egret Mating Dance

Anne and I bicycled in Forest Park this morning, before the heat settled in for the day. We saw egrets and herons, but this photo is not from today. It is an oldie but a goodie. Still, it is evocative of this season. Our weather has gone from the second coldest April to summer, with almost no real spring in-between, like a switch was flipped from cold to hot.

Anne has been busying herself with both teaching and quilting. Her current sewing project is a beauty. I wish I could say more, but it is all very hush-hush.

MSD is nearly done with our street. I had to go back and fill in more dirt in-between our new curb and the parking strip. We had a gully washer a little while back. It was a real frog-strangler and the dirt that they had placed got all washed away. I threw some grass seed into the mix, with the hope that it can take root before the next storm washes this soil away too.

Downy Woodpecker in a Coconut Tree

My other project is staining the back porch. My Dad stains his decks every year, but I’m nowhere near as diligent. To this end, our porch has become infested with carpenter bees. The bees are a nuisance, but at first their half-inch diameter holes didn’t seem too bad. At least until woodpeckers discovered their nests and attacked the lap siding like a machine gun. I intend to get an exterminator for the bees, but would prefer to wait until I’m done staining. In the meantime, I have to deal with them buzzing around me. I’ve been doing some Internet research about them and have learned a few things.

The bees that like to menace me while I paint are generally the males, which don’t have stingers. The females do have stingers, but are reluctant to use them. Besides the females are generally tunneling inside the wood, while the males buzz about outside. My research has elucidated a few non-pesticide deterrents.

First, the stain acts as a deterrent, the bees prefer untreated wood. Another tactic is a tennis racquet. I’ve already tried it out and scored my first kill. You swat them with the racquet and then step on them, with shoes on. Have you ever been stung by a dead bee? There not hard to hit, but I’ll have to practice my serve, because after I hit them, I frequently can’t find them.

Finally and I can’t wait to try this last one, loud music. The bees don’t like loud noises. I’ve got a boom box ready to go. I think I’ll start with NPR, in deference to the neighbors. Call it Mark’s public radio. But if that doesn’t work, I am prepared to go full head banger on them, if I have to, all the way to eleven!  

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