My home has seen its share of guests this fall – some welcome, some not.
The unwelcome ones are made up mostly of insects and bugs, with some birds, reptiles and small mammals to round out my dance card. They all wanted in; some actually made it.
The first indication the house was being set up for invasion was a bunch of tiny ants on the sidewalk. There looked to be several thousand of them crawling in fast-forward motion over the top of each other. I was so impressed that I had to share the experience with my wife, Rhonda. I wasn’t sure she would think the ants were as cool as I did, but I knew she would find them interesting.
“Ick. Any closer to the house and I would have you get rid of them,” she said.
Asian beetles (invaders from the East) and Box Elder bugs are hardly news anymore – still annoying, however. Birds fly into windows ever since Hitchcock introduced the idea. And what house hasn’t entertained a country or city mouse? More noteworthy is the green tree frog, straight from the pages of National Geographic. Once or twice a year I play a game of catching a leaping one that came in on a plant when it was moved to its winter home. Being a fan of E.B. White, I will tolerate a spider I find in the barn – but not the house; Charlotte’ s relatives stay outside and Stuart’s little cousins best find accommodations elsewhere.
The wasps have been the most challenging. They mistakenly chose to build a nest in a small crevice created by the second and third edition to the farm house. I sealed that hole and several more, but no matter how many small holes I seal up, no matter how much I hit them with spray from 2-20 feet, they keep coming back and they find their way into the house. So, now instead of hitting them with chemicals I make it more sporting. I outfit myself with high top shoes, long socks, thick canvas pants, a hooded sweatshirt and heavy gloves. I climb through the window onto the roof and engage them in battle. The gloves do not come off, however.
There is a wasp nest the size of a basketball up in the North corner of the barn loft. I plan on attacking that on a bitterly cold Saturday in January. I was sweeping the loft a couple weeks ago for a party when I spotted it. I knew if I knocked it down we may have to cancel the barn dance, but I considered it. What better way to get people moving than to have them run in terror from wasps.
Although I didn’t invite everyone I should have, and everyone who came to the party was not invited by me, but everyone who came was welcome – we even had a sign that said so. When you have a gathering with the band, No Stone Unturned, you can easily lose control of the guest list. One person I didn’t recognize was my sister’s daughter’s husband’s sister’s boyfriend. Although I didn’t catch his name he seemed very nice, at least I think that was him. Anyone who sticks around to listen to me play the banjo can’t be all bad.
Sometime after everything quieted down. But I found it hard to sleep – in my head I kept hearing The Animals, Beatles, Byrds, Crickets and Eagles.