Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mother Nature and the Mansion

Mother Nature is around us so much, that sometimes we take it for granted.  Sure, this year it rained a ton this spring and disrupted outdoor work, but the flowers loved it.  Crocus came first, then daffodils brighten the yard.  Normal enough, but then the honey bees moved into the window lintels again.  We have caulked, used expanding foam, and even provided two bee hives courtesy of a nice keeper named Clayton Armstrong from near Paris (MO).  He has been more than helpful and very informative.  Alas, the bees have ignored the hives and multiplied in the  windows.  Clayton even used his best phernom attractant to no avail.  It appears they are able to eat through the caulk to get back to their stored honey in the lentils.  The cast metal lentels are hollow, so they creat a storage area that they like.  Sometimes, when the weather is in the 90's, the bees move outside the lentil to cool off and the swarm can be seen in a cluster fanning their wings to creat a cooling breeze.  We like them, but for over 60 years the bees have been making honey in the house and it has even seeped into the wallpaper on occasion.  While steaming off the wallpaper in the receiving room, the oder of the ancient honey was evident.  Previous owners from the 50's and 60's had warned me of the bee's  persistance.

The next outdoor adventure started when I was looking out a second story window.  A large oak tree on the south side of the house seemed to have light, tan colored spots on it.  Upon finishing my chore, I went down to take a look.  Cicadas, were making the trip up the tree.  They would climb in their crusty body armor until it stiffened, then with a great push, they split the back of the armor and begin to climb out.  It was interesting to see the cream colored insect arch backward out of the shell.  The wide set red eyes give me the creaps, but the internet says that they do not bite.  Still, they look like they could!  While sending a text and photo to my daughter in Texas, one of the cicadas landed on my hand and the text message finished up %btze.  The next day one had unknowingly landed on my back.  Since their instinct is to climb, this one reached my neck later (while I was in the house).  It had to be funny watching me jump and try to brush off my attacker.   The trees were full of the climbers and the ground full of pencil sized holes.  Fortunetly, I hear that it will be 13 years before the event recurs.  Unfortunately, I probably cannot remember anything for 13 more years.

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