Sunday, May 3, 2015

Porch sitting

My sweetie and I are trying to perfect the art of porch sitting. We have three porches attached to our 1875 Victorian home in Navasota, Texas: a downstairs front porch, a back porch, and an upstairs porch. It is the upstairs porch where we sit and have morning coffee that brings us the most pleasure these days.

We count the trucks, cars, SUVs, motorcycles, bicycles  and people on foot to determine which is the most popular form of transportation. Answer: pickup trucks are three times more popular than anything else on the street, and Ford 150s are the most favored although Ram and Tacoma are gaining popularity.

We also pay attention to who's going to work, taking their kids to school, making a run to the grocery store; who's out for exercise and who's out to play. In a small town everyone is supposed to know everyone else's business, so we're just trying to keep up.

But there's more to do than counting vehicles and people watching. Yesterday, for example, we noticed the wasps are coming back. Last summer we had a slew of wasps that built nests under our eaves and between the windowpanes and screens. I'm not kidding--we easily had a dozen nests connected to our 2-story house. I really didn't want to see another dozen replace the ones that winter destroyed.

My introduction to wasps occurred when I was around five years old. My two brothers and I discovered a hive of hornets under the roof of a neighbor's porch. My older brother Stone charged in and poked the nest with a stick. In those days, I'd follow my older brother anywhere, so I ran up the porch steps as he retreated. The hornets flew at me and despite my trying to bat them away, I got stung on my neck. My younger brother Mark watched and decided to stay as far away as he could. Is it any surprise he grew up to be the smartest?

My sweetie remembers being stung as well when he was climbing a tree and upset a nest of yellow jackets. He was stung on his head, his back, and his arms before he flung himself from the branches and ran like the wind to escape those flying warriors.

We talked yesterday about the returning wasps and what we could do to deter them. After much discussion, we decided it might be best that we give them a wide birth.  Wasps, you see, eat those other pesky insects, like spiders. I'd rather put up with a few wasps than face a Black Widow spider...  which wasps love to eat as much as I love Blue Bell ice cream. Just saying.