A few leaves

My neighbor found a hornet nest the other day and we decided to deal with it Saturday morning when the temps were scheduled to be in the low 40’s. These hornets build their nests on the ground in jungle areas so the only way you can spot them is to observe the traffic pattern of the hornets. When we first moved here and were clearing the jungle, we found 4 such nests and dealt with them appropriately. This type of hornet is really aggressive and if you stumble onto a nest, you can be in real trouble. The cold weather makes them inactive so the trick is to identify the nest opening and then stay clear of the area until a cold, cold morning. On attack day, you get a 10’+ piece of PVC pipe, a funnel, and a couple gallons of gasoline. One member of the attack team gets in range and plunges the pipe into the entrance while the second member quickly pours the gas into the far end of the pipe. If you are accurate with the thrust and quick at pouring the gas, no problem. We hit it perfectly. Literally thousands of bees flew out from the nest but hovered within a foot or so of the body of the nest and basically dropped over quickly. I guess the fumes from the gasoline do them in. It’s hard to gauge the exact size of the nest since it’s underground but it’s possible that we’ll have to repeat the process a couple of times if more entrances and chambers than we’ve found do exist.

We have a new neighbor living in the mother-in-law cottage on George’s property. Rick moved out about a year ago and it’s been vacant ever since but they rented it to a young fellow they know from their church. Harley is about 20, a college student, and has his own lawn service company. He’s a polite young man, engaged to be married in June, and a total ball of energy. Reminds me a lot of Joey at that age – perpetual motion, eats like a horse with not an ounce of fat anywhere. If the sun’s up, he’s up and working. George and I get tired just watching him. The back yard of the property is dirt covered by oak leaves and pine needles. Just what you’d expect from a place in the woods. Harley isn’t happy with the “clutter” and decided to rake it all up and lay down winter rye seed for grass. He asked if it was ok to dump the leaves in the burn pile, which has been on fire, more or less, constantly for the two weeks he’s been here. I suggested that instead of burning them, he just bring them down by the garden and I’d chop them up in my leaf mulcher. I had no idea how many leaves that would involve. Check out the pictures. I started working on them Friday afternoon and got in a solid 3 hours. Then Saturday morning, after the bee business, got back to the leaves for 4 more hours. When he finally runs out of brush to burn, I’ll have a ton of wood ash to mix into the compost as well. I have a feeling that I’ll be in compost overload mode now for as long as he’s living next door. I’m going to have to learn to say, no I don’t need any more, just burn it. George and I work together on most projects at a 70+ year old pace so it’s hard to integrate Harley in at about 5 x our best effort but every once in a while we come up with a job that takes both of us and then some. He’ll be the “and then some” guy.

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