Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paul, Pop and Wasps by Margaret Ullrich, part 6, Weeding

A few weeks ago I mentioned how, while watering, one gets to really see a garden.
Last week I was giving our tomato plants a much needed soaking.
Then I happened to glance at our chokecherry.


Let me tell you about our chokecherry...
When Paul planted it in 1989 it was just a stick.
It's now about as tall as our 2 story house.
In the spring it's a mass of lovely white flowers.
Well, it is for about a week.

Then the flowers are blown off by a huge wind storm.
The annual wind storm is guaranteed.
Same time every year.
After the storm the yard looks like it's covered in snow.

Chokecherries are not meant to be trees.
They sucker like crazy.
Paul has to hack the suckers down every time he mows the grass.
The branches are also prone to nasty black growths that have to be cut off.
The growths happen where the branches rub together.
If you're considering getting a chokecherry for your yard, don't.
Just a friendly word of advice.

Well, the birds enjoy the cherries, and we enjoy the birds.
So our chokecherry stays.


Anyway, last week I glanced at the chokecherry and was surprised to see a lump.
It was the same color as the wood.
I went to check out the new growth on the branch.
It was our fourth wasps' nest in about a dozen years.


In 1999 wasps had created a huge hive right under our bay window.
They had burrowed through to our basement.
They were flying around, getting settled for the winter.
We had to call an exterminator.
The poor guy got stung, but he got rid of them.


In 2002 Paul and I were sipping iced teas and enjoying our yard.  
Then Paul glanced toward the doghouse, frowned and went to take a look.          
There was something round hanging from the ceiling of the doghouse. 
I thought our bichon, BoBo, had hung up a doggie pinata.  

It was a rather large wasps' nest.         
Paul called the exterminator.  
He said Paul could buy a bug bomb and take care of it himself.  

We'd just seen a week's worth of Discovery's Blue Planet.
Maybe Paul had been fired up from images of Nature, red in tooth and claw.  
Or maybe it was a mid-life Hemingway type of thing.  
Anyway, Paul decided he'd tackle the wasps' nest himself.

We called my folks and told them about our wasps.
They regaled us with tales of their own wasp adventures.  
Pop had been stung in the eye as a child.  
Grandma's stung hand had swollen to twice its normal size.  
They wished us luck.  

Okay... forget about skipping out there in shorts and T-shirts.  
Paul prepared to do battle.
Finally... 10:00 p.m.  All good little wasps were in bed.  
Killing time.  
Paul pulled on his sweat pants, winter boots, coat, hat and leather mitts.  
His safety glasses had left some skin exposed.  
I grabbed a half dozen packages of cheesecloth and gift-wrapped Paul's face. 

With the heavy clothes and gauze Paul looked like an Eskimo mummy.  
Bomb in hand, Nanuk the Sweating Mummy stalked the wild wasp.  
Paul sprayed the wasps' lair.  
Twenty four hours later, another corner of Winnipeg's north end was safe for humans.
Thank God we don't live in Wolsely.   


In 2006 I found myself surrounded by wasps whenever I went out to hang laundry.
The detergent didn't smell that good.
Wasps had settled in under our air conditioner, right next to the clothes line.
Paul didn't waste time calling the exterminator.
He just bought a bomb and did the deed.
He also hung a couple of fake wasps' nests in our yard.
Wasps are supposed to politely respect other wasps' territory.
That's what the wasp bomb salesman had said.


Which brings us to the rude wasps who built a nest in our chokecherry in 2012.
Sunday afternoon we took a few pictures of the nest.
Sunday night Paul got dressed and wrapped.
He bombed the bejesus out of the nest.
Tuesday afternoon I was watering the tomatoes.

Just life in the 'burbs.

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