As always, there’s a lot going on in my yard. I’ve installed a second rain barrel because the first one was lonely.
In an effort to maximize space and continue towards my hopeful triumph in the Groundhog Wars, I purchased two iron baskets at a flea market. The proprietor said that she liked to use burlap to line the baskets instead of the pre-formed coconut shreds. The burlap is doing okay so far, but the ability to fold and tuck it correctly then fill it with dirt outwitted me for quite some time. One false fold, and there will just be a shower of dirt.
Additionally, I did not think through the fact that using the upper fence board makes the top basket taller than me and therefore mostly inaccessible. The screws were such a bitch to put in the fence that I can’t stand the thought of relocating it.
You’re on your own plants! (Don’t hire me to do your small home projects.)
I also repurposed this wine rack to mirror the potato box project that like five people have sent me. The project involved building a framework that becomes tall as the plants grow and you add more dirt, essentially growing potatoes vertically.
I don’t “build things” well so this may be a mound of dirt with a wine rack in the middle of it. My mom said that I’ve simply created a maze for the groundhogs.
Another project on the outs is the compost bin. I cannot say that I have spread gloriously rich compost on anything in the three years since its installation. In fact, its greater purpose has been a potting bench. It’s the perfect height.
So while potting my plants the last week or so, I noticed that the carpenter bees seemed interested in the air holes in the side of the bin. Whatever, at least they weren’t drilling more holes in the fence.
Potting completed and materials put away, I decided that I should probably grab the shovel and turn the compost. The first poke of the shovel produced a buzzing sound that vibrated through the bin. Three fat sluggish bees emerged from the grass clippings that needed turning. I can handle three bees.
Another nudge of the shovel revealed the more active, energetic friends of the first three bees.
I left running because one bee had the job of chasing me across the yard. If the people with second stories were watching, they would have seen me jumping, running in circles, and flailing my hat and arms in the air.
I have since learned that male carpenter bees, who are the ones we see most frequently, do not sting; but their female counterparts absolutely do sting when provoked.
When the bee pursuing me got tangled in my hair, I did not check its genitalia. I disentangled and beat feet to the garage.
Of course, I went back later to further assess the situation. A couple of times, actually.
I am not smart.
I was chased at least once more (maybe twice if we’re being honest), I smacked myself in the face with the shovel handle using my cat-quick reflexes, and promptly threw my phone in to the bin. Getting it back from the bees was another misadventure in poor shovel technique. I think all of this confirms my status as Jim and not Marlon.
In the end, I left the bin open overnight and mentally sent out a call to the local raccoons to take whatever they wanted including the bees.