Open Season for Wasps

When the weather turns warm here in the South the wasps come out.  Here in East Texas we have black wasps, black-winged red wasps, all-red red wasps, yellow and black guinea wasps (we call them yellow jackets), dirt daubers, cicada killers (hornets), bumblebees, wood borers, and honeybees.  We’ve been blessed with quite a variety of stinging, flying insects, and I bet there are a few I haven’t even mentioned. 

You’re mostly safe if you just leave them alone but sometimes paths cross and it can lead to a painful encounter.  Such was the case when I was about six years old.  It was a windy day at the Moseley house and Mama and us four kids were outside by the back door step.  A red wasp landed in Mama’s hair and she shook her head to make it go away.  She was holding my baby sister so that’s about all she could do.  The wasp, angry as red wasps tend to be, saw me and decided–if a bug with only a wad of nerves for a brain can decide–to come after me. 

“Run!” Mama cried, and I ran.  I ran the length of the back of the house and turned the corner.  That’s when I made the fateful decision to stop and turn around.  That evil wasp popped me on the forehead and again on the thumb.  I guess I tried to brush it off my forehead.  I still have the scar where it punctured my forehead.  

You see, the wind carries these insects where they don’t intend to fly, and I believe it makes them madder than usual.  How would you feel if you were headed to Colorado on vacation and a big gust of wind carried you to New York instead?  If there’s a reason to feel sorry for a wasp, then the fact that they have very little control over their destination in windy weather could be it.

I didn’t just get one wasp sting during my childhood.  Oh no.  I could count on getting at least one per summer.  There’s the time I was riding my bicycle uphill on the blacktop road and my foot slipped off the pedal.  As I dragged my leg, skinning my knee all the way down to the tops of my toes, my bike and I landed on the side of the road in a blackberry vine patch.  If losing my top layer of skin wasn’t enough, I disturbed a wasp nest and suffered the consequences.  I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to limp the 40 yards (which seemed like a million) back to the house where I thought I would surely die before Mama applied her baking soda paste on the stings and merthiolate on my wounds.  I managed to survive.

Around here you have to check under porch swings, deck chairs, ride-on toys, kids’ swings, tractor fenders and seats, house eaves, propane tank lids, wheelbarrows, and outdoor grills before using them from spring through fall.  I got popped a couple of years ago by an angry wasp because I dared reach over its hidden nest to turn the outdoor faucet off after watering plants.  

Did I mention grabbing a loaf of bread in the grocery store and being rewarded by a honeybee sting in that tender skin between my thumb and forefinger?  It hurt for literally HOURS.  I was wearing a skirt and the silly thing tried to fly under it as well!  

I will do everything in my power to keep from being stung, and when the grandkids are here, I will do even more.  I don’t want to pass on to them my legacy of getting stung every summer.  After all, for wasps and bees, this time of year is open season on humans.  I won’t even mention the new scourge on mankind. . .murder hornets?  Really?  

What about you?  Got a bee or wasp sting story?

Stay safe!



A Toy Story, Part I

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood involve the toys I played with. Now my parents weren’t well off by any stretch of the imagination, but we kids always had plenty of toys to play with. From the deep cardboard box at the Willow Branch Road farmhouse to the old wooden trunk at the house by the football field to the other assorted boxes, shelves, and other storage places, we were blessed with playthings. 

One of the first toys I remember was Tinker Toys. Tinker Toys came in a canister and included long and short wooden dowels along with wooden wheels with holes for the dowels. You could build almost anything with them, but I wonder how many kids got their eyes poked or dowels up their noses and had to go to the emergency room. Definitely not up to today’s safety standards. We managed to survive them, though.

What other toys do I remember?  I liked to collect Cracker Jack toys, especially little dolls. One that I especially liked was a clown that I managed to lose in the backyard. I searched for days and never found it. It made me so sad to lose that little clown.
Toys can be a source of frustration for parents who find them scattered all over the house even long after the kids have outgrown them. Even worse is stepping on a tiny toy with your bare feet.  Ever stepped on a Lego in the dark? 
Children need toys to help them play, and they are good at making ordinary items into toys.  Store-bought toys often go unnoticed in favor of simple household items. My kids enjoyed playing with kitchen items in a bottom cabinet drawer.  Now my grandkids do.
What about you?  What were your favorite toys as a child?

#vintagetoys #growingupineasttexas #crackerjack #tinkertoys #1960s

Magnificent Monday: What a little rain can do

Last week we got some rain, and not just a little.  Some folks in our area of East Texas received 5 or 6 inches of rain, but we only got 2.6 inches at our place.  It was enough to give a burst of renewed energy to the potted plants on our back deck, which were beginning to look a bit peaked. (or is it piqued?)

This pot holds a mixture of zinnias, purslane, and rose moss.
These pots of rose moss bloomed happily after the rain.

Two blooms of Shasta daisies made up for lost time–they had stopped blooming from the heat.
These succulents, or hen-and-chickens, kept a drop of water in the centers.  They look like little diamonds!
I had to share my mom’s newest potting bench:  an old bathroom sink sitting on top of an old sewing machine frame.  She set it on her backyard patio.  Geraniums sit below.
I tried to capture tonight’s full moon as it rose over the treetops surrounding our pasture.  It didn’t show up very well, but you can see how green the grass is.  This time of year it is usually dried up and brown!
I know that flooding and heat continue to be problems for much of the country, but here in East Texas it has been blessedly wetter and cooler than usual.  And we will take it!

I hope your flowers are still blooming pretty.


AT HOME MONDAY: Wedding Clutter?

It’s the Monday post-wedding and I am still alive and well and here to tell you about it! I was alive but very tired yesterday but still I spent the entire day gathering all the decor and gifts from the tent between the rain showers that politely waited until the day after the wedding to make their appearance.  As for the wedding day itself?  Saturday, November 10, 2012 in East Texas was the perfect day for an outdoor wedding. The blustery cold front with its severe thunderstorms and wind waited one day to hit.  Thank you, Lord!

I also spent a chunk of the day-after resting my poor feet and muscles.  They had worked overtime two straight days decorating and coordinating the wedding!  The effort was well worth it.  Just look at the happy couple. . .

I actually made the bouquets and boutonnieres from roses and baby’s breath that I ordered from a local florist.  I was able to buy the materials for the bridal bouquet, the matron of honor bouquet, and four boutonnieres for under $100!  Bryan and Natalie decided against tossing a bouquet and garter, which also saved money.

Both bouquets in a vase the day after.

Don’t you just love the little steampunk gear accents?

So, how much did the wedding end up costing?  Stay tuned for the great reveal, which may be Wednesday, or I might wait until Friday!  For today’s “At Home Monday” post, I will stick to what I have been doing here at home.

Yesterday all the wedding decor was transferred from the site in our field to my house in about three trips in my SUV and hubby’s pickup.  He helped so much with the furniture and heavier items!  But now my house and front porch are loaded with miscellaneous furniture and decor items, boxes of photos, white tulle, sheets, books, etc.  I have been going through boxes and piles of stuff trying to sort and put it away, either back in its original place as part of my home’s decor or in storage or to resell as vintage.

I used a lot of vintage and handmade items in the wedding decor.  Below is a photo of the guest book table.  I printed several photos of the couple in sepia and scattered them in vintage-y frames around the site.  I made the cards banner using stencils, scrapbook paper, and burlap, and I painted the Goodwill silver-plated tray with chalkboard paint.  I also wrapped two ballpoint pens with floral tape and silk flowers.  The rag garland was put together by tying strips of old sheets, tulle, and burlap onto jute twine.  The vintage Bibles (which belonged to family members), suitcase, and cake topper are part of my own collection. I covered the table with an old burlap coffee bean bag I purchased for two dollars in Canton.  The brass pointing hand I found at an antique store for five bucks. I ordered the mustaches on sticks from Etsy, then realized they are only made of balsa wood sticks and construction paper!  

In this next photo you can see the entire guest book table, which was set up on a small desk I found at Goodwill for less than $10.  Underneath the table is my antique typewriter–not quite a steal for $45 at my favorite antique shop, but better than a lot of places.  I got the cement Victorian boot for half price at Hobby Lobby because it had some chipped places, but those increased its value for me! The wishing tree is just a few pieces of branches that fell from our trees in the backyard.  I stuck them into an old antique store bucket and filled it with some pea gravel my mother had.  I added some small framed photos of the couple and another cake topper.  An old string of fake pearls finished it off.  The tree sat on a burlap-covered wrought iron plant stand.  Behind that was an iron wall gate with an antique wedding veil, another Goodwill find.  The gate was a gift from a friend.  Charming vignette!
Hopefully these few photos have peaked your interest in what other things we may have done with the decor.  Stay tuned all week for much, much more!




AT HOME MONDAY: Gobble Holler!

Welcome to my blog today from rainy Gobble Holler, Indiana!  I am visiting my sister in Marengo near where her husband grew up in an area they call Gobble Holler.  This is the country, folks.  In East Texas we think we live in the country, but that ain’t country.  THIS is the most country country I have ever seen.  It is some of the most beautiful land I have ever seen as well, with its rolling hills, some rocky hillsides, lush green meadows, and twisty-turny roads.  Even Jimmy said he might choose this area over Colorado.  That’s saying something!

Not only are my husband and I visiting my sister and her husband, we are going to do some deer hunting!  Today was the first official day of archery season and guess what?  It rained. It poured.  So no hunting.  Barry and Jimmy did get the deer stands set up.  Brenda and I had no choice but to go thrift store shopping!

We spent the afternoon shopping in Corydon at Goodwill, the Salvation Army Thrift Store, Big Boy restaurant for lunch, and then Walmart.

On the way back to Brenda’s house, the rain began to slow and the deer began to venture out.  I spotted two does together, and a little later a pretty buck!  Just before we reached her house, I spotted another doe grazing behind a barn.  I can’t wait for tomorrow!  We have decided to hunt even if it means sitting in the rain!  Now if only I can aim true. . .