Goodbye Season

One of the last pretty trees on our morning walk held onto some of its leaves until I took a picture of it. Autumn did not shine in the mountains this year, probably because we had a dry season when the trees were thirsty. We drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway three or four weeks in a row, trying to catch the peak of the season.

On one of our jaunts, John stopped the car beside a little waterfall so that David and I could hear it gurgling. We found the sound both soothing and satisfying. Soon the Parkway will be closed for the season, so we won’t be passing such delights again until spring.

We said goodbye to the best supermarket cashier we’ve ever had. For about five years, Laurie scanned our groceries efficiently while chatting with us. It’s amazing how close you can feel when you have snippets of conversation regularly. She has taken a job where her husband works, and they are looking forward to having lunch together.

We sincerely hope we’ve said goodbye to the yellow jackets in our garden. I was stung two different times, and after each encounter, John sprayed the nest. It was hidden under a patch of Lamb’s Ears. Recently I saw lots of the critters buzzing about some evergreen bushes, so I watched them go in and out of the nest every time I was in that area. Yesterday I found a large hole where the entrance to their nest had been. It was about five inches wide, ten inches long, and at least a foot deep. The camera was in my pocket, so I took a picture of it at dusk. I called John and David to look at the photo on the monitor. They saw it and said, “Let’s go look at it!”

Hole where yellow jackets had been

I had noticed several pieces of comb, something like honeycomb, scattered near the hole. I began to wonder if a bear had dug out the nest. I read on the internet that bears do go for yellow jackets, but they are more likely to eat them in the spring when berries are scarce. The article mentioned that raccoons and skunks prey on yellow jackets at night. They must be the culprits, or heroes, as the case may be. I saw one yellow jacket walking on the comb, and David saw a few others. They will probably be killed in a day or so when our temperatures drop sharply. We will not be sorry to see them go.

54 thoughts on “Goodbye Season

  1. I do not get along with yellow jackets. The last two times I was stung, I needed a steroid injection to stop from looking like the Michelin tire man! The tree with the red leaves is beautiful, even more so since it’s the only one! No competition! I hate losing good staff. Starbucks turns over fairly regularly as it’s staffed mostly by college kids. Always sad to see them ago especially since I just learned their names!

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    1. That’s too bad that yellow jackets have such a bad effect on you. I hope ours are gone now. While I was working, I enjoyed the letter carriers that delivered our mail. They were always pleasant and often amusing. They tended to stay on the job for years, but eventually they moved on.

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  2. Lovely pics, Anne!! Our colourful trees lost most of their leaves last week when we had a violent windstorm! Some trees were even uprooted, falling on cars, electrical wires, etc.! Half a million people in and around Montreal lost power. (not us, fortunately!) They’re still getting the last of the unlucky people back online now!)

    Are yellowjackets the same as wasps? I’ve been stung twice, what a horror!

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  3. Well, you really set me to work tonight. First to find out what the Blue Ridge Parkway is, and it does sound interesting, and then to see whether yellowjackets are wasps which I see they are and I agree they’re nasty little beasts.I know a bee will sting you but I always get the feeling it’s a last resort and I’m always sorry when they die. But wasps are just malicious and then don’t even die.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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  4. Last year we had yellow jackets coming in through our dryer vent somehow. I got stung twice doing the laundry before we figured out what was happening. That hole is terrifying!

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    1. The entrance to the yellow jacket nest was tiny, only noticeable when the little beasts were flying in and out. We now think it must have been a raccoon that dug out the nest and ate the yellow jackets. He was welcome to every one.

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  5. You said your goodbyes, and I know you will share my excitement when I said today was a hello day for me. Hello to the snow 😀 Welcome back, white world. Wish you could be here to share.

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      1. Teaser. And they need to have a solid base before they let anybody on the slopes. They are going to start blowing snow tonight 🙂

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  6. That red tree is beautiful! I had the black wasps this Summer – never heard of them and never had them before. The handyman sealed the hole up, but the relatives still came to visit and wonder where their kin went?

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      1. A fellow blogger, Joni, who lives near London, Ontario, had a wasp nest this past Summer.
        She had to have pest control come in and remove it/spray and then she had many wasp bodies decaying – the smell, mixed with the pesticide was horrible. They were in her bedroom and even after pest removal got rid of the nest, then sprayed, she still had some walking around, kind of stunned, in her room. Pest control said if it continued she would need a carpenter to remove her floorboards in the bedroom and see if another nest was there – she has not seen anymore thankfully. I don’t like these black wasps either – they were big enough to go to work!

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      2. That was what my father used to say if he saw a big bug or some creepy crawly around. I’d never seen a Great Black Wasp before – at first blush it resembled a carpenter ant, but then I saw the big wings and it was like a carpenter ant on steroids. Its body is segmented like a carpenter ant, but much bigger (0.8–1.4 in).

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  7. I’ve never seen them in the ground before. That could be risky. Why can’t you just cover the hole? What are they good for? I’ve never thought to check. I know some wasp eat spiders, but spiders eat other bugs, which can be helpful. Hmmm

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    1. Yellow jackets would dig out if their hole were covered. They do eat insects, but their stings are painful. I’d be happy to share the world with them, just not in my garden. Some people are terribly allergic to the strings. I’m glad I didn’t die!

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  8. Anne, I had to look up yellow jackets as from the size of the hole in the ground I thought they were quite a big mammal! Yikes! A big nest of wasps! No wonder you’re glad they’ve gone! Ahh … a sweet photo of you both with Laurie – shopping becomes so much easier when you’ve befriended the cashier. They are so important in many peoples lives and I remember how much a couple meant to my father-in-law when he went food shopping, always having time for a friendly and caring chat!😀

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  9. It seems like we went directly from summer to winter this year. Last weekend we were running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. and the temperature got up to 80 degrees. This week we were running a trail race in northern PA and the temperature was 20 at the start of the race!

    Those yellowjackets! Ugh!!!

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  10. I love the change of seasons but winter seems to be coming much earlier than usual in our neck o’ the woods. And Fall fell flat if you were looking for color. Still, I love the nip in the air and even the warnings of frigid temps en route to Camelot.

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    1. You would be a nice addition to that tree, Suki. You’d look like a prize ornament on a Christmas tree. Have you ever climbed a fully loaded Christmas tree? Our cat Thor (pronounced Tor) did that about 50 years ago. I think he lost one of his nine lives when it came crashing down.

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