Coming and Going

We have a policy, here on the farm, that cars live outside. The garage, now a wood and metal shop, has no room for our horseless carriages. The doors face the south and when open, you have a great view of the front pasture. Additionally, when the doors are open, the outdoors likes to come in. Some of it welcome, some, not so much.


I don’t mind my little shop buddies, lizards and skinks, they caper about, eating bugs and giving me odd looks. The other day, I had one of them dance around my feet when I was grinding some metal. I don’t think he was going after the sparks, but we like our food spiced up, so maybe he was looking for  a little zing in his diet too.

The ones I don’t want to see are mud daubers and carpenter bees. The mud daubers are a red wasp and will look for any place that isn’t moving to build their nest out of mud. The name kind of gave it away, didn’t it? They make a mess and don’t take stern warnings seriously when you tell them to get OUT! And their equally stupid cousins, the carpenter bees. These punks, actually do some damage. They bore into wood and lay their eggs. I have found 2x4s with a 2 foot long, 3/4 inch diameter tunnel bored into it. They like old wood and buzz around like drunken, belligerent, steroid enhanced bumble bees. If I find one sashaying into my shop, I will drop whatever I am doing and go into search and destroy mode. Since my swinging arm is kaputz for now, I am thinking about upping my game and using a shotgun on them. I hate those guys!

Not everything is dramaville out in the shop. The other day, I was ciphering away on something at my layout table, and I heard a humming bird coming in. I looked up and a green humming bird buzzed into the shop and looked like he was looking for me. I stood still as he sidled up, looked me up and down, gibbered something off, dipped his beak and headed out the door. Their feeder was empty and the dipped beak was an exclamation point. Kansas humming birds have a bit of a lisp and so it is not always clear what they are saying on the first go round. I am an old hand with humming birds, so as soon as he left I texted the Mrs that the natives were restless and hungry.

Back when I lived in the desert, all these humming birds you see in the North country in the summer, fly south for the winter. Putting up a feeder is not something you cavalierly do. These itty bitty birds, with long, sharp pointed beaks, get aggressive when they think you are goofing off and not attending to their needs. A friend of mine had a feeder on their deck. Dozens of the hummers would crowd around the feeder every morning. If it got low, one or two of the beasts would actually tap on the patio window to get your attention. You really don’t want to get mobbed by hungry animals with a big sharp needle for a face.


When we bought the farm, no, let me rephrase that, when we purchased the 20 acres and buildings, it had a windmill, right up next to the house. It was no longer working, so it was more of a decorative statement, accenting the stone part of the house, or some such nonsense as that. I thought of it as a great big lightening rod, right next to the back door. We put a humming bird feeder on it and one morning, just as the sun was coming up, I captured this video of several little guys feeding, fighting and preening.

As I headed out to the shop after break time, this morning, I noticed one of our turtles trundling down the driveway. Ole Sweet Pea was with me and I put the clamp on him, and hustled him back in the house. Dogs and turtles don’t mix well. I went back out to see what the story was, and this large painted turtle, looking quite dapper, said he was heading out. “Road trip, eh?” I queried. Yup, he said, the world was calling him. I asked a few more questions and he was kind of evasive and noncommittal. And when I pulled out my camera, he clammed up, claiming he was just shy, but he really didn’t want his picture taken. Fine, I recently had a situation where I did not want my picture taken, either. I heard him mumble something as he was going down the driveway, it didn’t really sound like “witness protection program” but I could have heard wrong.