I returned home last night from my trip to Virgina to visit my folks.It's always good to get back home after a trip, and the more trips I make, the more true that is...
Debbie had a difficult day yesterday: our oldest cat (Pana) had reached the point where it was time to say good bye, and Debbie had to both make the decision and act on it in my absence.Tough for her, but she did it.We've waited too long for some of other other animals, and have regretted it for years afterward; she was determined not to let that happen again.And she didn't.Little Pana was between 22 and 24 years old, a small all-black cat that was likely part Turkish (because he liked to play in water) that we rescued when he was quite young.He had a long, happy, and safe life in our home...
This morning I did all my usual chores, then fired up our Kubota diesel tractor for another one: digging a grave for little Pana.I was surprised when the tractor fired right up, as I hadn't started it for over a year.But start it did, on the first turn of the starter.Then I lifted the front bucket and the rear backhoe bucket and started moving toward the grave site.Moments later I was swarmed with yellow-jackets, especially on my right hand.
They were in full "defend the nest" mode, stinging away as fast as they could.I got stung quite a few times on my right hand and arm, twice above my right eye, and several times on my back and rear end.Ouch!I jumped off the tractor, leaving it running, and ran far enough away to escape the horde of angry yellow-jackets, then killed all the ones still stinging me.
The last time I had something like that happen to me was when I was a child - as an adult, I've only had one or two stings at a time.I was worried what sort of reaction I might have to so many stings, but now (two hours later) all I have is some localized swelling.My hand is by far the worst, but I expect it to go down within a few hours.I've taken Benadryl and iced the hand; all the advice I can find on the web says those are really all I need to do.Then wait :)
I found the reason why those yellow-jackets were so mad at me: they had constructed a nest under the left rear tractor tire.When I moved the tractor, I ripped the roof right off their nest.If some monster came along and ripped the roof off my house, I'd be pissed off, too.I'd probably let him have it with my "stinger" (in my case, a semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun).Tonight, assuming it gets cool enough to slow the yellow-jackets down, I will destroy their nest.
I don't think I'll leave my tractor parked quite such a long time again :)