Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Sting

My husband has two different sized ears.  This is not a normal condition with him; but two days ago he got stung by a yellow jacket while weeding the garden. He told me what had happened and complained about how his ear itched, while icing it intermittently and rubbing on the hydrocortisone cream I had leftover from an ant attack. 

Later at dinner I looked up at him and noticed that his left ear, the one that had been stung, was twice the size of the right. The ear lobe was also a bright red.

It is getting better. Today the left is down to one and a half times the size of the right, and a paler pink.

John is fond of saying that you think you own your property, but when the sun goes down, you realize it belongs to the insects. Apparently they are now taking over during the daytime, too. The insects are not the only ones who share property ownership with us. Even though we live on a suburban lot that is maybe one-third of an acre in size, we share it with mockingbirds, cardinals, the occasional raccoon, a possum, robins briefly when they fly through in the spring heading north, hummingbirds, lizards, a frog or two (or maybe toads, I can’t tell the difference), a lot of spiders, and every so often a grass snake. There are also squirrels. We have given up trying to grow any sort of vegetable because of the squirrels. 

I have also written before of the egrets and hawks that live in our neighborhood, but there has only been one hawk in my yard, a juvenile perched briefly on my fence next to a squirrel until I drove up and scared him off.

Lately there has been much made of a study that shows that house cats are predators (people did not know this?), thirty percent of them killing two or more wild animals a week. So what are the other seventy percent doing, marching up and down with signs saying, “Go Green, Go Vegan”?

This has led to renewed pleas to deprive small domesticated animals of their own turf and keep them indoors. I wonder if in the next ten thousands years or so raccoons, squirrels, and crows are going to co-evolve with humans to the point that our descendants will be enjoined to keep their raccoons on a leash or indoors and spay or neuter their squirrels. Catch, spay and release programs for possums? Rescue families sought for crows?

Crows are smart, though. Only their lack of hands keep me from worrying that some day they might be catching, spaying, and releasing us.

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