By: Shar Porier
The Banks County News
June 26, 2002
Planning the attack
When you have three acres to mow, time seems to stand still. Now, I know some people might just grab the earphones and listen to music or the radio to pass the time. But, I prefer to let my mind wander.
As I rode past the mound of over grown wisteria, muscadine and poison ivy vines the other day, I came up with a new plan of attack to save my butterfly bushes and Rose of Sharon trees.
Down-home Security, I call it. An all-out offensive to counteract terroristic pests in the backyard. I figured Id reconnoiter and figure out a plan of attack. First, I would cover myself head to toe and do a ground search. Hunt for the source of the poison ivy.
Well, it sounded like fun, so I stopped mowing and went back to the house. Wearing a jumpsuit, boots and hat coated in bug repellent, I prepared to enter the netherworld.
I crawled on hands and knees under the maze of vines and looked for the source of the poison ivy. Eeeek! Thats one big spider! A huge wolf spider scampered away. Eeew! I wonder what else is under here!
The Carolina wrens chattered away. They must have a nest up in here somewhere. I looked up, but could see nothing but hundreds of twining vines. Ah, but there were the trunks of the butterfly bushes. Ouch! Ooh, that hurt. Big rock covered with leaves.
I need to be more cautious. I maneuvered closer to the bush when a yellow-jacket whizzed by my head. I looked down, and in front of me, just a hand away, was the opening to a - GASP! yellow-jacket nest! Nooooo!
They hadnt gotten upset with me - yet! But they sure didnt like my close proximity and more of them were coming out of the nest to check things out.
I tried, slowly, to back out the way I had come. If I just dont disturb them, itll be all right. They wont bother me.
Ha! Short-tempered little buggars were coming for me! I reached for the rock and plopped it over the nest. At least more wouldnt be able to get me!
About a dozen were on my jumpsuit and gloves, but I didnt stop. I just kept backing out. The yellow-jackets continued their attack, but, luckily, none came near my face. I was almost out. My rear was in the clear, at least.
Then I feel something nose me and start pulling on my jumpsuit. My dogs had decided to come play with Mom. I was a target they couldnt resist.
Oh, noooo! It was bad enough the hornets were after me, but now theyd go for the dogs. So, how do I get out of this predicament?
I was trying not to laugh, or get hysterical at my plight. I just sort of stopped in my tracks.
But the hornets were getting more aggressive. Maybe they were upset that the rest of the hive wasnt coming to help.
My three dogs were now dragging me out by my pant legs and boots. I was flat on the ground. A couple of the hornets got smushed when I thumped, none too gracefully, from my knees to my stomach. The ones on my sleeves and gloves crawled up my arms, stinging, uselessly, as they went.
I was now out of the mess and in the open. So were the yellow-jackets.
Keeping my arms up, I struggled against my playful family to my feet. None of the little yellow demons had given up on me. Good! The dogs would be unhurt!
Oow! Darn, one got me! The sting felt like fire in my arm!
With the dogs running beside me, I ran to the river and plunged in the cold water taking the hellish insects with me. My howling dogs promptly jumped in on top of me! Boy, this is great fun, aint it, Mom? They were having a ball, rolling around with me in the water.
I glimpsed a few of the angry yellow-jackets as they floated downstream. They would be doing no one any harm now.
The fire in my arm had begun to subside. I laid back in the river, thankful it was over and very thankful the warm noses of my children were safe.
As we ran out of steam, I clambered to the bank and dragged myself out. I looked over to the mound of many dangers and shook my head.
I went back to the house and grabbed an old glass pot. I took it back to the yellow-jacket nest and swiftly replaced the rock with it. I heard about that somewhere - placing a glass container over the hole would kill the nest.
I stepped back and sat down. My arm throbbed. Whew! This thing was not going to go quietly or easily.
maybe I should rent a bulldozer or a backhoe?!
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.
By: Roshelle Beckstein
The Banks County News
June 26, 2002
Curl up with a good book
I had been waiting for weeks for the book to come. With my fast-pace life always doing, doing, doing, I ordered it one morning while I checked email.
Just entered my membership ID, point and click. Bill me because Im not giving you my credit card number and I dont have time to look for my wallet anyway. I lost it somewhere between the truck and my desk here in the office or maybe Piper grabbed it and pulled all of my receipts out before hiding it under a box somewhere. Click rush shipment but it really wont be rushed. It will be nearly a month before the book reaches my front door but that wont stop me from anxiously searching the front stoop before I park my car in the driveway for the 22 days before the book arrives and then it doesnt even sit on the front stoop because the mail carrier managed to fit it inside the mailbox and I almost had to wrestle it out of Erics hands because he checks the mail and he knew that once I got my hand on it I would read it until I had finished it. And I did.
What made waiting the 22 days even worse is that the book came out in stores on June 1. And it was the last book in a trilogy. I had been waiting a year since the first book was released to finish the three books. And then I had to wait an additional 22 days for Doubleday to process my order. UGH! I wanted to just buy a second copy. I go on the authors website frequently and I get her fan letters so I know that all three books were written before the first book was even published. Why do they make us wait so long? Marketing ploy. Im hooked no matter when they release the books. Ill buy. Hook, line and sinker. I think Ill draft a letter to the publishing house.
I almost dont like to read a book for the first time because its a rushed sort of reading. You want to know the whole story so badly that you skip though the descriptions, reading them but not really absorbing them. Read it through once completely for the plot. The whole time your stomach a mass of butterflies as you wait to find out whether good wins over evil, whether the guy gets the girl and whether its still safe in the world for idealists. (Some day Im going to write a book without that happy ever after ending just to shake people up a bit, no use being predictable all of your life, someone has to be non-conformist.)
Until the last page is read my entire being is held in suspense, waiting for the last page, and no you cant just skip to the end, you have to follow through one page at a time. Its like going on that first date or to an important job interview and its sheer agony as you sit there wondering how is this going to end. Will it change my life? Because books can change your life. Its a whole other world that you get to be a part of for as long as youre in the pages. And you take a part of that world with you when you finish the pages. Lessons learned. You like that person because she gave money to charity, maybe you should be more like her. That woman was too suspicious of everyone and she pushed people away, maybe you should trust those you love and give strangers the benefit of the doubt.
I love books. Always have. Ruined my eyes because I read under the covers with a flashlight after my parents would turn the lights out. My sister, who shared a room with me, can still sleep with a light shining on her eyes.
So I finally finished the trilogy. I think Ill read it again today. Right after I finish writing this.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.