Saturday, April 08, 2006

First mailbox paper wasp (Note Change)

Yesterday and today I welcomed the paper wasps (genus Polistes) back to their favorite nesting place. They will soon get busy with their nest building. For the most part, they leave me alone. I have been stung several times, but considering how many I encounter, its not significant. They are much less aggressive than the hornets or yellowjackets . As a matter of fact, their little paper nests have been known to exisit along with mail coming and going all summer.

Since this was the lone wasp, I am wondering if she is the queen. She was fertilized last fall and has overwintered, usually in a tree (or mailbox?). She will build the nest herself and start laying eggs. When her babies hatch, they will then help feed the others. Sometime around late summer she will start laying more male eggs and they will mate with the female young wasps and these will be the queens for the following year. I gathered this information here and here.

Paper wasps are considered beneficial in that they feed on other insects and, thankfully, not rural mail carriers.

Linda's Note: In case you are wondering why you read this post yesterday and this little lady was identified as a hornet and now its a paper wasp, it is because Chip (who I usually check with before I post any identification) steered me in the proper direction. Thanks Chip!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Yikes!! Who ARE these people? They don't look like anyone I know.
Picture by Linda

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Bill over at Prairie Point wrote about the sale of his parent's home. His post seemed positive, but I felt some sadness come through his thoughts.

I could relate. Imagine someone coming into your home tomorrow and start making decisions on everything they picked up as to whether it deserved to be saved, sold or thrown away. Perhaps the first thought would be possessions don't mean that much so have at it. But, there is something deeper.

Each trinket, glass vase, dish, tool, fishing rod--each of these items is a part of the owner. There are memories of my Dad fishing, something he loved to do, but none of us knew it until he retired. When we looked at those fishing rods, we didn't see the old, worn rod and reel. We saw Dad lovingly cleaning and oiling while telling stories of big ones caught or missed.

When we moved Mom to the full care facility, her entire life's possessions were down to two or three items. If I walked through my home right now and tried to pick out those one or two items that sum up my life, what would it be? Some of the things I couldn't because they would be too big. Then someone would have to make the decision. A lot would be considered totally useless and thrown. Believe me, easier said than done.

Cleaning out my parent's home made me realize possessions should not be life. Possessions should the tools for living. It did change me. I have decided some things that I thought were near and dear, don't seem as much so today. I have thought of having Dan make me a beautiful walnut box and start putting little things in there that I can keep with me no matter how much downsizing I have to do. I am discovering when it is all said and done, the one possession that means the most is loving life and choosing to live it to its fullest.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The best job in the world

I'm talking about being a rural mail carrier. This thought came to me today as I delivered mail in perfect 65 plus weather. Had there been a blizzard, ice storm, continuous rain or even wind, I might not have been feeling this positive.

These days often come at the change of the seasons, especially winter to spring and summer to fall. What was so magical about this routine day? Try smiles and waves! This isn't cookie in the mailbox time, that's Christmas. It isn't fresh vegetables hanging on the box time, that's summer. Nor is it homemade jelly still warm in the glass jar, that's fall. It is just the people coming out to say hello and tell me what spring flowers are up or what they've planted in their gardens.

Today a particularly friendly and likeable lady came down her driveway toward my truck. I had an appointment to get my glasses fixed after work and was on a fairly strict schedule. I knew it wouldn't be a short conversation and I debated on putting her mail in the box and giving her a big wave. I just couldn't pull away, though, as I knew she wanted to talk and she had a letter in her hand. As it turned out, it was such a good conversation. We talked about her beloved dogs, her car that wasn't running right and she ended it all with a very funny joke.

I made my appointment and was once again reminded how lucky I am to have such great people a part of my working day.

Monday, April 03, 2006

This N' That

I'm not a big basketball fan, but I did come in second in our NCAA pool. Unless UCLA kicks it in soon, this has been a "Noah" game.

Rascal Flatts has a new album out this week featuring a song entitled Ellsworth, about an elderly lady from Ellsworth, Kansas, who can't remember yesterday but remembers 1948 and her husband-to-be. The words are especially meaningful because of my mother. I also appreciate that a popular youth oriented group will sing of something affecting so many on a personal level.

I know its spring when I move all my plants out to the sun porch. Wouldn't you know its supposed to get down to 34 degrees tonight. I'm going to take a chance.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

C S Bell Hillsboro O

is the inscription on the bell Dan purchased at an auction yesterday morning. I promised to post a picture so I decided a little research was in order. I had no idea the amount of information available on bells in general and specifically C.S.Bell.

Mr Bell worked in his uncle's foundry in Pennsylvenia as a young man. He later moved to Ohio to manage a branch of that business there. He then bought out his uncle's Ohio plant and the C.S. Bell company was formed. His business started with a payroll of $7 per week. Among other things he made farm machinery parts and stoves.

In 1875 he began making bells. I quote from a history of the C.S.Bell Company:

Mr. Bell experimented with formulas of various metals searching for an alloy cheaper to produce than brass, but more durable than iron. After many failures he was successful and discovered that his alloy could be pitched to create a very mellow tone. It was this tone that made his bells famous throughout the world.

In studing the historical information I believe our bell was made before 1882 because of how it is stamped. Prindle Station still makes a bell patterned after the original C.S.Bell farm bell and uses the design as its company logo

As often happens, especially at auctions, something is purchased on a whim and it becomes a exciting find.