Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Birds and the Bees

It's a crazy, mixed-up, upside-down world when the birds are our foes and the giant bees are our friends.

I blame covid.  

Yes, I've befriended the giant bees. Look, you have your pets and now I have mine. Mine don't pee on the carpet, I don't have any litter box stinking up my house, and I never have to pick up their poop and walk around the neighborhood carrying a bag of crap. There are dog people, there are cat people, turns out I'm a giant bee people.


The Birds and the Bees | Picture taken by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com  | #life #nature


It didn't start out that way though. I've actually always been a bird lover. We have woods in our backyard, it's a quiet peaceful place and bird watching has brought me joy. We have Robins and woodpeckers, yellow goldfinches and red cardinals, doves and geese and swallows, owls that perch on our rooftop to hunt at night. I've even seen hummingbirds at the flower pot by my front door. We have beautiful majestic hawks who get so comfortable with us that they'll sit on the railing of our back porch while I stand at the slider.


The Birds and the Bees | Picture taken by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com  | #life #nature


But this year, the birds have turned on me. The swallows and the woodpeckers have joined forces. They each seem to have their mission, one working on the front lines, others taking up the rear. Now the swallows have always been territorial. If you get too close to their nest, which inevitably you'll do every time you mow the lawn, they'll dive bomb you like Snoopy after the Red Baron. Can't really blame them, I'm protective of my kids too. They've got something new going on this year though. In an apparent desire to start a nest on the bricks on my portico, they've been pecking at the mortar. Not good. Advised to put up something shiny, we now have a portico sporting a lovely swath of holiday wrapping paper.


The Birds and the Bees | Picture taken by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com  | #life #nature



And the woodpeckers. I wouldn't have thought of them as noisy in the sack, but apparently when attracting a mate, they try to make more noise than their competition. First they would peck at the wood outside our fireplace, making an annoying racket, and replacing the siding on the regular is not cheap, btw. But as if that wasn't bad enough, they found our downspouts. Not only will that scare the hell out of you, but there is just not enough aspirin in the world. If I go outside and yell at them, they'll go away . . . well, for a hot minute or two . . . but screaming at birds? It's just not a pretty look. {{sigh}}.

The Birds and the Bees | Picture taken by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com  | #life #nature


In the current adversarial bird climate, I've been left to cultivate a relationship with the giant bees. You may remember that in a post I wrote a year ago, almost to the day as a matter of fact, called Suckdom is for Mondays, I talked about the first time I saw these behemoths. These things are huge. Like hummingbird sized huge. They patrol the front walk between those brick columns, and for a long time I'd only go in and out through the garage. I mean, if a regular sized bee sting hurts, what would a monster stinger feel like? I didn't want to know.

I did some research and found out they are Cicada Killer Wasps. And, turns out, I'm not a cicada. So little by little I started to use the front door again. OK, maybe initially dressed like this, but can you blame me?


The Birds and the Bees | Picture taken by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com  | #life #nature


We'd reached a stalemate, the first step in any good friendship, right? They're not afraid of my . . . ahem . . . fashion statement and I'm less afraid of their presence. So I started going out dressed like a normal human and still nothing. Sometimes they'll walk with me a bit, but now I can even walk out the front door eating a cookie and they won't bother me. Try that with a hornet, or a regular wasp. Bet you end up looking like a pincushion.

Mocha Infused Sugar Cookies takes a favorite snack to a whole new flavor level. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies

Mocha Infused Sugar Cookies

Mocha Infused Sugar Cookies takes a favorite snack to a whole new flavor level. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies


Now I greet them in the mornings, talk to them while I water my plants (turns out they're good listeners). And they've even brought me a laugh recently. Turns out there are people who are seeing them for the first time. In terror they're calling the police, the Army Corps of Engineers, hell even the National Guard. I even saw it on the local news, people convinced the murder hornets are on their doorsteps.

Ha ha, not murder hornets, just my friends the killer wasps.

What is it they say about friends? They're the bees who can make you laugh, even when the birds turn against you. Or something like that.


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Mocha Infused Sugar Cookies        
                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup espresso baking chips (if you can't find there, use another 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips and 1/4 tsp instant coffee granules)
1/2 cup canola oil (can use 1 stick of margarine, softened)
1/2 cup butter substitute, softened (can use 1 stick of butter, softened)
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate jimmies (sprinkles)

Directions
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on cookie sheets.
*In a food processor or coffee grinder, grind the chocolate and espresso chips until they're mostly a powder. It's OK to have a few chunks in there. Set aside.
*Cream the canola oil, butter substitute, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
*Mix in flour, baking soda, salt and processed chocolate and espresso baking chips.
*Place the chocolate jimmies on a small plate.
*Roll the dough into about 3/4 inch balls, flatten slightly, press the tops into the jimmies and place on the baking sheets.
*Bake for about 12 minutes or until the cookie has set and the edges start to brown.
*Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheets before removing to cool completely.

23 comments:

  1. Love all the critters around your house (even if they don't all seem to love you right now)! Wonderful post

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm sure I'll make friends with the birds again soon.

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  2. I had those same cicada wasps and was told, strangely, they're non-aggressive. Thank God, since they're the size of thumbs. Loved your beautiful pictures.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, although terrified of them just due to their size, they're definitely not aggressive with me. There's a lesson to be learned in there about judging by looks . . .

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  3. Hahaha! "Friends are the bees who can make you laugh, even when the birds turn against you."
    I think I'll embroider that on a wall hanging... ;)

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  4. I'd have to say you're braver than I. They would be getting the Raid hit-em-from-30-feet-away from me.

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    Replies
    1. Then who would eat those new Zombie Cicadas I've been hearing about?

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  5. I'd almost forgotten about murder hornets. One thing I won't miss about not working in my office is me trying to eat outside on a nearby patio and being attacked by hornets come sometime in late August or early September. They would go for my sandwich and then for me. So I had an alternate outdoor location the hornets didn't seem to like hanging around in, which is now closed to the public due to the pandemic.So, you've made your peace with the Cicada Wasps while the birds go to war against you. That's too bad. What a strange year. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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  6. Every creature is here on earth for a reason sometimes we have no idea why they exist

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    Replies
    1. Yes, there's always the bigger picture, isn't there?

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  7. You haven't heard anything till you've heard a woodpecker going to town on a chimney flue.

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    Replies
    1. So true. And the sound on the gutters is even worse.

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  8. Frankly, I think you’ve been shut in too long. Goldfish or maybe a turtle, but bees? I’ll stick with my Pug. Yeah she poops in he backyard, but the lawnmower takes care of it and yes it is a riding mower.

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    Replies
    1. When I was growing up I had a turtle. I lost him somewhere in the house. We never did find him.

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    2. Wow, maybe a bee and keep him outside. Your turtle probably went the way parents spare their children the horrible facts of life, pet disappears never to be heard from again. Don’t know what happened.

      Delete
  9. A fun post AND a yummy recipe?! Glad I dropped in again today. Have a wonderful week.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Make friends with the bugs and maybe they won't bug you as much? Ha, ha.

    Anyway, i know how loud those woodpeckers can be. We have a metal vent from the old wood stove that goes up through the roof, and one year a woodpecker figured out that if he pecked at the metal vent, bugs ran out from under the flashing for him to gobble. There was no sleeping in mornings with him right above our bedroom, banging on that vent!

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    Replies
    1. I thought it was bad in the living room in the afternoon, I can't even imagine it over the bedroom in the morning.

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  11. I do the same with jumping spiders in my house. they listen a lot better than the cats with way less to clean up. ha!

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    Replies
    1. Although I understand what you're saying, of course, I'm afraid spiders and I will never be friends. I'll stick to the bees (and keeping them outside).

      Delete

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