One fine sunny Oregon day we were walking in the forest looking for some chantrelle mushrooms to put on our pizza for dinner. We noticed a weedy looking plant called a "fiddleback" and Myrna was explaining to me how it was edible and some people enjoyed them on salads! (Myrna is such an expert on forests here!) These plants grow near clearcut forest edges with plenty of sunshine, and that is where the bees also like to nest! We tossed the sample of the fiddle back to the ground and as it gently floated to the forest floor the wind helped it fall a little further away into a slight depression! When the piece of fiddleback touched the ground the earth erupted immediately with a tornado shaped funnel of ground hornets!
I screamed to "GET OUT OF THERE" and turned and ran like the devil hisself was after me! After about 50 yards I turned to see poor Myrna still standing there! It took her a minute to realize what was up! When they started stinging her she came running through the forest to me! Yeah, right I wanted all those bees around me NOT! They were in her hair, under her loose clothing stinging her mercilessly! She is not allergic to bees thank God! I beat her with my hat killing many of the bees. We had to strip her right there and kill all the bees, the ones in her hair were the worst! I was a perfect gentleman and didn't even peek *grin*! Somehow I never got stung once!
A week later we were back in the same forest and farther up the hill it was pizza night again and Myrna wanted some of those chantrelle mushrooms for the pizza, they are delicious! So I was into some of them and reached down to cut a particularly large one when I received a sharp sting on my right hand! I noticed white faced hornets all around, in my kneeling position, I bolted for the forest. The sharp knife was dropped, I was on a dead run! We tether the knives to ourselves so we don't lose them, it was flapping in the breeze behind me like a flag! When I slowed to look over a stump or log the knife would catch up to me and smack me in the back of the legs, spurring me on! Sometimes there is no ground in Oregon on the other side of a log yanno? After about 50 yards or so of doing my Walter Payton imitation, I stopped to assess the damage. There were white faced hornets all around my ankles, I waited on those cause I was wearing High topped boots, hehe! I had to shed my backpack killed all on my arms, then I took care of the ones on my ankles! I always wear my redneck hat so they didn't get in my hair! I could hear Myrna~Mae chuckling off in the distance! She saw the flash on the horizon where I tried to make my escape. She could hear the familiar "beating hat" sound! Luckily I only received 6 stings total, they hurt like mad for a couple of hours and then the next day they itch! Myrna rubbed calamine lotion on them for me, it didn't help!
I learned one more bee lesson and am hoping it is the last! I was
after those chantrelles again, this time in a completely different
forest, when I happened on a stick protruding up into my path. At
the bottom of it was a mound of dirt like a mole hill? Yeah right,
I couldn't leave it alone, reaching out to wiggle the stick was a
dumb move. The mole hill erupted with those whitefaced hornets again.
This time I was already up and going before the first one became
airborn, I escaped unscathed, whew! All those times I had to run
from the revenuers back home in the hills finally paid off! Now
that the black berries are dying off, the bears will turn there
attention to the bees, I guess the bears find them quite tasty,
and I say "more power to the bears".
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