Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

The Fauna Among the Flora

on October 7, 2010

All morning I was trying to think of what to write about, suddenly work presented me with a topic. Most people work in offices that are reasonably clean and I would imagine free of most pests.  I do not. This morning I went into one of our storage buildings to do a little inventory and was greeted by 2 little mice scurrying away. I jumped and ran out the building in the opposite direction. You’d think after 8 years at the company I’d be used to this sort of thing.  Critters are a daily occurrence for us but I still jump every time I see something move where it be or when I find dead things (that was unpleasant). Seeing the mice this morning made me think back to some of the other animal/bug encounters I’ve had.

Evil Stink Bug Invader

This year we had the epic battle with the massive yellow jacket hive that settled into the crawl space above the office. Every morning for about a month we would come in and open all the doors. Each of us would grab our swatter of choice and clear out the office invaders. Throughout the day you’d be minding your own business and suddenly discover you were sharing the room with a dozen yellow jackets thus initiating a swatting frenzy. Toward the end we were all getting very good at swatting the buggers out of the air. My boss did what he could with cans of bee spray which mostly resulted in making himself ill from the blow back. They finally brought in a professional to take care of the problem before it got colder and the buggers got angry. As soon as the yellow jackets cleared out, the stink bugs started moving in.

I know not every state has experience with stink bugs. They are awful. The end of a warm day is spent clearing the 50 or so off of my car before I leave. They get in little cracks and crevices so they can drop on you when you least expect it. They hide behind posters and as I discovered last year love raincoats hanging on hooks. I found at least 10 in each pocket, 20 in the hood, and I don’t know how many inside the coat. It was unpleasant to say the least. One of the many annoying things about stink bugs is the way they fly. They are not only audible fliers, sounding like little remote controlled airplanes buzzing around, but they are bad it. The most common way for a stink bug to land on a wall is to crash into it, fall to the ground and climb up to its preferred landing spot. My day is filled with the sounds of Bzzzzzzz…plop. They will also crash into you randomly because apparently they are unable to steer around you.  Today the stink bugs reached a new level in their invasion. They took out our microwave. My coworker was heating up his lunch and the microwave made the same sparking noise it makes when you put metal in it. He swore he didn’t put metal in but the microwave did smell funny. He tried again and we realized it was the sound of stink bugs being bombarded by microwaves. Thanks to the little brats I ate a cold lunch.

There are many other random encounters with mother nature. The skunk that set up residence under the storage shed. Last year’s epic battle between the stink bugs and the preying mantis. In case you’re wondering, preying mantis DO eat stink bugs and its fun to watch and laugh maniacally at it. The various birds that have flow into the office and been somehow unable to find a way out even though we have exits on every wall. The day I had to yield to the deer that decided they wanted to get to the other side of the farm by way of A-range. Snakes, frogs, etc….. These things are to be expected from time to time when you work on a farm next to the woods. There was one incident that I will never forget and still tops my list.

One day I was innocently doing inventory in one of our greenhouses. Walking among the beautiful plants checking my quantities and a flying object came right at my head. It was a duck. This is a covered greenhouse with doors. The last thing I expected was to have a soon to be mama mallard coming at my head because I was too close to her nest. Mice scurrying around sure but not a full grown duck. It took at least an hour for my heart rate to settle down. It seems she had found a block of taller plants, shoved a few around to make a circle and made her nest in a nice hidden away spot. After the initial swoop, I spotted the nest with the little bunch of eggs in it. From then on that house was entered with caution and she was the first thing I looked for. I felt we had developed an understanding, she doesn’t swoop at my melon and I’ll leave her alone. I actually recall one day where I scolded her out loud because she had left her nest unattended. It was a special relationship.

I think I’ll actually miss my random animal encounters when I move on to another job. It’s been fun having them break up some of the duller days. I won’t miss the stink bugs though.

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