Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Once stung, thrice shy.

Today was a day off for me so I decided to do a little farming. I got some fuel and filled up the tractor and headed off into the unknown for some bush hogging. For those who aren't up on their redneckese, bush hogging is simply mowing a field with a much more destructive mowing deck than you would use to mow your lawn.

The reason I am bush hogging today is because the government is giving us money to do this. I know, this sounds weird, but it is true. The government will not let us mow this field anytime unless it is the time they will allow it. They want the land to be a wildlife refuge for the animals during the summer months. Then just as the animals have settled into their homes, the government wants us to mow everything down. When we do this, they give us money. Weird but true.

I mowed up around the tree line and around the whole field one time. I then decided to chop off a piece of the field and try to mow a third of this today. I am motoring along making my circles and stopping every so often to clean off the screen in front of the radiator. It gets covered in dust and basically all the crap that is kicked up when bush hogging. Because of this, the tractor begins to overheat.

As I swing around for about the sixth time, I realized that the tractor is getting hot again and I need to clean the screen off. I stopped the tractor and hopped off. When it hit the ground I felt something hit me in the head. I swung my hand up to swat it away, but before I could, it stung me. I don't know what it was but it hurt like a %$^&&$%%. I yelled a few French phrases and then got back on the tractor and continued to bush hog.

I made another trip around and I came to the spot that I thought I may have first roused the offending stinger. I looked to the right and saw a bee or hornet or something with an orange striped butt. I wondered if it was the one that stung me but I continued to focus on destroying his habitat. I got around on the opposite side of where I saw the great orange beast and for some reason I turned to look behind me.

It was then I realized I had not encountered just any old hornet. No, this was some sort of warrior hornet. It was right behind me looking as if it were a World War I fighter plane bearing down on a sputtering mail plane. I took evasive action and turned around and headed for home, swatting and slapping to try and keep the demon off my back.

As I ran like a coward, I neared a different field that was between me and home, I decided not to waste the entire day and just mow this field and then go home. I made a few passes and saw wasps fly into the woods just as I came near. I saw wood bees, the big yellow and black bumble bees, fly into the woods as I came near, but I saw no orange fighter hornets. I thought this will be quick and easy.

I was coming around for what was becoming one of my final passes when I got this feeling. I can only imagine that it was like the feeling that Spiderman gets right before trouble hits. I felt something dive right into my hair. Before I could raise my hand to brush it out, I was hit. This makes two stings to the head and I am getting a little worried I have stumbled onto something big and deadly. Before I can raise the bush hog and throw it into high gear, I feel a sting to my back.

That's it, I've had it. I jet out of there. I sounded the retreat bugle once again. I feel things continue to bounce off of me as I make my run to the house but luckily I did not get my fourth sting.

Never in my life have I had something like this happen. As I write this, hours after the first stinging, it still hurts like a @#%#@$. I haven't been stung by anything other than a sweat bee in 10 years. Three in one day, that must be a record. I will regroup and head back into the belly of the beast in a few days. I have a feeling I will need to take a few days to recover. If you ever see any hornets that have orange butts, KILL THEM or run for your life.

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