I have a reputation for diving into projects.
I like to jump in feet first (not head first because that would be silly – you never know if there are rocks) without checking the depth or looking for alligators or figuring out just exactly how much time I will need before I can drag myself back out of the water.
When I couldn’t stand our strange, uneven, brick and 4×4 back steps any longer – I ripped them apart. I had a plan (I always have a plan.) and it even included new steps. It also included removing old wood chips, sand and boards around the landing area, making a new brick landing and reseeding with grass. John wasn’t super happy when he came home one day to discover the two foot drop out the back door. Not even my elation at finding a nice concrete pad underneath it all (or my plan) seemed to bring him any joy. Probably he knew what was coming next – a lot of months without back steps.
He was totally right.
But we have steps now! And a nice brick landing. And… a really big disaster of gravel and dirt and half ripped up weed barrier. But that’s okay, because this month I was doing the final step of the project. I would haul away the sand and gravel and replace it with dirt, throw some grass seed on it and it would be done.
And then I saw them.
Great Black Wasps.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen them. And while I was unwilling to put my finger in the picture for size reference I can tell you that they are well over an inch long. Huge wasps. Scary looking wasps.
And totally fascinating.
Because, of course, I put my shovel down and looked them up. I found out they are non-aggressive and not even the Orkin man removes them as a matter of cause. They are solitary nesters, excellent pollinators and feed a ridiculous amount of grasshoppers and katydids to their young.
So I watched the wasps, and discovered that there were a number of holes, right in the sand I wanted to remove. I watched longer and saw one dig her hole deeper. I watched them come and go and not bother the dogs that walked over the top of them or me sitting a few feet away. I watched one fly back to it’s nest carrying a katydid. (I did mention that they were quite large right?!?) I got my camera and watched a bit more…
Then I sighed and put away my shovel.
I ripped apart the steps a year ago… at this point a few more weeks isn’t going to make a difference.