Monday, June 28, 2010

And you wonder why I’m paranoid

File this one under things you don’t want to see in your garden footwear.  Ever.  Under any circumstances.

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No, it’s not mold or a dreadful case of athlete’s foot. Something even worse than that.  Thankfully, I had the presence of mind ('”let’s just sell the house” said the LFG hubby fearfully) to fling said shoe across the yard so forcefully it whisked straight through the Viburnum hedge (below) and bounced off the neighbors fence.  Which bumped the small yellow jacket nest loose.  Yes, that’s right, a most ill tempered member of the wasp family had taken up residence in my muck shoes.  Visit the link to find out more, way, way more, than you want to know about wasps, including pictures.

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On to part deux.  Urban legend says that this (below) is how normal, sensible gardeners store their footwear.  Cuts down on finding twigs, stray children (see last pic), rock collections, long forgotten Easter eggs, or water in them.  (Don’t worry, I just posed the boots this way.  I usually leave mine right side up like a dope.) 

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And when one leaves the boots right side up, one should not be surprised when things take up residence.  As I am beginning to discover to my dismay.

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After shaking the boots vigorously to loosen the web and stamping on them for good measure, I ran upstairs to find my thickest wool socks.  Thus endowed, I reluctantly, fearfully slid the boots on, felt no bite/wiggle/hiss in response and then went about my chores with a firm resolve to wear my boots more often, to bed even, so no critters had the chance to get cozy.

Thankfully, Alaska is not home to giant man-eating scorpions, tarantulas, gnomes, or the rats of NIMH.  Otherwise this would probably be posted from a bed at API (Alaska Psychiatric Institute).

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What would be the worst thing to find in your garden footwear?

24 comments:

Dirt Digger said...

I leave my boots in a spider infested garage and usually step into them barefoot, one of these days I will be taken down.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

LOL! Always check. I am so glad you saw what was in your shoe and boots before stick your foot in. I always check mine too and beat them against something to help dislodge any pests in them LOL!

PatioPatch said...

Wow you can tell a good tale. Funny story with a sweet ending - although an entirely different story if you'd put your foot in it. I still love the Wasps nest - the papier mache magic weave of yellowjackets

thanks for sharing

Laura

Rachel said...

Ugh yellowjackets. When we bought our house there was a large underground yellowjacket nest in our backyard. Using wasp spray and a 5 gallon bucket as a "lid" on said nest we were able to get rid of them. I've also heard a car flare is effective at night because all of them will attack it when stuck into their nest.

I've started keeping my muckers inside so as not to collect creepy crawlies (we do have black widows here that will take up residence even is stored upside down.

Becky said...

I'm chicken and leave my shoes inside. Bees are bad,spiders area also bad, mice are not so nice, but if you want to her me scream loud enough to be heard all the way to Alaska a snake would do it! Congrats on being Blotanical's featured blog! You deserve it.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This must be the year that the bugs are searching out alternative sites for their nests. The darned wasps started making nests in the house wren boxes here. I wouldn't leave my boots or shoes outside due to all the critters that might take up residence. It is bad enough having them stacked up on shelves by the back door where creepy crawlies can visit. A spider is what would probably be inside mine. The little house spider that wouldn't hurt me anyway. I do shake the boots I keep in the garage. There could be a mouse or anything else in those.

The Violet Fern said...

Ever since I heard about those big wolf spiders hiding in people's shoes in Australia (doesn't matter if I'm in NY), I always check my shoes. It helps to have a puppy who likes to chew the soles out of them - you can be sure there's NOTHING in there but slime.

Wendy said...

wow, that would be pretty bad!!!

I ALWAYS check my shoes before putting them on. When I was little, I got to school and felt something on my toe. Took my shoe off and out jumped a big black cricket. Traumatized me.

James A-S said...

The worst thing I ever found in my boots was a dead mouse that had been decaying just long enough to have become slightly mushy when trodden on: I still shudder at the memory.

Kate said...

LOL! Thanks for a great giggle. :) That just creeps me out thinking about it.. I'm switching to flip flops. Doubt anything will try to call those home.

Noelle said...

Ummm....a scorpion? Actually, this happened to someone I knew. Thankfully, I have not seen scorpions around my house ;-)

Kyna said...

Haha, I always check shoes that I've left around outside or in the garage...I beat them against the ground like a crazy person before I put them on, just to be safe lol

Benjamin Vogt said...

I always shake and blow into my shoes. I hope that's enough. Worked so far, knock on wood.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

I wish I didn't read James A-S comment! I'm glad I had my dinner already. To find a snake in my shoe would be my last life experience.
Good, funny post. Thank you!!!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

A yellow jacket nest! I can't even imagine something like that. I always dump our shoes out before we step into them, I'm mostly afraid of spiders being in there, but now the thought of a bees nest or a decaying mouse will be something I check for too!

Gloria, Dakota Garden said...

Now that did it! I was paranoid enough about what might get into my shoes! I was sort of sleepy this morning, haven't had my coffee yet, but I am awake now! Good story!

threedogsinagarden said...

I am forever getting bitten by spiders and wasps. The result is usually a big welt that stings and itches for days. A bug hairy spider or a wasp nest would be equally terrifying to find in my garden shoes.

Sylvana said...

Did they actually build the nest in your shoe or did it fall in?
I store my boots opening up, and give them a good shake out if I suspect that something might be in there. Sometimes, if I'm convinced that the "something" has a good grip and won't be shook out, I put a garden glove on and poke around in the boots until I am satisfied my boots are vacant.

Oh, there are so many things that I would not want to find in my boots, I wouldn't even know where to begin.

Melanie said...

Eww. What brand are your boots and shoes ? They are really cool.

Christine B. said...

@Sylvana
The wasp made a nest in the shoe while it was lying upside down on a shelf. In one quick motion I grabbed the shoe off the shelf and flung it at the fence, thus dislodging the nest. I still can't believe I had the guts to do it.

CB

@Melanie,

The shoes are Lewis and Clark and the boots are MUCK boot company. They are very useful (not just for wasp nests).

CB

Green Lane Allotments said...

Slugs wouldn't be good or the sound of a snail shell crunching as you popped you foot in.

I once stood on the entrance to a wasp nest. It had been built in a hole in the ground amongst my redcurrants and i stepped on it whilst picking. I was trapped under the net with a punnet of currants in my hand that I had no intention of dropping - it hurt!!!!!!!!!!

Annelie said...

Entertaining reading.
I would think the worst thing to find in your garden shoes would be anything living, especially if it stings or bite.
After my younger brother got stung by a yellow jacket in his shoe years ago, I always check before entering. And as many of above readers, I keep mine inside the house, sort of, they're in the basement. So, hopefully no bees nests, but possibly mice or spiders could find their way.
I checked out the wiki on yellow jackets and I think they look evil on the close up of the face.

hazeltree said...

great tale! over here in england we just call them wasps but have seen very few so far this year, often they nest in shrubs that need pruning at this time of year such as choisyas and we use a foam spray that seals the nest and kills all inside which is a shame but sadly necessary...worse thing i've ever found in my boots are my feet!

Grace Peterson said...

Uh, yeah, realistically Christine, I think finding this bee home in my shoe would be the worst thing. I'm glad you discovered it before stepping into those shoes.

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