Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Yellow Jacket Wasp

Lately, the cat has been on a roll. In one week, he captured and killed four deer mice that were either brown or gray and proudly left them on the rug. The cat bringing me mice he hunted, it's almost better than a boyfriend bringing flowers. What a surprise! Thank you, cat! Of course I gave the dead mice the royal flush down the toilette, and then, for all of his good mouse hunting, the cat gets a kitty treat. I don't condone killing anything, but the mice populations have been out of control here, and mice carry Hanta Virus which causes Hanta Virus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) that is known to be fatal. Hanta Virus is real common in the four corners area. Plague is rare, but does come back as mice carry plague. Mice carry all kinds of bad illnesses for humans so I think, being a great mouser, the cat had a job well done.

A few days ago, the cat was meowing loudly so I ran to the door to check on him. He was holding a yellow jacket wasp down over the air conditioning vent. He blocked the wasp. I looked down and saw it. At first I thought maybe the cat was stung? The yellow jacket wasp had a missing barb. I lifted the cat and checked him, but he was not in any pain. A sting from a yellow jacket would be extremely painful. The cat was not stung.

I wondered if the yellow jacket had stung something else and was waiting to die? It's Fall now, and many of the insects that thrived in the summertime were dying off. I was looking. Maybe he had one of those paper nests somewhere nearby. I looked around the vent and in the concrete, but there was not any paper nest. The little yellow jacket wasp must be far from home and dying. The cat was fixated on the bug, maybe the cat would eat the wasp the way he ate flies and crickets. The cat kept trying to paw the wasp out of curiosity.

The queens have bi-lateral black dots on their thorax. This yellow jacket is a male because the dots have been fused into long black waves on the thorax. The yellow jacket is smaller than a queen. Queen wasps are larger and have thicker wings. This is a worker that is at the end of life.

What I think happened is that the male wasps mate and die around Fall - about right now. Maybe he mated with a queen wasp and was in the process of death. It's the short life-cycle of the wasps. He is dying. New queens will live a full year and nest for the winter, and have new wasp larvae in the Spring, and the cycle repeats. This little yellow jacket was on his way out.

When I was little, I had no allergies to bees. I used to catch honey bees and wasps by their wings. If you get their wings very closely, it's harder for them to sting. Every now and then I would get stung and curse. When I was a child, I liked playing with insects. I had grasshoppers, ants, and flies and bees. I would play with them. I would catch them and put them in a glass bottle, and watch them for the day, and then let them go later on. I was kind of curious like the cat. I liked catching preying mantis, walking sticks and potato bugs. I would show everyone my treasures. I've grown up since then. I still like sharing. I still consider bugs to be my little treasures.

Here are some pictures of our wasp friend. Things are changing. He's had his time. I brought the cat in the house and let the little bugger die in peace. I guess once he got free of the cat, he probably flew away some place else and died. Next Spring I'll see all the new wasps that fly around, maybe one of the wasp's sons, it won't be long and there will be another year to sip flower nectar. I hope these pictures make my little wasp friend blogger famous so people never forget nature is just amazing.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Failure of New Blogs to Thrive and Why My Blog Might Fail

Around June and July 2015, the views for my blog started to become minute. I did the same amount of work, but had less clicks on my stats. This was troubling for me to work the same pace and have less traffic on my blog. Am I blogging for nothing? I think at first I blamed it on the summer. No one is going to sit around in front of a computer screen when everyone is vacationing and spending their time out in the sunshine. It's good weather and happy times, and no one wants to do any cooking right now or crafts or even care to look at what I'm doing because they are at restaurants eating out and too busy with recreation this summer. I also had a few other things happen. I went on my own vacation to San Diego, and spent some time in the mountains too. It was a great experience. It broke the monotony of sitting in front of a computer screen trying to come up with my next best idea by spending the summertime outdoors.

I took a break. If readers want to take a break from me, then I need a break from them too. I went a few months without any posts. I started to come up with excuses... I would blog today, but the sun is still shining. I would blog today, but I need to clean my house first, and do laundry and dishes and wipe down everything... and vacuum. I would blog today, but I probably won't get very many views. I would blog today, but I can't think of anything good to write about. I make excuses after excuses. I must be the queen of excuses because I sure know how to procrastinate.

Fall is here, October 2015 already. The leaves are changing colors. The clouds are forming, and icicles happen in the frosty mornings. We have had monsoon rains and flash flood storms. This is the change. I'm feeling the air is cooler, and it's harder to sleep at night because I can't sleep when the air is cold. Right on schedule, I am getting a few hits on my Facebook of my blog, a few more clicks on my blogger and I have added nothing special in months. Surprised? That's nice, and I go about my day, but everyday, I'm getting a few hits here and a few hits there. The readers are back. It's time to go back to work. It's time to celebrate.

The summer was a real test for me. I kept thinking that my blog was a stupid idea, a real waste of time, that I should just quit. I had people putting me down. My own mother was saying that I should do my blog this way or that way or never post anything about my family on my blog, no pictures of family, and don't do this and don't do that. No, no, no, no, no, no... everything you do is wrong. Shut it down. Wait a minute... I write this blog, and it belongs to me. If you don't like my blog, stop reading it. Go write your own blog.

I get haters. Boy, do I get haters. Especially when the blog is doing well, there are so many people that instead of creating their own blog or setting their own goals, they want to tear me down. As much as I like to forget about the haters, that too, has taken a tole on me. My love life takes a tole on me. My daughter takes a tole on me. Lack of money and anxiety take a tole on me. The death of my loved ones takes a tole on me, and it drags me down until there is nothing left. I feel like nothing, like I can accomplish nothing. I never was anything, and I'll never be anything - those are frightening and dark thoughts. Those have kept me down.

Perception is everything. Sometimes when life gives you lemons, you gotta make lemonade. Having a positive attitude can turn it all around. As I go along, and giving up is a reality, something inside tells me, "It's okay. Don't give up. Instead, give your blog all you got." Have a positive attitude. Failure is temporary, the views are there. It's going to be alright. No need to scrap this blog, everything is perfectly fine. Every blog starts at the bottom.

I am in fact my own worst enemy. I am the one that has antagonized myself into thinking that having a great blog cannot be done or that this particular blog will never be great. It can be done. I see plenty of blogs thriving, and surely with a little effort and time, my little blog can thrive too. If I have a dream, I can continue to move forward if I am willing to work hard and put forward the effort it will all work out in the end. Do I keep working or give up?

Well, of course, I keep working. I'm still here. I don't mind taking one step back to take two steps forward. That is still progress. I must remind myself from time to time that I am moving in the right direction. It's okay to take breaks. It's okay to have a life outside of blogging. Sometimes those breaks make a person come back stronger, and that's what I need right now. For other bloggers that are struggling, don't worry about all the negativity. Keep moving forward, and you're going to take it to the top. Failure is your tool for success. Use it wisely. Always, always believe in yourself.