Always have an escape plan
This is the tale of hornet pie, filled with ….no, I’ll leave that part till the end.
I need to set the scene first. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I find bugs and beetles fascinating. I even like the ones that most people would run a mile from. I see a place in this world for wasps and hornets, and even snails and slugs. Although the last one is more begrudgingly.
Hornets visit our garden and sometimes venture into the house. Mainly in the spring and autumn, but this year they have changed their pattern. They are with us now. We have ushered hornets out of the house at midnight, two nights this week. Unlike wasps, they fly at night. Attracted to the light, that attracts moths, which they love to feast upon. If a door or window is left open, they are in.
Weirdly, I do have a soft spot for hornets. I’ve even been known to feed a sugar and water solution to revive an exhausted one, after a night trapped it the house. They use up their energy flying into a light repeatedly.
This year, they seem more aggressive. Failing to find an opening, they will throw themselves at the window, to reach a lamp on the windowsill. It sounds like a small bird flying into a window. Repeatedly. I looked out one night, to find three of them trying to get in. Two fighting each other, like a pub brawl.
One good point to come out of all this activity, we now turn off all lights more quickly and go to bed early. There is always a silver lining.
(children collecting caterpillars from cabbages)
During the day, the hornets are targeting our early apple tree. Any break in the skin and they are in. The tree is heavy with fruit. Most untouched, at the moment. We’ve watched the hornets. Not too closely as they are so aggressive.
They don’t fly in a straight line. Whichever hornet first found the tree, looped around our house, passed the front door, instead of taking a short cut over the garden. All other hornets have followed the path. None. Absolutely none, deviate. It does mean they have found our fig tree too.
(cabbage white caterpillar= easy pest)
So what to do? Believe me, hornets have been the hottest conversation in our house this week. We follow the doctrine that nature finds its balance and annihilating one species would cause problems.
To leave the hornets would be a problem too. They are there day and night. They sting like you are being punched. The lawnmover vibration would trigger an attack. What if Blue the Pup picked up a windfall apple with a hornet in it? The tree is on the edge of my kitchen garden and dog walking route. Fast becoming a no-go area.
I think we are tettering reluctantly towards traps.
In the meantime, I am making grab and run raids. I’m becoming an expert. I understand their behaviour. I can predict. I figure if I can reduce the fruit, then the hornets will move on. Plus I can use my apples. I don’t mind sharing, but so far, the hornets don’t seem so keen to play fair.
Most important part is to work out your escape plan, before you start. I have mine.
(children making meringues)
It has been a personal triumph to return to the kitchen clutching my bounty. “I’ve got five, this time,” resounds round the house. I have more than enough for cooking, as they are not really ready for eating raw.
I baked hornet pie, yesterday. The pastry top is not pretty, but that’s not the point. This pie is my triumph. I won. As I pulled the pie out of the Aga last night, I couldn’t help feeling pleased. Looking up from his game of cards, the Boy asked what type of pie.
“Hornet pie,” I replied, as I stood back to admire it and bask in my success.
Quick as a flash, he jumped up and ran round the table, to take a closer look.
“Phew. From over there it looked like that bubble, coming through the crust, was a hornet trying to get out. Look.”
I see his point. I’d added strawberries to the apples in the pie, and the bubble, from the darker fruit, was like a hornet. It could well have been a hornet……*
What do they say? Revenge is often best served cold. Best with a pastry top and a scoop of homemade ice cream.
Other news this week:
I finished making my koi fish dress.
The children made vanilla ice cream and meringues
They also removed the cabbage white caterpillars from the cabbages. Yeh! All caterpillars are growing big and fat in the butterfly house. Boo!
Lots of books have been read and new card games have been mastered. Screen time is reducing on its own.
How was your week?
*Just for the record, and between you and me, there were no hornets in the pie.
Word of the week is hornets.