carolbuckles (carolbuckles) wrote,

New Newport News News: Bees, Battlefields and Beach edition

This summer, my neighbor and I have been battling ground bees. Mind you, I love honey bees and bumbles bees and, with a name beginning with “B”, I have taken the Bee as my personal symbol. Napoleon Bonaparte did the same. He actually did it first, when he found that bees look like inverted fleur-de-lis, which was the royal symbol in France before the Revolution.
But ground bees are just nasty people. They swarm out of their nest in the ground—hence the name groundbees—and sting multiple times. They especially resent anyone mowing the yard. Hence, the war.
I bought a can of wasp/bee killer that allows you to stand 20 feet away and blast the nest. This works pretty well, but one can is never enough. And the bees which were out foraging come home and get very upset about the way their home smells. Picture 2 older ladies, one blobby and one tiny, running off in all directions for no apparent reason.
After we sprayed the full can, I upended a bottle of bleach into the hole. This offended several more bees. Picture 2 older ladies, one blobby and one tiny running off in all directions for no apparent reason.
My neighbor went off to buy more spray poison. By the time we had finished the massacre, we had sprayed and bleached 5 major nests, leaving the empty cans and bleach bottles at each site to monitor further activity. So far—and I mowed today—we have seen no further nests.

Ron and I visited yet another battlefield; this one, a Revolutionary battle, determined the question of whether North Carolina would support the Declaration of Independence or not.
In February 1776, the British Loyalists of North Carolina, led by Scottish officers, were marching to the coast to meet up with Lord Cornwallis and his regular troops. In their way was the North Carolina Patriot Militia, many of whom were originally Scots as well. Using a feint to make the Brits believe they were encamped a good distance from the line of march, the Patriots spent the night digging earthworks around the bridge at Moore’s Creek. They had removed the planks from the bridge and greased the support beams.
When the advance group of Scots arrived at the bridge, all was quiet. Making their careful way across the crippled bridge—no one knows how many fell to their death—the Scots were completely unprepared when the Patriots opened fire. The officers leading the charge with basket-hilt “backswords” were cut down at once. This was the last sword-charge by Scots anywhere in the world.
Only one Patriot was killed. Of the Loyalists, forty were wounded and more than thirty killed. Survivors among the leaders had the option of returning to Scotland or going to Nova Scotia. Loyalist Americans were paroled to their homes. In addition to 1500 rifles and other ordnance, £15,000 in sterling was taken. History is silent as to why such an amount of silver was being transported—though probably for pay—making an excellent opening for an adventure story.

And then, we went on to North Myrtle Beach SC. I have reconnected with a high school friend, who has a timeshare there. She invited me and Ron to join her and her husband in their 2 bedroom condo right on the beach. After thoughtful consideration and debate, we agreed. Ron went for 3 days and I stayed the week.
The beach itself is wonderful. This late in the season, there were no crowds. It was blisteringly hot and we made good use of the indoor pool, and walking along the surf. My friend taught me how to dig up the tiny bi-valves and watch them dig back into the sand. I held them in my hand as they dug. It felt like butterfly kisses on my fingers. They are so tiny that the frill that sticks out of the shell is translucent.
The towns of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach are typical of beach towns on both coasts. Towering hotels and timeshares line the beach as far as the eye can see. Inland, there is parking and a combination of funky old beach shops and garish new ones. You can buy all manner of things you’d never think to buy at home, as well as eat and drink yourself silly.
We visited Broadway at the Beach, which is an enormous shoppertainment complex, with Planet Hollywood, Ripley’s Aquarium, carnival rides, feed-the-koi ponds, IMAX and the like. In SoCal there is such a place called the Irvine Spectrum. You can buy all manner of things you’d never think to buy at home, as well as eat and drink yourself silly.
We spent many hours at the Ripley’s Aquarium. It has long meandering tubes in which you walk through the huge fish tank. Everybody loves being “in” with the sharks, but there were also many other fishies to look at. There was also a ray-petting tank; several of the rays seemed to really like being stroked. Me and several children made idiots of ourselves reaching in. I also picked up horseshoe crabs for kids whose parents were too chicken to touch them. Horseshoe crabs are a very primitive crab that looks like a living fossil trilobite. They don’t seem to have a brain, but they know that they have to curl up in order to flip themselves from their back. They make you exit the aquarium through the gift shop. This made me cross, so I didn’t even look at the merchandise. So there.
Only slightly smaller is Barefoot Landing, although it also has tigers. You can buy all manner of things you’d never think to buy at home, as well as eat and drink yourself silly. We enjoyed a bead shop, which also featured carvings from Bali. In case you wanted bizarre wood carvings to wear your self-made jewelry.
The highlight of the trip was our ferry ride to Bald Head Island, where Cape Fear lighthouse used to be. It has been replaced by Old Baldy Lighthouse, the oldest in SC. Ron rented us a golf cart [no cars allowed on the island] and proceeded to whisk us around at daring speeds of 15+ mph. The ladies clung to the backward facing seat anticipating a bad case of roadrash. The men argued about where we were, and how to get there, and back. It was hot and humid; and mosquitoes exsanguinated us, but the island was photogenic and charming. There are many cottages for rent there and the beaches were virtually uncombed. I collected sea oats for my meadow and many shells. Oh, and you can buy all manner of things you’d never think to buy at home, as well as eat and drink yourself silly. We saw one guy go to the general store and buy one beer. How strange is that?
We also enjoyed an evening show of Irish toe-dancers and two tenors. Very lively, skilled dancing, but the tenors were over-mic’d [= too loud]. They also sang American-Irish songs rather than “Trad” [traditional folk songs]. Altogether a good show; it explains why we couldn’t find such a show in Dublin, since these folks are always touring America.

N4 33 Bees, Battlefields and Beach
[2010] for photos, visit

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